Those familiar with the long-running Paradise Valley Veterans’ Appreciation Vintage Car Show will know this isn’t a run-of-the-mill coffee-and-cars event.
According to Paradise Valley’s former mayor, Ed Winkler, this is the crème de la crème of car shows.
“This car show is very unique,” said Winkler, who chairs the event that invites locals to show off their pre-1983 collections. A few of those collectors even have their own personal car museums or have built an underground garage to house their prized possessions, Winkler said. It’s this Veterans Day Saturday, Nov. 11, when the public can ogle the sights and sounds of these vehicles from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Marking its 18th year, the event is the largest car show in Paradise Valley, Winkler said. He added the show will feature a total of 150 vehicles including cars, trucks, motorcycles and the occasional half-track (half truck, half tank equipped with machine gun) on Veterans Day. All proceeds collected during the event will be donated to two charities that help currently deployed military personnel, veterans and their families.
“Most car guys in the Phoenix area look forward to this show because they know it is the highest-end car show in town,” Winkler said.
“Car Wash Bob”
Long before this car show began drawing crowds, it was first an annual car wash.
Twenty years ago, Paradise Valley resident and car enthusiast, Bob Lavinia, was driving through town and spotted town employees and volunteers raising money by offering car washes for passersby.
“Here were all these office workers standing around with buckets full of water and no cars,” Lavinia said, who promptly returned three times with various cars in his collection to be washed. On his last return, Lavinia posed an idea to the hard-working car washers.
“I said, ‘Well, you’re in the heart of vintage car America. Instead of sitting here making $100 or $200, if you do a car show, I can guarantee you’ll make at least $1,000,’” Lavinia said.
Diane Wayland, legal support specialist in the Town Attorney’s office, brought the idea to Winkler (vice mayor at the time) who ran the idea past former Mayor Ron Clark, who loved the idea.
A few years later, with the help of Lavinia, town staff, police, town council and Paradise Valley residents, the first car show went off without a hitch, welcoming upwards of 80 cars that raised more than what was made at the car wash, Lavinia said.
“That’s how I got the nickname ‘Car Wash Bob,’” Lavinia laughed.
This November, Lavinia plans to bring either his 1959 Corvette or 1970 Jaguar to the Veterans Appreciation Vintage Car Show; it all depends on what he’s feeling that day.
“There’s an amazing number of remarkable automobiles in Paradise Valley, preserved in a pristine way,” he said.
Event held on Veterans Day
For collectors interested in showing off their vehicles, organizers of the event request a minimum donation of $50 that will be split between two charities: Sentinels of Freedom, a nonprofit that assists the severely wounded or injured post-9/11 veterans as they transition back to civilian life, and Military Assistance Mission, a nonprofit that supports Arizona military members and their families.
“It’s a great venue for a great cause for great people,” Lavinia said.
To enter a vehicle into the show, register online at paradisevalleyaz.gov/680/Veterans-Day-Car-Show.
The event is held at Paradise Valley Town Hall, 6401 E. Lincoln Dr., from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.
For more information or questions about the car show, contact Diane Wayland by phone at 480-348-3530 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.