Cars come out for Drive Dayton History Road Tour

Automotive expedition visits 6 historic Dayton sites

Like many automotive events, the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the 14th Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park but the Concours committee and Dayton History wanted to do something to honor the day and raise some funds.

After some thought, they came up with a socially distanced, low-contact drive – the Drive Dayton History Road Tour – highlighting six historic locations in the area.

Invitations were sent to the 2019 Dayton Concours d’Elegance entrants. The vehicles had to be at least 50 years old, and a minimum donation was required to participate. To add some fun, a playing card was given out at each stop, and the best poker hand would receive a free platinum entry to the 2021 Dayton Concours valued at $300.

Twenty-three cars entered the event.

“It was a rare and welcome opportunity for some of the area’s classic car owners to ‘exercise’ their vehicles in concours-quality weather,” said Concours Director Mike Edgerton.

Stops on the tour included the Mound Cold War Discovery Center in Miamisburg; Hawthorn Hill, the Wright brothers' home; Patterson Homestead; Woodland Cemetery; and the Wright Cycle Shop/Aviation Trail in the Wright Dunbar District. The tour ended at Carillon Historical Park.

The oldest entry was a 1926 Marmon D-74 Victoria Coupe driven by Jerry and Marthann Heil, and the newest was Keith Friemark’s 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL.

In between there were Packards, Thunderbirds, Corvettes, Ford, muscle cars and a few Triumphs. A very rare 1948 Triumph 1800 Roadster driven by Peter Melville won the poker hand with four queens.

“Entrants seemed well pleased to be able to visit historic sites in the area while driving their historic vehicle,” Edgerton said. “Six decades of classic cars toured the area, to the surprise and delight of local auto aficionados.”

Dr. Jeffrey Rapkin brought his 1968 Oldsmobile 442 from Yorktown, Indiana.

“I’ve attended this Concours a number of times, and we just love the event and the setting. With the Concours postponed, we jumped at the chance to do this drive,” he said. “Dayton is such a great town, and now we know even more about the history, and the weather was perfect.”

About the Author