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One last ride for the classic-car guy? PDF Print E-mail
Written by JOHN MORTON   
Wednesday, 06 September 2017 18:33

After 30 years of his auto show, Phil Vincevineus would like to step aside and soak up the scene

Phil Vincevineus doesn’t necessarily want to have nothing to do with Saukville’s annual car show, he just doesn’t want to have everything to do with it.
“After 30 years, I wish that someone else could step up and run with it,” said Vincevineus, the event’s originator who back in the day simply wanted to raise a few bucks for his kids’ school. “I’ve done my time.”
Indeed, finding time to organize an event that brings in as many as 500 cars isn’t easy — especially when you are a one-man show at your place of business. Vincevineus is owner and operator of Pleasant Valley Auto in the Town of Saukville.
“But don’t worry, the car show isn’t going away or anything like that,” he said. “There are people out there who can take over.”
Vincevineus is, of course, a car buff. One day, he said,  he would like to leisurely take in all the sights and sounds of the car show, set this year for Sunday, Sept. 10. It runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the village’s Oscar Grady Park and features a 4 p.m. awards presentation. Admission is free for spectators and it costs $5 to enter a vehicle.
“I’m always so busy at it that I can’t truly enjoy it,” he said. “I’ve even had a guy and his wife take pictures of all the cars for me so I can at least look at them later.”
He would also like to find the time to enter his two classic Chevy Chevelles — one a 1967 model converted into a drag car and the other a 1969 model.
“I could never enter them because it wouldn’t have looked too good if I won something,” Vincevineus said.
But competition is stiff. The show over the years has seen countless hot rods and muscle cars show up, along with race cars and even a monster truck or two.
“I’m sure we’ve had cars worth as much as $100,000,” Vincevineus said. “And what’s best is our show is known for being  the show where anything goes. The variety is spectacular. If you’re looking for something oddball, you’ll find it.
“Some guys will even put their cars up for sale while they’re here. I’m sure some deals have been made at the show.”
The event is also known for its laid-back atmosphere, he said.
“It’s late in the summer so people come out for one last outing, or to see someone they didn’t see all summer but they know that person will be there,” Vincevineus said. “It’s that kind of event — everyone seems to know one another. When the different car clubs show up, they’ll often hold their annual meetings while they’re there, all together.
“My favorite was always those Port guys in the old Summer Nights (car club). About 60 of them would roll into town with a police escort.”
Being off the beaten path a bit hasn’t deterred the interest, Vincevineus said.
“It’s nice that something like this takes place in Saukville. Before, you always had to go somewhere else, far away,” he said. “Shows this large aren’t usually held in such a small community.
“It also helps that it is so cheap to enter. You won’t find shows that charge only $5 to enter anywhere else.”
In return, car enthusiasts are willing to travel a fair distance for the Saukville show, he said.
“The furthest traveled, if I remember right, was by a guy from Shreveport (La.). But my guess is that he was visiting someone and just happened to come in his classic car,” Vincevineus said. “Mostly, aside from Wisconsin, we see a lot of people come from three or four hours away. A lot of Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois.”
Busy as ever this week getting the sponsors and logistics in place, while still servicing his auto-repair clients, Vincevineus took a short break to do a little reminiscing about how the show evolved.
“I remember sitting with some parents, having a beer, trying to figure out how we can raise money for the school at Immaculate Conception (church),” he said. “I thought a car show might make for a good event. Having always been a car guy, I knew it would go hand-in-hand and it could be good for my business. You know, making me look good in the community.
“That first year we had 80 entries, which wasn’t bad, and the numbers doubled each time the first few years. It got popular quick. I remember having guys come into the shop with their cars a few days before the show and asking me to help them get fixed up in time.”
But then school closed about five years after the show began. With success under its belt, the decision was made to keep the show going.
“We decided to have it benefit the (Saukville) Fire Department from that point on, knowing it would have the manpower and cooking ability to help pull it off,” Vincevineus said. “That’s been the case now for 25 years.”
The show brings in about $10,000 each year, he said. It not only showcases classic cars, but also trucks, motorcycles and vintage snowmobiles.
This year’s 30-year-anniversary event will feature a pancake breakfast, food and beverage sales, and a live DJ show by Bob & Arlo.
Whether it’s his last hurrah as leader or not, Vincevineus said he has appreciated everyone’s dedication.
“Don’t get me wrong — I’ve had plenty of help behind the scenes, especially from my wife Sally and my family,” he said. “And the village has always been great to work with. There’s no reason it shouldn’t continue to succeed.”

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