Cindy Janlich of Herndon still owns the car that she was brought home from the hospital in when she was born.
“At least that’s what I’ve always been told,” she said. “I was too young to know for sure.”
The 1960 Oldsmobile Super 88 Celebrity sedan was owned by her grandfather, who sold it to her in 1994 for $1 just before passing away. She has been taking care of it ever since.
“When my husband and I moved to Herndon 25 years ago, we only looked at houses that had garages long enough to accommodate it,” she said. “I’m glad to say we found one.”
Even so, Janlich and her husband say they both have to navigate the nearly 19-foot-long vehicle in and out, and have only inches to spare in order to get the garage door closed.
The Janliches have been bringing their car to the annual Father’s Day Antique Car Show at the Sully Historic Site in Chantilly for 15 years. The show, which just celebrated its 41st year, was the brainchild of Fairfax Station resident Bill Worsham, 74.
“There were a few others also involved,” Worsham said. “But yes, I was there at the beginning when the first show was put on at Jerry’s Ford in Annandale in 1974. We had about 75 cars show up. The next year that doubled to 150 cars and we knew we had to move.”
Worsham said he contacted an acquaintance at the Fairfax County Park Authority, and then just in time for the nation’s bicentennial, the car show was moved to the Sully Historic Site where it has remained ever since.
“But it wasn’t always held on Father’s Day,” Worsham recalls. “We used to hold it a week earlier but about 15 years ago Celebrate Fairfax chose to hold its event the same weekend, so we moved it to Father’s Day. At first we were afraid no one would come, but it has actually been very successful. We now get about 400 cars every year and about 6,000 visitors.”
The annual car show has also morphed into a festival of its own, now sporting live music, food vendors, antique dealers and other sellers of both car-related and non-car-related items.
Scott Williamson, 71, of Fairfax, calls himself the “Old Crank” and has been hawking his antique wares at the show for nearly a decade. He sells old Victrola record players, stereoview cards and whisky decanters in the shapes of old Duesenberg cars. “My wife already drank all the whisky, so I’m just selling the containers,” he tells customers.
Williamson is also a member of the George Washington Chapter of the Model A Ford Club of America, the collector’s club that organizes the annual Father’s Day Antique Car Show.
“I have a 1929 Model A Ford Roadster that took me 20 years to restore,” Williamson said.
Although the car show is organized and sponsored by the Model A club, Worsham says all antique cars are welcome. “It used to be that you’d see a lot more cars from the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s,” he said. “Of course today, a 1989 car is officially considered an antique, so we are seeing more and more cars from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.”
Tim Minor, 53, of Falls Church, was at this year’s show with the 1968 Plymouth Barracuda Fastback that he purchased in 1979 for $500 from its original owner. He now estimates its value at $60,000.
“I was 18 when I bought it and I only drove it for three years and then stored it because I knew it would be valuable,” he said. “It was stored all over Virginia including in a friend’s barn, and even spent 14 years in West Virginia before I decided to restore it.”
According to Worsham, every car has at least one story--and often more than one.
“That’s part of the fun,” he said. “A lot of the original collectors that came to our first shows have passed on, but some of the cars remain, passed on to children and grandchildren who carry on their legacy and repeat their stories.”