To share their love of cars with the community, a group of enthusiasts is hosting weekly vehicle shows every Monday at 5 p.m. at the Toll House Plaza shopping center in Mantua, former home of Kmart.
The shows will continue through Oct. 9. They mark a return to events that began last year.
“It started in the spring of ‘22, and it was started by these four older gentlemen who were guys that came together,” said Bill Wilkinson, a regular show participant. “They received permission from CubeSmart, AutoZone and Sal’s Pizza and got in contact with the police beforehand to notify them.”
Last year’s shows – with as many as 130 vehicles involved – were deemed a success, and they had a positive effect on local businesses, according to Wilkinson.
“It’s got variety and it’s an interesting sight to see,” Wilkinson said. “Every time I was there, I saw something new, like a Packard.”
The free shows include a variety of cars from different eras like the ‘30s and feature exotic vehicles, hot rods and classic rides.
“The shows can tie back into Mantua’s history,” Wilkinson explained. “There was an airbrush designer in Mantua in the ‘60s and ‘70s known as Whiskey, who painted car designs. He ran a shop called Wizards of Rods, a play on The Wizard of Oz, and sometimes cars pull into the show with stickers of the shop’s logos.”
Among people drawn to the shows are Mayor Robert Zimmerman, who visited the April 17 event and got a tour by Wilkinson, who believes the gatherings benefit the community.
“It’s a really good atmosphere and it really brings people together,” he noted. “The camaraderie is just amazing at these events, and you can gain an appreciation for this kind of thing.”