2012 AMO Boston, A New
England AMC Revolution
By Joe Howard
The 2012 show was the first time since the 2000 AMO International Convention in Berlin, CT that an AMO National Show was on the East Coast. The Wyndham Hotel in Andover, MA was selected as the host hotel and show site because it could accommodate the rooms required, had quality food/banquet services, and provided a parking area available for use as the show field. Plus it is in a fantastic location close to historic Boston for a wide range of attractions and vacation opportunities.
It worked. We had over 300 people stay at the host hotel and participate in 4 days of activities and the show. Several stayed a week or more. About half came for 3 or 4 days. An estimated 100 spectators came on Saturday to see the 130 AMC cars on the show field. We also invited Shirley Shahan and her husband Ken Bridges now living in California to come to Boston and meet the East Coast fans.
The New England weather is always changing and sometimes unpredictable. That said, the week of the 2012 AMO show was just perfect weather – sunny days in the mid to high-80s and no rain. Those from the Midwest where they were having temperatures hovering around 100 degrees especially thought it was nice.
Planned activities started on Wednesday, July 11th with a daylong cruise to the NH seacoast. 41 cars lined up Wednesday morning with 65 people to participate. The first stop was for breakfast at Mary Ann’s 50’s Diner in Derry, NH. Mary Ann’s is famous locally known for great food, poodle skirted waitresses, and 1950 memorabilia. No one was disappointed.
After breakfast we cruised to Portsmouth NH and stopped at historic Strawberry Banke to see the oldest seacoast neighborhood in NH. There everyone could experience and imagine how people lived and worked in this typical American neighborhood community from the late 17th to the mid-20th century. We explored restored houses and saw many exhibits and historic landscapes and gardens.
Next we drove Rt-1A right along the 16 miles of NH seacoast from Rocky Rye to sandy Hampton Beach. Our destination was Markey’s Lobster Pound for lunch. Choices included 2 lobsters for $19.95, a really great price, and other seafood and burgers. Next door was an ice cream stand for desert. The last stop was to visit an old AMC dealership (Michaud AMC) in Amesbury MA which is still open by the original owner, as a repair shop. AMC signs are still on the building and plenty of AMC memorabilia, everyone really enjoyed seeing it and meeting the owner Phil Michaud. Lots of pictures were taken of our cars under the AMC signs.
Wednesday evening everyone was invited to a Meet and Greet Reception with free crackers and cheese to renew friendships and make new ones.
Thursday the main activity during the day was the guided coach bus tour of Historic Boston. We filled two coach buses with 88 people to explore the highlights of Boston’s part in our countries history during the Revolutionary War. Each bus had a knowledgeable guide who told the stories of the people, the places and events during visits to the USS Constitution, the Old North Church, the Boston Common and Bunker Hill. We heard about the original “Tea Party” and visited Paul Revere’s House. We also walked thru the Old Italian North End and later downtown in Quincy Market, the most visited historic area in Boston. Everyone was tired but had a great time.
Thursday evening was a cruise to the Kimball Farm in nearby Westford MA for food, ice cream, and amusements including mini-golf, batting cages, pitch & putt and bumper boats. At last count 61 cars went on this cruise and we did not lose even one in the heavy traffic.
The swap meet area was set up during Thursday afternoon for those vendors who came early and were already at the host hotel. This gave everyone the opportunity for an early start of vending on Friday morning.
The swap meet was the main activity on Friday. In all 30 vendors came for the two day swap meet. Well known AMC vendors included Jim Rae from Canada; Jeff Kennedy from OH; Gordy Chilson from PA; T.J. Grimaldi from NY; and Patrick Foster from CT. AMC enthusiasts with parts and memorabilia to sell also came from the local MA, NH, and CT area and as far away as NY, MD, PA, OH, MI, and FL.
Our final cruise was also on Friday to visit Minute Man National Historical Park in Lexington and Concord MA and see the places where the American Revolutionary War started in 1775. Several cars went from the hotel and were joined by other AMC’ers in Lexington at the Minute Man Visitor Center.
There they saw displays and a movie of the opening battles of the American Revolution on April 19, 1775 when British soldiers and American militia, "minute men" met in a series of skirmishes along a 22 mile stretch of road that ran from Boston to Concord. The first battle of the American Revolution began at dawn, April 19, 1775, with a one-sided British victory in Lexington where 8 militiamen were killed and 10 wounded. It ended that evening with the British Regulars fighting for their lives on the road to Boston against nearly 4,000 Colonial militiamen. Next they cruised to see the actual locations. First the British victory at Lexington Battle Green and then the Old North Bridge in Concord where the Colonists stopped the advancing British Regulars and sent them back to Boston.
Friday evening at the host hotel AMO hosted the Chapter Representatives meeting and the General Membership Meeting. CAMO then provided a free social event where everyone could make their own ice cream sundae until the ice cream ran out. The weather was so nice that the parking lots were full of people viewing the AMCs and preparing for the show on the next day.
