22 Jun

Sun Shines on Father’s Day Car Show in Norwalk

Jon Hammond with his sons Ben 6 and Dylan 2 enjoy the New England Auto Museum's Father's Day car show Sunday at Mathews Park.

Jon Hammond with his sons Ben 6 and Dylan 2 enjoy the New England Auto Museum’s Father’s Day car show Sunday at Mathews Park.

Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2015 4:15 pm
By FRANCIS CARR Jr. Hour Staff Writer
link to original article in The Hour

Norwalk, CT - Classic car enthusiasts, antique collectors and spectators gathered for the 10th annual Darien Collectors Car Show for the show’s first year in its new Mathews Park location.

The Darien Collectors Car Show takes place on Father’s Day each year. Despite morning showers that delayed the start of the show, the clouds parted and Mathews Park was crowded with cars and families by noon. Sixteen awards were presented to car owners throughout the day.


Mayor Harry Rilling was on hand to present the Mayor’s Choice award, which went to Parker and Gwen Ackley, of Fairfield, and their 1915 Dodge Brothers Touring Car, the oldest in the show. “He likes the really old cars,” said Gwen Ackley, noting that the prize was a toss-up between her car and a 1926 Ford Model T owned by Don and Peggy Morey of Norwalk.

The Ackleys, who appeared in period dress, drove their hundred-year-old Dodge from Fairfield to Norwalk on Route 136 in the rain. “When we got to Sherwood Island, the sun came out, and we were like, ‘Yay!'” Gwen Ackley told The Hour.

The Ackleys are history buffs, and live in a house crammed with vintage clothing, Victrolas and old radios. They acquired their car on an excursion to Hoffman’s Barn antique store in Red Hook, N.Y., near the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome where the pair were volunteers. The store owner had placed the car in his store to create ambiance, and was reluctant to sell it.

A week later, the Ackleys returned to inquire again. “This car got so much attention in the shop that it was driving (the owner) crazy,” Gwen Ackley said. The car was theirs. “We were very naïve, but luckily we got a great car.”

One of the event’s featured cars was Vinny Lyons’s 1968 Ford Mustang 238 Cobra Jet, one of only 50 such race cars built by Ford and sent to car dealerships as a promotion. At the time, Lyons was a service manager at Rye Ford in Rye, N.Y., and he began driving the car in drag races to promote his dealership. In 1969, Lyons acquired the car for $1,000, and has continued to race it. Today, Lyons drives in about three races per year, in Beaver Springs, P.A., Lebanon Valley, N.Y. and Englishtown, N.J., Lyons told The Hour.

This year’s car show was a fundraiser for the New England Auto Museum planned for Norwalk, said Auto Museum Marketing Director Nick Ord. Proceeds from car entry fees would go to support museum costs, Ord said.

Fathers, for their part, said they planned to relax and spend time with family. Ben Djiounas and daughter Morgan, 2, said they were enjoying themselves, although Djiounas said he is “not intimately” acquainted with cars or car culture. Djiounas said he planned to barbecue with family later in the day. Eric Brean, “absolutely” a car fan, and daughter Amelia, 4, planned to spend the afternoon relaxing. “We’ll probably go out to lunch, and then go home,” Brean told The Hour.

Hour photos/Matthew Vinci

Hour photos/Matthew Vinci