Back in Time: Antique Cars on Display at Downtown Event

Over 150 classic cars will line Kings Highway at the 32nd annual show

Ankokas Region Car Club member Jeff Schulte shows off his 1947 Buick Super Convertible at the 2016 show in downtown Haddonfield.

You remember when Marty McFly outraced those Libyans in the Twin Pine Malls parking lot and then somehow ended up in downtown Hill Valley, 30 years earlier, with the cheery melody of “Mr. Sandman” by the Four Aces providing the soundtrack and a handful of classic cars providing the scenery?

Well this is what is must have been like for Bob Petters, a 73-year-old West Berlin resident, when he’d visit his dad at work. The elder Petters worked at an Oldsmobile dealership in Hammonton and his son was fascinated with the cars.

“My dad was an automobile mechanic for an Oldsmobile dealer and I always liked old cars, always played with cars, built go-karts, had one with a lawnmower engine when I was 10 years old,” Petters said. “I’ve been doing it ever since.”

Doc Brown’s plutonium-fueled DeLorean isn’t readily available, but if you’d like the chance to experience a bit of what it must have been like for a 10-year-old wandering around a dealership of now-classic automobiles in 1955 (Petters owns three classic Oldsmobiles, one that’s nearly as old as Christopher Lloyd), you can do just that in Haddonfield in September. The Ankokas Region of the AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America) is hosting the 32nd Annual Haddonfield, NJ Auto Show on Sept. 15.

From around 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., cars from every decade of the 20th century will line up on Kings Highway in downtown Haddonfield, from Haddon Avenue to the PATCO station. There will be food, street entertainment, a DJ, and, of course, a lot of cars.

Petters, who has attended three antique auto shows in Pennsylvania this summer, expects about 150–160 cars including perhaps a dozen from the show’s feature class: cars that are 100 years or older.

Will a car from 1918 still start?

“Sure they run,” Petters said. “That’s the only way they get in. … The oldest car we have registered is a 1910 Hupmobile.”

The love for classic cars is a family affair for Petters. He learned the trade from his dad and continues to work on three of his own antique Oldsmobiles: two 1953 convertibles and a Cherbourg Blue, 1940 coupe. And he shares the hobby with his wife, Kathy Petters.

Ankokas Region Car Club secretary and chairman of car shows Bob Petters poses next to one of his three antique Oldsmobiles at his garage in West Berlin. Ankokas is hosting the 32ndAnnual Haddonfield Auto Show on Sept. 15. (RYAN LAWRENCE The Sun)

While Bob, a former president of the AACA Ankokas Region Car Club, is the current secretary and chairman of car shows, Kathy Petters is the president. Kathy Petters is the first female president in the history of the 54-year-old Ankokas chapter and brought her skills as a computer programmer (her former career) to the club, helping to streamline the reporting and registration process for all of the car shows.

While their own cars will be kept in immaculate shape inside the Petters’ garage in West Berlin — running the event leaves little time to show off their own cars in Haddonfield — the Petters are looking forward to gathering with friends and other like-minded antique car aficionados.

“You get to talk to a lot of people who have the cars, use them and enjoy them, and then there’s a lot of people interested in cars but don’t have one, and it could lead maybe someone selling them a car,” Bob Petters said. “Kids obviously enjoy the fancy ones. The older people enjoy seeing the older cars they grew up with. I think that’s a whole thing, the nostalgia of it.”

For more information the show or about joining the Ankokas Region Car Club (they meet in Haddonfield on the second Thursday of each month), check out their informative website at www.ankokas.comor send an email to info@ankokas.com.