Memory Lane 2018 will go down in the record books as part of the first Miami International Auto Show in the newly-renovated Miami Beach Convention Center. After more than two years of work and the interruption of Hurricane Irma, AACA South Florida brought forth some of the finest cars in our club, including a 1958 Mercedes Benz 300 D ‘Adenauer’ that was owned by both Fulgencio Batista and Fidel Castro, although it’s not clear that they shook hands on the deal. Also on display was a 1994 Ford Mustang Cobra, the pace car of the 1994 Indianapolis 500. The amazing part of its story is that the odometer turned over 1,000 miles on the way to the show.
As in years past, the Havana Classics were a separate part of the show in its own setting and included a 1931 Ford Model A Deluxe Phaeton, a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker, a 1950 Matchless G9 motorcycle, a 1954 Buick 72R Roadmaster, a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air, a 1959 Oldsmobile 98, and as previously noted, the 1958 Mercedes Benz 300 D ‘Adenauer’. Every one of these cars evoked memories of Havana in days gone by. All that was missing was a mojito in hand and the cry of the gulls over the Malecon.
Memory Lane took up two areas on the main floor of the center and provided room for the crowd of over 600,000 estimated visitors to see their automotive past, be they teens envious of the muscle cars of the ‘70’s and 80’s like the Shelby GT-350, AMX, and Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z Z-28; British invasion fans of the English sports cars such as the Austin-Healey and MG; movie buffs who wanted to go back to the future in their 1981 DeLorean, the die-hard Mustang and Corvette denizens, the tasteful stylings of Rolls-Royce and Volvo, and even the families remembering summer vacation treks in the 1988 Pontiac Safari station wagon. For those who prefer wind in their hair (assuming they still have some) and maybe bugs in their teeth, there were motorcycles to remind them that you meet the nicest people on a Honda. There was even a reminder of the old Cold War with a Fiat 126 P, the P standing for Poland, the land of its birth. The 1,000 mile Mustang Cobra was followed by its little brother; a 1994 Indy Pace Car Mini Replica go-kart for kids of all ages. In all, twenty-nine cars took up the floor and caught the attention of the crowd.
Thank you to all the volunteers who helped set up the show and get it ready, and to those who made the effort and took the time to come to Miami Beach to help keep an eye on the cars and answer the questions of the visitors. The show could not go on without you. And of course a big thank you to show chair Mel Mann, who coordinates it all, and co-chairs Ira Shapiro, Bob Squier, and Philip Williams. We may have missed 2017, but we more than made up for it this year.
By Philip Williams
Photos by Bob Squier, Philip Williams, Bob Mayer, Ira Shapiro, and Mel Mann