The Main Street Meander
Home of The Orphan Car Tour
The following article detailing the 2010 tour is authored by Jon Battle. The article appeared in Old Cars Weekly and is posted here with their permission.
Thirty-six cars hit the highway in Mt. Airy, Maryland on Saturday, June 5, 2010 as the 21st annual Orphan Car Tour got underway. The Tour -- this year subtitled, "The Main Street Meander" -- started at 1:00 P.M at the Twin Arch Shopping Center. It followed a 50-mile circuitous route over lightly-used, picturesque country roads through Maryland's Carrol County, and terminated just over the Pennsylvania border in the town of Hanover. As in past years, each driver was handed printed directions and the cars were spaced one minute apart, to allow everyone a leisurely drive at his or her own speed.
A few minutes into the tour, cars pulled into residence of Tom Teegarden, a local auto enthusiast, where a photograph was taken of each car using Teegarden's red barn as a backdrop. The photos, mounted in keepsake folders, were handed out at the end of the day.
Four more stops were scheduled along the route. First off was the railroad museum in Union Bridge,MD, run by the Western Maryland Railway Historical Society. Besides containing two buildings full of historic artifacts, the museum features an extensive N-scale railroad model. Historical Society members fielded their own car show, with three antique cars parked on the station platform. A few miles down the road lay Uniontown, a charming and remarkably preserved 19th century village that functions as a modern town. Here, tour participants were shown through two historic buildings by members of Historic Uniontown, Inc.
Third on the docket was Pipe Creek Trading Company, an antique and classic car dealership just outside Taneytown, MD, housed in a historic skating rink dating back to the 1930's. Finally, near the end of the tour, Orphan Tourists stopped to visit the Hanover Museum at the M & J Auction House, which contains a fascinating collection of photos and historic artifacts of the town of Hanover, PA -- along with a locally-built 1921 "Hanover" car -- one of a handful in existence!
At 5:30 in the afternoon, drivers and their passengers gathered at the Victory Restaurant in Hanover for a buffet dinner. Afterwards, various awards were given out. Oldest Car award was won by Bob and Mary Grincewich of Westminster, MD, driving their 1931 Hupmobile. The "Over Yonder" trophy, donated by Jewells, a Tour supporter from Williamspor, MD, goes to the person driving the longest distance to the event. This year it was presented to Larry Blatt, who drove his '67 Rambler Rogue 114 miles from Coatesville, PA. The Hard Luck Award was bestowed on Kirby and Katie England of Westminster. (Mercifully, their "calamity" -- the worst incident on the Tour -- consisted of having to back down the road some distance, due to an oversized farm tractor they encountered!).
The central task of the evening was determining the winners of the "observational quiz". This consisted of 65 questions sprinkled amongst the written driving directions, about sights glimpsed along the route. Participants test their powers of observation and write answers on yellow answer sheets. The sheets were passed out to fellow participants and the answers graded one by one, while photographs were simultaneously projected on the wall, picturing the actual roadside object that would have supplied the correct answer to each question.
First place this year was a tie, with both front-runners getting a 95% score. Tie-breaker questions -- so obscure and bizarre as to amount to a coin toss -- finally yielded the evening's winners: First Place: Bob and Phyllis Godwin ('65 Studebaker); Second Place: John and Judy Boksz ('65 AMC); Third place, Michael Goldman and John Bayne ('55 Kaiser); Honorable Mention: Kevin Shenberger and Kevin Wolf ('70 AMX), and Ken Prentice and Peg Dern ('65 Rambler Marlin).
Thankfully, dire weather predictions for the day proved wrong. Despite forecasts of a 50 - 80% chance of rain during the day, only a slight mist descended during the Tour's first hour. Not until dinner in Hanover did the skies finally open up.
American Motors Corporation (AMC) was the best-represented "orphan" manufacturer, with nine cars on the tour. Packard (with six cars), Studebaker (five) and Kaiser (three) were also well-represented. "Recent orphans" are becoming increasingly prevalent on the tour; this year they included three Plymouths, a Pontiac and two Oldsmobiles.
This year the Tour welcomed its first Hupmobile -- a 1931 model. Other one-only marques included Austin-Healey, Bricklin and Thunderbird. There were even some "late models" thrown in: a Buick, Saturn and Mustang, all from the 2000's. ("Staff cars" not driven on the actual tour included a '64 Avanti, a '55 DeSoto and a '37 Terraplane.).
By decade, 1950's cars were the most prevalent with twelve cars, followed by the 1960's (eleven), 1970's (five), 1930's (three), and 1940's (two). Three cars were built in 1980 or later.
Some great pictures from the event are posted by one of our Orphan members, Tom Kenney. Click here.
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