Classic Car Show slated for July 11 at museum

LONDONDERRY – It seems that this year, we’ve had more than our share of cabin fever, to be sure. But now, things are opening up a bit, and the Aviation Museum in Londonderry is happy to step in. On July 11, they will host their fifth annual Classic Car Show in the airfield right outside the museum. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a rain date of July 12. Social distancing will still be the order of the day, however, and the organizers request that everybody wear face masks. The show will be held on the grounds of the museum, with close-up views of the action on nearby Runway 17-35 at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Executive Director Jeff Rapsis is particularly excited about this exhibit, which predates his own tenancy in the post.

“Although this is our fifth year, I’ve only been here for two of them, and wasn’t present at its creation,” he said. “One of our volunteers, a woman who is a Corvette afficionado, advocated that the museum, with its open grounds here at the airport, would be a terrific place for a car show. As it turned out, she was absolutely right, and it’s turned into a really popular thing.

“It’s actually a little counterintuitive, because we’re all about aviation; and yet, there’s a synergy there. I guess it’s an overall transportation thing. We have all of the cars out here, along with the aircraft, so it’s a great day out.”

Given the tenor of the times, Rapsis feels that there will be increased enthusiasm over the event.

“We have sensed that this year, because so many other events have been canceled, we’ll have a much larger crowd,” he said. “People should come out and look at all of the great cars we have. This is really our time to shine.”

Rapsis said that exhibitors range from 50 to 100 vehicles each year, depending on the weather.

“Sometimes, there are three shows going on at the same date,” he said. “This year, we should be on the higher end of that.”

Rapsis said that at past events, they have had a number of cars from the 1930s, favored by the gangsters of that time.

“They get all pimped out, to look exactly as they did back in their heyday,” he said.

Rapsis said that in all the cars he has seen while hosting this event, one stands out particularly in his mind.

“The weirdest one of all was a Cadillac hearse,” he said. “It wasn’t painted to look funny, like something out of The Addams Family, though. It was beautifully restored into perfect showroom condition. It was a gorgeous black vehicle that was so elegant that it didn’t seem right, here. It was just so strange that this was something to be shown off at an an auto show. Of course, it really attracted a lot of attention.”

Rapsis said that there will be prizes given out at the show, including the People’s Choice Award and the Museum Award. All registered entrants will be included in a raffle to win valuable prizes. There will also be a separate 50/50 raffle as well as a yard sale, all proceeds going to the non-profit Aviation Museum.

The event will also have several food trucks, with snacks and drinks available for sale. The Aviation Museum itself will remain closed to the public prior to its opening on July 18, but there will be portable toilets at the site available to visitors.

Housed in the original 1937 passenger terminal at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, the museum is dedicated to celebrating New Hampshire’s role in aviation history. The museum’s education outreach program aims to inspire young people to become tomorrow’s pioneers, innovators and aerospace professionals.

“I think the thing about the car show is that, even if someone isn’t a gearhead, they should still consider coming,” Rapsis said. “It’s one thing to see vintage cars on the television, but when you are actually standing right in front of a 1931 Duesenberg, shining in the sunlight, it’s really an incredible experience.”

For more information, visit www.aviationmuseumofnh.org.