ST PETE YACHT CLUB
VINTAGE MOTOR CLASSIC
As the Yacht Club grew in membership, limited parking required a parking garage. Upon completion of a new garage in 1996, a car show was held celebrating its opening. Club member Fay Baynard chaired this show for fellow members to showcase their cherished vehicles.
In 2001, as he considered the location and facilities of the Club, avid vintage car enthusiast Bill Waters, believed an opportunity awaited the Club. He knew a vintage car show, open to the public on South Straub Park, could become the most prestigious show on Florida’s west coast. With trees, lush grass, beautiful fountain, winding walkways, the waterfront, and the prominent St. Petersburg Yacht Club, he saw the potential for a spectacular vintage vehicle show.
In the fall of 2002, Bill and his wife Mary, inaugurated the first St. Petersburg Yacht Club Antique Auto Show. Several Club owners along with local exhibitors, displayed 33 beautiful pre-1980 cars. The event concluded with trophies and awards on the steps of the Club.
The 38 vehicle 2003 show moved to November, to coincide with Rib-Fest and its 150,000 attendees. Bill, a 1967 Corvette owner, was assisted by fellow Club member and vintage MG owner J. Wood for several years. Mary Waters volunteered as Director of Charity Funds, and St. Petersburg’s Mayor, Rick Baker, presented the first Mayor’s Choice Award. Recognizing its value to the City, Mayor Baker secured and made permanent the Park for this event, and we’re forever grateful.
By 2004, the Show attracted vintage motorcycles, and the name became the SPYC Vintage Auto & Cycle Show. Eighty seven rare vehicles attended from as far as Miami, Marco Is, and Daytona. This year’s event partnered with the City of St. Pete and the Honda Grand Prix Race Team promoting the 2005 race series.
2005 was a significant year with 202 vehicles including classic custom cars, trucks, motorcycles and race cars. Vehicles came from throughout the South Eastern US, including noteworthy examples as Bobby Allison’s restored 1969 Dodge Challenger race car from Pensacola, FL. There was live coverage by TV and radio, the St. Petersburg Times, and newscaster and TV Anchorman John Wilson presented trophies. Over $1,400 was raised for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
The 2006 show marked the most prestigious event on the west coast of Florida as the show attained a level Bill had envisioned. It opened with a complimentary Owner’s & Guests Welcome Reception on Saturday evening prior to the show in the lobby of the Bank Tower, where over 300 guests were greeted inside by vintage automobiles, motorcycles, boats, a band, sponsor displays and a buffet.
Bob Hoffman became Entrance / Exit Director, and the following day Bob’s crew and the USF Wakeboard Team members positioned 248 show and sponsor vehicles in just 2 hours! Mary’s Charity Funds crew raised over $2,500 for the Shriner’s Hospital for Children.
In 2007, Club member and vintage boat owner Steve Lattman became Director of Watercraft Acquisition and was charged with acquiring vintage boats and managing a vessel display along the waterfront. With such a variety of vehicles, the show name was changed to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club Vintage Motor Classic.
As the country was in the midst of financial turmoil in 2008, many shows closed as exhibitors and sponsors suffered financially. However, with dedicated sponsors and exhibitors, the 267 vehicle SPYC Vintage Motor Classic was a bright place for folks to forget their problems for a day. Bill Hefner became the Event Photographer and our Charity Funds raised over $1,500 for the SPCA.
Founded in 1909, The St. Petersburg Yacht Club celebrated its Centennial year in 2009 with commemorative t-shirts and trophies. Vehicle registrations were 262, spectator attendance was estimated at 3,000, and Commodore Rich Doyle and Mayor Rick Baker presented awards.
The 2010 show yielded 310 vehicles, over 3,500 spectators and featured a boat, built in 1879, from Melbourne, FL. Assisting Chairman Bill, Rick Brooks volunteered as Director of Judging. The contest still remains a “Clean & Shine, emphasis on originality, & People’s Choice” contest. Mayor Bill Foster presented the Mayor’s Choice award.
The 2011 SPYC Vintage Motor Classic again provided a complimentary Owners & Guests Welcome Reception on Saturday evening where, in the Bank Tower lobby, almost 400 guests were welcomed by cars, boats, motorcycles, a bar, a caterer, a silent auction, and live piano music! Sponsors making this possible were John Handel & Associates, Jake’s Auto Restorations, Bill & Mary Waters of Waters Wealth Management, and Crabby Bill's Restaurant.
Sunday morning, Director of Parking, Steve Peabody, coordinated the Field Crew and USF Wakeboard Team setting the field at 6 AM, and efficiently parked 292 vehicles for over 4,000 spectators. Vehicles attended from Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and South and North Carolina. ‘Cadillac DJ’ Gerry Cachia provided music from the 20’s & 30s, the SPCA adopted four dogs that day, and our Charity Funds raised $1,600 from t-shirt and raffle sales.
The 2012 Vintage Motor Classic was a success with over 300 vehicles and over 5,000 spectators. Unique to this event was the Tin Can Tourists, a vintage travel trailer owners club. Many trailers were pulled by same-year cars or trucks. ‘Cadillac DJ Gerry’ again provided music with his famous touch of nostalgia with 20s thru 50s music.
Mary’s Charity Funds donated $1,700 to the SPCA.
A beautiful day provided the 2013 show with a great setting, and the folks strolling the waterfront park inspecting the vehicles was picturesque. With over 5,000 attendees, this scene inspired the Mayor, when he bestowed the Mayor’s Choice award, to state “This event has become the place to be seen!” $1,500 was raised for Pet Pals Animal Shelter.
2014 featured a Marque, which was Jaguar, and received a very large turnout from the Florida Jaguar Club. Vintage boats also reached its highest number. For Pet Pals Animal Shelter the Charity Funds raised over $1,600.
The weather underscored the 2015 Vintage Motor Classic. We had an amazing number of show vehicles and spectators on a beautiful day, but without any warning, at 1:30 the skies opened up with a huge rain storm. Awards were given on the porch to a wet but enthusiastic group.
For an estimated 6,000 spectators, the 2016 show provided a beautiful day, one of the largest events with over 300 vehicles, and Lincoln/Continental as the feature Marque.
Mary’s Charity Funds raised over $1,800 for Pet Pals Animal Shelter.
After 15 years and another successful SPYC Vintage Motor Classic, Chairman Bill decided to retire from the Chairmanship position.
Taking over the Chairmanship position was Bill’s seven-year assistant, Rick Brooks.
The 2017 SPYC Vintage Motor Classic again provided 6,000 spectators another amazing 276 vehicle event. This was a leadership and volunteer transition year for the show, and with all its many details, was well executed and attendees never saw a skip in the heartbeat of the show under the leadership of Chairman Rick. $1,650 was raised for Pet Pals Animal Shelter.