Saturday came very early. The show field was set up by 6:30 am and we started moving cars that already had their official photo taken on Friday into their respective classes. Activity at the registration table was brisk with an additional 18 AMCs coming for the show. This brought the total to 130 cars on the show field with 81 of those being judged. We also had around 100 spectators come on Saturday to see the AMCs and some even drove their AMC. An additional 18 AMCs were in the spectator lot. The show was covered by Hemmings Classic Car and the local newspaper.
In addition to a large number of Javelins, AMXs, AMCs and Ramblers, on the show field were some special cars. CAMO featured George Berube’s authentic full-scale replica of the original Rambler, first produced in 1902. It was built by Gaslight Motors Corporation, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, organized by three American Motors Corporation employees who had interest in the historical significance of the Rambler. Every detail on the 1902 Rambler has been duplicated as nearly as possible from the original plans and existing '02 models.
We also featured Ken Siroonian’s 1974 Javelin - with only 26 original miles. Exactly as it came from the AMC showroom in Syracuse NY. It is Trans-Am red color, D7/WH, with white vinyl roof, white rally stripe and black interior with white vinyl bucket seat trim. The powertrain is a 360 V8 2 bbl, torque command floor shift automatic transmission with console, and twin grip differential. This Javelin drew a lot of attention as a prime example of a Stock Javelin that has not been refurbished.
Brian Moyer from Reinholds, PA brought his the Gremlin Sport. What’s that? AMC didn’t build a Gremlin Sport? Correct, but Brian did, swapping in a 401, adding the front and fender flares from a Hornet AMX and chopping the rear to form a small (world’s smallest?) pickup bed. Actually, Brian started out with the intention of making it a pickup bed. He really wanted to turn a Hornet Sportabout into an El Camino-like sedan pickup, but couldn’t find a Sportabout, so chose to chop the next best thing – a Gremlin. And the bed turned out a little less than useful, so he turned it into a rumble seat.
Two of the famous SS/AMXs were also at the 2012 National Show. Mike Pearce from Elkton, MD brought car #39, Pete’s Patriot, to display and Dave Dante from Hunlock, PA brought car #11, Cotton Candy. It was a real treat to see these two cars at the Boston show. Lenny Legere from Georgetown, MA brought his Custom non-AMC powered 71 Javelin – an amazing looking car – see it in the pictures.
On the show field the most of any model was the 68 to 70 AMXs with 35 on the show field. Next were the 71 to 74 Javelins with 20. The 68 to 70 Javelins had 8 in the show. The show attracted a rather large turnout of Gremlins with 10 on the show field. This caught the attention of our local newspaper as they featured the Gremlins in their coverage of the event. Gremlins are also the topic on a Hemmings Blog about the 2012 AMO National Show. Check out: http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2012/07/17/this-is-why-you-dont-feed-them-after-midnight/?refer=news
In addition to many beautiful Rebel Machines, S/C Ramblers, and SC/360 Hornets several other lesser seen models were also on the show field and attracted attention from the spectators: 7 Ambassadors, 6 Hornets, 5 Rambler Americans, 4 Eagles, 4 Marlins, 3 Pacers, and 2 Matadors. One of our sponsors, Kon Kennett, Inc. Auto Paint, provided a trophy for Best Paint that was won by Earl Wilcox from DeSoto, KS for his beautiful 1970 Rebel Machine. Earl’s car also won the Kid’s Choice trophy donated by CAMO’s Lorraine Mackiewicz.
After the show ended we had a couple of hours to get ready for the Awards Banquet. The reception started at 6:00 pm and the banquet at 7:00 pm. Before dinner the CAMO President, Bill Leonard, welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming and making this show a success. Following a great dinner served by the Wyndham Hotel staff, the CAMO Master of Ceremonies Bob Majeski started the evening’s proceedings. The long distance awards for cars driven and cars trailered were presented. Both were won by members from the AMC Manitoba chapter. Next the hard luck award and finally a game to give away the New England Minuteman centerpiece to a lucky someone at each table.
The guest speaker was Shirley Shahan who talked about some of the highlights of her racing career. Shirley was assisted by a slideshow prepared by AMO’s Mark Fletcher. It covered her association with AMC and the years racing AMXs, Gremlins, and Concords. In every picture Shirley was wearing tall boots, sometimes white and sometimes red. Must have been her trademark.
CAMO then turned proceedings over to AMO for special recognitions and then presentation of the show trophies by Concourse Chairman Mark Fletcher and Assistant Concourse Chairman Bob Hodson. 71 trophies were awarded. A strong statement about the high quality of AMCs that came to the 2012 AMO International Convention in Boston.
CAMO thanks everyone who came to Boston from across the United States and Canada and made this one of the best AMO National shows ever.