Contributed by Tara Bush
Fall 2022 brought two surprises to central Florida, Ian and Nicole, very late season hurricanes. Right in the middle (mid Octoboer) was the annual Lake Mirror Classic Concours and Car Show in downtown Lakeland. Started in 1999 by Heacock Classic Insurance, of which the owner is a big car enthusiast. After nearly 20 years, Heacock turned the reins over to a local credit union, MIDFLORIDA. Covid struck and the continuance of the show was in peril….enter Robert D’ Angelo. Well known throughout the west coast of Florida, and a successful organizer of the Bay Life Church Car Show in Brandon, he could not let this “bucket list” level event disappear forever. Jumping in with both feet, he assembled prior volunteers, contacted previous sponsors and vendors, and pulled off a fantastic event.
I was scheduled to bring the FlaCarShows display tent and my 1967 Acadian, however Hurricane Ian left me without a way to access the outside world. Come hell or high water I was not going to miss my first Lake Mirror Classic event. I hitched a ride from a local, through 27” of St. Johns River water, to the open highway.
The event consists of several different pieces placed together to form a unique and harmonious show. The three-day celebration kicks off with the Friday night “Hot Rod Rendezvous” around Lake Mirror Park. A beautiful setting, the sun setting, and the historic city lights make for a stunning backdrop. The band captured the essence of the 80’-90’s music, dancing commenced in front of the big stage, and hot rods, street rods, race cars, moderns, and classics surrounded it all.
Early Saturday morning, 153 beautiful appointed concours vehicles rolled in to surround Lake Mirrors. Original or restored to original vehicles of at least 50 years old are accepted. With some exceptions…this year’s featured marque was Ferrari. There was a special Shelby display and a celebration of the 1932 Ford, the classic old school hot rod. An experienced concourse group of judges awarded stunning 65 onyx swan on marble base awards and Waterford crystal trophies to the best of the best. The “Best in Class” photos can be viewed HERE.
If that wasn’t enough to see at any given show, there was much more to see. Also, early Saturday morning, 400 or so vehicles rolled into the downtown streets of historic Lakeland for the open car show. Many Corvette clubs were represented along with the annual meeting of the Deep South Cobra Club. Classics, rods, moderns, foreign, and anything with wheels was welcome. There were vehicles from all over the southeast including Indiana, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, and Georgia. 3 trophies were awarded for exemplary vehicles.
One particular bright green car caught my eye from across the park, a 1969 Dodge Super Bee with the A12 lift-off hood option. But what made this Super Bee extremely special was the very rare floral top, or as Mopar people call it, “Mod Top”. It won Best of Class for Domestic Performance/Sports Car 1960-1969.
The SCCA sanctioned road rally was on Sunday featuring a cruise through some of the most scenic roads in central Florida. This was not a race but a chance to enjoy a gorgeous Florida day among other car owners. The rally ended at Lake Bonnet Springs Park with lunch and many incredible “door prizes” for participants.
The Lake Mirror Classic supports important area children’s charities. They would like to thank everyone who attended and to the sponsors, especially MIDFLORIDA Credit Union and Hagerty Insurance as the presenting sponsors.
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