Cars R Stars show returns with ‘hoods in the rear’ feature

By: Sarah Wojcik, Tiffany Esshaki | C&G Newspapers | Published June 6, 2017


SHELBY TOWNSHIP — On Sunday, June 11, the Cars R Stars show will return to the Packard Proving Grounds. Each year, the show celebrates a unique type of vehicle, and this year organizers will present a rear-engine vehicle display.

The eighth annual show will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the historic venue, located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave., south of 23 Mile Road. Admission at the gates costs $5, and children 12 and younger will be admitted for free when accompanied by a paid adult.

Included in the special feature will be three of the nine Stout Scarabs ever made. The Stout Scarab is a pickle-shaped vehicle with reconfigurable seats, a table and a rear couch.

“Each one is hand-built and slightly different, so it’ll be an interesting thing to put three of them up next to each other,” Cars R Stars Chairman Tom Mitchell said. “I’m all geeked up, as you can tell. It’s a very interesting car, unlike anything on the market in 1936.”

Also in the special section will be a high-value 1948 Tucker automobile that was considered ahead of its time; 1960s Corvairs, including a pickup truck; Volkswagen Beetles and minibuses; an Amphicar that runs on both land and water; a Tatra T87; a DeLorean DMC 12; mini BMW Isettas; a Fiat Jolly; and several Porsches.

A different section will feature Whizzer motorbikes — motorized bicycles that became a popular form of commute for defense workers during World War II — and other types of vintage bicycles.

The rest of the car show will feature all types of makes and models. Registration the day of the show costs $20 for non-judged cars and $25 for judged cars.

“Our field includes everything from two-wheeled to four-wheeled, brass era and prewar, postwar, hot rods, muscle cars, trucks, racers, customs, military vehicles and even bikes,” Cars R Stars board member Don Sommers said in a statement. “This will be a great opportunity for whole families to share memories and history together with the ‘actual vehicles’ there to inspire stories.”

Inside one of the buildings, Mitchell said, the 38-foot mahogany Miss America X — a race boat powered by four Packard V-12 engines that reached a record speed of 124.9 mph in 1932 — will be on display, along with a special 1917 Packard on loan from the Detroit Historical Society and various Packard engines.

Outside, Mitchell said, approximately 10 Packard automobiles donated to the Packard Proving Grounds or on loan will be on display.

The gift shop, he said, will also be open, and knowledgeable volunteers will be stationed in some of the historic Albert Kahn-designed buildings to provide insight into the vast automotive history of the grounds.

“We figure, on a good-weather day, we’ll have anywhere from 350 to 400 show cars,” Mitchell said. “We estimate somewhere between 1,500 to 2,000 people visit the grounds.”

National Coney Island, he said, will be on-site to sell food, beverages and ice cream, and DJ Scott Kuhl will be spinning tunes for car show attendees.

Jerry Sheffer, of Shelby Township, will show his 1964 Corvair convertible.

“I’ve been into cars since I was 16 years old, and I’ve always had some kind of old car,” Sheffer said. “This car came from Georgia about 10 years ago. It’s in really good condition. It’s red with a black top and black interior, and it has a dashboard out of a Spyder in it, so it’s got all the gauges.”

Sheffer said he showed a car a couple of years ago and tries to attend the event every year.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “It’s a nice show and a nice location.”

Randy Forester will be heading over to the show with his 1959 Fiat 500 Jolly, although the trek from his Birmingham home won’t be a quick one — the Jolly reaches top speeds of about 52 mph.

“You know, they designed it to go on the yachts of wealthy playboys so they could tour these Mediterranean towns when they docked their yacht and then load it back and go on to the next port,” Forester explained.

The classic car is actually more of a beach buggy, with no side doors and wicker seats, but that hasn’t stopped Forester from taking the vehicle for a spin around downtown Birmingham to grab dinner and an ice cream cone during the summer months since he bought the car at an estate sale 22 years ago.

“My wife and I went to look at Oriental rugs at a sale in Bloomfield Hills, and we came home with the Jolly. I think we did much better with our investment,” he said with a laugh. “It’s all original to 1959. The original seats are still in it, and everything is the original on it with the exception of the top, which we had to replace because it was rotted out.”

He said that while he shows off the Jolly often at various local car events, he’s looking forward to this year’s Cars R Stars because he’ll be surrounded by peers.

“Usually at shows, they put me into the ‘other’ category, because it’s such a unique vehicle. But this year, I guess Cars R Stars will (spotlight) rear-engine models, and that’s my ‘class,’ if you will. It will be interesting to see other cars with rear engines and be a part of something like that.”

Besides the car show, the public is welcome to check out a swap meet that includes more than 200 vendors and a car corral with a selection of cars for sale.

For more information, call (586) 739-4800, email or visit