2012 All Euro Car Show

Saturday, August 25th was the fifth installment of the All Euro Car Show. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and pleasant, cool temperatures, unlike the previous year’ “surface of the sun” heat was downright enjoyable.

When I arrived around 8:00 o’clock to help get ready for our club’s biggest event, Fred Magers and Greg Kohn had everything ready to go.  We finished hanging our remaining banners and flags and within a few moments “the Green” of Rocky Mountain College was festive and ready for cars to arrive.  This for me is the most stressful period, wondering who, and how many cars will show up, or will it be a car show of the three of us?

First to arrive were four members of the BMW Club of America from Bozeman.  They were followed by Scott Cranston with his new BWM 1 series.  Since BMW was our featured marque we parked Scott’s car next to the country flags, front and center.

This year we tried to organized cars by make rather than the random, helter skelter approach from the past. This worked pretty well for the most part.  By 10:00 AM, we had a large and growing collection of beautiful European cars neatly arranged on the green.  The show was off to a good start.

For me German cars are wonderful, perfect things, that aren’t necessarily the flashiest, or the most beautiful.  Germany had a strong showing with Porsches, Volkswagens, Audis, BMWs and Mercedes Benz.  There was an all original Volkswagen Karmann Ghia that was trucked over from Bozeman.  Two of the oddest entrants at the show were the German Kubelwagen or “Bucket Car” and the British Mini Moke.  The Kubelwagen was designed by Ferdinand Porsche and built by Volkswagen.  It was the German equivalent of the Jeep in WWII. Owner Vincent Francischetti was dressed up in his period German Army uniform, playing and singing German songs for effect.  The little Mini Moke was a designed as a lightweight military vehicle, but ended up as a civilian utility because of its low clearance.

Italian cars on the other hand are beautiful.  This year’s show emphasized that fact with mouth dropping examples from Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia and deTomaso.  Ferraris are always a hit with the crowd and Jim Coons’ beautiful Ferrari 365 GTC/4 was no exception. It was simply stunning. The rock and roll band Rush in their song “Red Barchetta,” once described the sound of a Ferrari V12 as “mechanical music”.  After hearing Jim’s Ferrari, it’s a perfect description.  Over the course of the day, two other newer Ferraris came to the show as spectators; a red 308 GTS and a red 360 Modena.  Unofficial club member, Dennis Franks’ red Detomaso Pantera with it powerful Ford v8 was a crowd pleaser too.

Bill Culhane brought out another of his fine European classics with a 1955 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT Coupé 4th series – Speciale.  This little maroon Italian coupe was the sleeper of the show for those really in the know. There may have only been about 10 of these shipped to the USA and this car was actually displayed at the 1956 Pebble Beach Concourse by then owner and founder of this iconic event.  It’s quite a pedigree, for a car hidden away here in Billings, Montana.

Registration was handled by Stephanie Haider, Susan Finn and Susan Kohn.

Heavy electioneering by the female owner of the new Maserati GranCabrio paid dividends as she easily won the vote for “Best Contemporary” and the big prize of “People’s Choice Award”.  Like we always say, vote early and often!

The British Isles were represented by a wonderful collection of Triumph TR4s, TR6s, and Spitfires, Minis (new and old), MGBs and Jaguar E-Types.  There was also an Austin Healey 3000 MKII, Bentley Saloon and an Aston Martin DB7 to enjoy.  Two attendees went “Back to the Future” in their Irish Deloreans, one car was complete with the Fluxcapacitor option.  I’m still wondering what happens if he ever hits 88mph, but with the speed limit at 75mph, I guess we’ll never know, unless he goes to the driver’s education event in Lewistown next month.  Two flaming tire tracks across the wheat fields at the end of the back straight would answer that question.

Vince Long of Billings upheld the Scandinavian tradition at the show with his 3 Volvos.  I think his white 1800E Coupe is the finest example in town or maybe even the state.

Attendance to the show based on the number of ballots counted is estimated at over 500 visitors.  19 Absaroka members came out in force to support the show in one form or another.  Susan Kohn, Stephanie Haider, Susan Finn and Jo Pintz-Cole all helped with supporting event registration and answering of questions.  Greg Kohn did an excellent job as the new car show chair of the event.  Greg really has a knack and gift in working with the public and being the face of an organization.  Past event chair Fred Magers lent support and continued with the TV appearances at the local news stations.

At the end of the day we had 83 cars, a new record.  We collected over $2500 dollars to go towards the designated charities. 

We are able to donate the following:

Rocky Mountain College:           $200

Billings Honor Flight:                   $500

Bench Grade School:                     $800

City College of Billings:                 $1,000

Thank you to our sponsors and PCA. Not a bad day’s work for our small club.


Contemporary: Greg Tucker – 2012 Maserati GranCabrio
Runner Up: Bill Mavity – 1997 Aston Martin DB7
Bill Witcher Memorial Vintage Award: George Fox – 1962 Austin Healey 3000 MKII
Runner Up: Bill Mavity – 1973 Bentley T1 Saloon
People’s Choice Award: Greg Tucker – 2012 Maserati GranCabrio