For those of you who are interested, some new developments in the effort to salvage the Motor Muster and old Car festival. Below is a thread I've posted on other forums. I'm very curious to know how these changes have affected your decision to attend either event, assuming you are close enough to attend.
A couple of friends of mine met with John Neilson and, in a nutshell, the outlook is not good.
I don't want to beat a dead horse but I thought I would share with you what I know.
Before I go into some detail, let me cut to the bottom line: they were left with the impression that THF doesn't care about either MM, OCF or, the participants.
(I'll try to put conversation notes in narrative form, so bear with me.)
MM and OCF, according to Neilson, do not make money. THF makes more money on weddings on the weekends and the shows interfere with that, (My side note: For past participants or visitors to the shows, you may have noticed some weddings taking place during either show.)
Neilson said they may be looking to combine MM and OCF into one show (My note: thus, freeing up a weekend. But, if they are having problems with the number of cars and trailers at two shows, what makes them think one big show is going to be easier? This also, I speculate, would severely limit the number of cars if the show takes in vehicles 1976 and older.)
Lansing to Dearborn: It was started as a way to publicize OCF. Although my understanding is at first LTD was excluded from OCF, Neilson said they are welcome, just not their trailers. LTD offered to solve the trailer issue for THF (essentially doing THF's work) if they could could get a price break from the $50 registration fee. Neilson, apparently, pretty much said "no", that if they do it for LTD, THF would have to do it for others. Consequently, LTD is doing their own meet and tour and will NOT be going to OCF.
Neilson: THF does not want to be known as an old car museum. They want to be known as an innovation organization (My note: it is my understanding that the name "Henry Ford" will be dropped from the name of the institution.)
Neilson wants participants to dress in period costume and stay with their cars and "narrate" them. (My note: this may be why the Pass In Review, in my opinion, a key part of both events, is 50% by invitation and 50% lottery.) He wants more "engagement" and is looking for ways to pull in more young people, not car people, through the gate. Neilson said most visitors are participants or their friends, and that hurts the gate. When asked how he wants to draw in more young an non-car people, Neilson said he has no idea.
As for the $50. non-refundable fee, Neilson said that when they initiated the a $25 fee, participant attendance fell, but then rose. Neilson anticipates the same thing will happen with the new fee. He said that if people were really "hung up" on the new fee, maybe something can be worked out.
Now, on to what I know apart from the above meeting. It is my understanding, that very few, if any, past or new participants from Ohio will be going to either MM or OCF.
LTD, as mentioned, will not be going and is creating it's own event.
There are some folks who are talking to Gilmore about creating a sort of OCF at that location and Gilmore, apparently is VERY interested. It won't be this year, but, perhaps next year.
Letters have been or will be sent from various clubs, both single and multi-make clubs, to Neilson and others at THF regarding the changes.
I attended an old car meeting the other night where and lot of members had previously attended the OCF and it was asked, who will be going to the OCF this year. Two people raised their hands.
It appears there is a general "boycott" of the events.
This is something I sincerely hoped would not happen. I really wanted a meeting of the minds between participants and THF regarding both events so as to keep the events basically unchanged.
This may sound over-dramatic, but the entire situation makes my heart bleed. Those of you who have been going to both or one of the events, will understand this.
I have offered my services to those trying to "replace" OCF with Gilmore to organize and, although I retired from narrating, and as a narrator, should they do a Pass-in-Review.
Sorry for being long-winded, but I thought you should know.