Cars ‘R’ Stars to celebrate Packard vehicles at annual car show

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 4, 2018

 At least 200 cars are expected to be on display during the ninth annual Cars ‘R’ Stars car show June 10 at the Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township.

At least 200 cars are expected to be on display during the ninth annual Cars ‘R’ Stars car show June 10 at the Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township.

Photo provided by the Packard Motor Car Foundation

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Packard cars were the first to include air conditioning around 1940, and one of the first vehicles to have a steering wheel in 1901.

On June 10, patrons will get a chance to check out some of the historic Packard cars as part of the Cars ‘R’ Stars car show at the Packard Proving Grounds in Shelby Township.

Each year, the car show has a speciality ring to show off unique and historic cars. To coincide with the 90th anniversary of the Packard Proving Grounds, Packard cars were chosen to be the focus of the exhibit.

“Packard was this country’s premier luxury car manufacturer prior to World War II,” said Roger Luksik, president of the Packard Motor Car Foundation. “There was high quality and innovation that Packard brought to the automobile. And they used the Proving Grounds to build quality into their cars.”

The ninth annual Cars ‘R’ Stars show will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 10 at the Proving Grounds, located at 49965 Van Dyke Ave. Admission costs $5; children younger than 12 will be admitted for free with a paid adult.

Event chairman Tom Mitchell said they expect at least 200 cars to show up, and if the weather is nice, they could get closer to 400. People can pre-register their vehicles starting at $15, and registration on the day of the event will start at $20. There is an additional $5 cost to be part of the judged awards.

The show is open to vehicles from all eras and of all types, Mitchell said, as they expect hot rods, muscle cars and even some military vehicles.

But they wanted to make sure to honor the Packard vehicles because of the site. Mitchell said they have reached out to Packard owners around the country and expect to have a good group of cars at the show from all decades through the late 1950s.

The name of the feature is “Ask the Man Who Owns One,” which is an old Packard advertising line.

“People have become more familiar with our site over the years as we are recognized as a state of Michigan historic site,” Mitchell said. “There was the dedication on June 14, 1928, so we thought it was appropriate to feature Packards this year.”

Another special exhibit this year to help celebrate the Packard Proving Grounds anniversary will be the Miller Special, a former Indy 500 race car that is on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. The Miller Special won the pole of the race in May 1928, and then was brought to the Proving Grounds for the opening.

At the opening on June 14, 1928, the Miller Special set a closed-circuit track record by clocking in at over 148 mph. That record stood for more than two decades.

Luksik said that with this year’s Indianapolis 500 race taking place on May 27, the race will be fresh in people’s minds, which should make the Miller Special even more of an attraction at the car show.

“When the Miller Special set the lap speed record, it was such a feat that stood for a long time,” he said. “The Miller has its own mystique and its own following. If you want to see history, you have to come see the record-setting Miller Special.”

The cars that are up for awards will be judged in a number of categories, and winners will receive awards crafted from wood from the historic Packard plant in Detroit.

Cars ‘R’ Stars will also feature a swap meet — with over 200 vendors from whom people can purchase car products — as well as a car corral with a number of cars for sale. There will be several food and drink vendors, a raffle, and music by DJ Scott Kuhl.

The Packard gate lodge will be open to the public for free tours.

“We have a great show and we put out high-quality cars,” Luksik said. “This is a grass showfield, so that is unique, and we are very family oriented.”

There will also be a 90th anniversary event held June 14 at the Packard Proving Grounds that will include a strolling dinner, drinks, a birthday cake and a fashion show. Tickets cost $90 each, which includes a $50 donation to the Packard Motor Car Foundation and the food, drinks and entertainment.

For more information about the Cars ‘R’ Stars car show, visit