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Classic cars come to town for annual auto event

An elegant 1929 Cadillac sits in front of the Historic Dayton House Saturday morning as part of the Antique Automobile Club of America's Spring Fling visit to Worthington1 / 3
The public was invited to look over the many vintage cars of the Antique Automobile Club of America at its stop at Marv's Car & Sign Museum in Worthington on Saturday.2 / 3
The hood ornament and emblem of a 1954 Ford belonging to Jim Jose seems to promise its driver and occupants a futuristic ride.3 / 3

WORTHINGTON -- The Minnesota Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America descended on Worthington Friday and Saturday for its annual "Spring Fling."

"The local chapter, Prairieland, is sponsoring this one, so we have people coming from all over Minnesota and some from Wisconsin," said Jim Jose, who helped organize the event. "It's called the Spring Fling. We do this every year. We get together somewhere and tour around and visit with each other and see the town that we're coming to. Marv Spomer's place is a featured thing that we're doing."

Through the club, approximately 60 people were in town showing off around 20 classic cars.

"Some people who came a long distance might drive a modern car," Jose said.

The group picked Worthington for many reasons, but one of those being a chance to tour Marv's Car & Sign Museum.

"I'm the Ford dealer in Madelia and I've known Marv for 35 years with both of us doing collector cars," Jose said. "That's the main reason we're coming is because of Marv's place."

Jose brought his own classic car -- and a rare one, as well.

"I'm driving a '54 Ford with a glass top," he said. "It's a very rare car. It's the first year they made them. They only made them for three years, '54, '55 and '56, with the glass top over the front seat. This is my wife's car; she's owned the car for 37 years. We've had it all over the United States."

He first started becoming interested in antique automobiles a long time ago.

"My dad bought his first collector car in 1949 and he bought a 1917 Model T, which we still have in the family," Jose said.

Along with the annual "Spring Fling," Jose's love for automobiles leads him all over the country.

"We go all over the United States from the East Coast to Phoenix and we're in three different car clubs," he said. "This is our vacation every year. This year we'll be in Ohio, and we'll be going up into Canada and all over the country."

Jose also has his own museum behind his house, where he can show off some of his collector items.

"It's something like Marv's, but not quite as big," he said.

The group had a full schedule during the two-day event.

They started with a bus tour of Worthington and also visited Buffalo Billfold Co. and Panaderia Mi Tierra bakery on Friday.

On Saturday, the group toured Pioneer Village in the morning and had lunch at the Dayton House.

"The Dayton House has been a big draw for us, too," Jose said. "Everybody across the country is familiar with the Dayton family."

In the afternoon, group members went to Marv's to take a tour of the museum.

"We do a lot of running around," Jose said. "We don't really display our cars during this kind of deal. We're in to see the area. It's not a car show, it's a car tour. We're touring around Worthington."

Following the museum, the group took a car tour around Lake Okabena.

The event concluded Saturday night with a banquet at BenLee's.

"I'm impressed with them; they are doing a good job at BenLee's," Jose said. "And Darlene (Macklin) at the Chamber has been just super. I've never had anybody so enthusiastic and so organized to help show off Worthington to us."

And for Worthington, it was a chance to show off the sights to a group of people from around the region.

"This is the Minnesota and part of Wisconsin chapter," Jose said. "People will be coming from northern Minnesota and Minneapolis over into Wisconsin. This one is a regional event.

"There are a lot of neat things in Worthington to show off and see."

Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen can be reached at 376-7323.