For some, that first love and that first car are one and the same.
Maybe it was the baby blue Volkswagen Beetle you drove to college with the rotted out heater channels that was forgivingly good on gas during the oil crisis of your youth, or perhaps the '69 Ford Mustang you drove on that first date with your future spouse. It could have been a "wildest dream" ride that tickled your fancy — the Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am you fell for on the big screen, or Roy Scheider's 1973 silver Pontiac Ventura Sprint coupe from the infamous car chase scene in The Seven-Ups.
Instead of muscle, you ended up settling for your older brother's hand-me-down, maybe a 1969 Pontiac Catalina hard-top with a slow leak in the radiator that he got when your dad, a devout Cadillac man, traded up.
Now it turns out that old beater you drove as a teen is a collector's item. So is the Bandit's Trans Am. And the Caddy. And the bug. The Mustang — of course.
In the coming weeks, car aficionados can reconnect with some of those first loves — or simply check out the mint-condition rides of days gone by.
27th Annual Fall AutoFest, Nov. 10-13
When: Nov. 10-13.
Where: Festival Park, 2738 Gall Blvd. (U.S. 301) Zephyrhills.
Admission: Thursday: $8; Friday and Saturday: $10; Sunday: $5. Multi-day admission discounts. Children younger than 12 are free with an adult.
Amenities: RV and tent camping (no hookup). Shower and restroom facilities available 24 hours. Wheelchair, Scootaround, wagons and strollers available for rental.
For information, go to zephyrhillsauction.com.
Father and son team Michael and Tim Sierra have been running the show that includes vintage auto exhibition racing, an antique swap meet and collector auction since 1986 when they brought the event to Zephyrhills. This is the smaller of two auto show events held each year at Festival Park, with a larger show held in February.
For them the Rolls Royce is the sweet car of choice.
"I've been around them ever since I was just a little guy. They're built to drive and we drive them," said Tim Sierra, who during a family vacation this past summer steered his 1911 Silver Ghost through the Canadian Rockies, at an average of about 47 mph.
Collectibles of all breeds are arriving daily from all parts of the country — some individually, some by the truckload. All told, Sierra figures there will be about 300 cars on the auction block. Serious collectors are more than welcome, but this event is for the casual viewer as well.
"The auction is interesting. At least half of the people in the building are there just to watch," Sierra said. "There's the color man describing the cars. The ring man calls the bids. It's all fun. It's just a game."
2011 Bug Jam, Nov. 13
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 13.
Where: Pasco County Fair Grounds, 36722 State Road 52, Dade City.
Admission: $5 for adults, plus a can of food; children 10 and under are free with a can of food. Parking: $2.
Food benefits the Suncoast Harvest Food Bank. Other proceeds benefit All Children's Hospital and other non-profit organizations.
Pre-party: Nov. 12 at Beef O'Brady's, 14136 7th St., Dade City. For information, call (352) 567-6678 or visit pascobugjam.com.
This event, sponsored by the Pasco County Fair Association, promises — or at least will try — to stuff 21 people into a Volkswagen to reclaim the The Guinness World Record for most people crammed into an old-style VW Bug. In 2009, 17 Bug Jam participants took the title from Brazil. Then on Dec. 9, 2010, a group of young adults — many of them Asbury University students — filled a 1964 Beetle in Lexington, Ky., setting the record at 20.
Drawing roughly 500 Volkswagens and more than 100 vendors, the Bug Jam is the largest VW show in the southeast and the second largest in the country. Other activities include live entertainment, food, children's games and hula hoop contest.