Bill Schroeder and Joe Cole share a fondness for both classic cars and their communities.
They’re bringing those passions together this year to present an inaugural event: Saratoga Nationals Expo at the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa.
Last year they hosted a car show at Wilton Mall that raised money for the Regional Food bank of Northeastern New York. They’ve also helped Pastor Charlie Muller in Albany with some of his inner-city initiatives. Now they’ve outgrown the space at the mall and wanted to provide a bigger, more centrally located venue.
Saratoga Nationals will be held on Saturday, April 28, and Sunday, April 29, and will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Tickets for adults are $5 and children under 12 get in free. Registration to participate in the car show is $10. Cars from 1900 -1970 will be on display Saturday and model years from 1971-2012 will be on display Sunday.
Proceeds from the event will be given to Make-a-Wish Foundation, and that amount will also be matched.
The show will serve as a resource for area businesses as well as car enthusiasts, collectors and hobbyists. Family oriented events like go-kart races, a bounce house and a variety of food vendors will also be on hand, as will a mobile wood-fired pizza oven.
But most of all, the two days will center on family fun for a good cause.
“I got to know the Make-a-Wish people on a personal level. They’re wonderful, wonderful people, they’re believers like we are and they do a great job giving their hearts to help these kids. It’s awesome,” said Cole.
Cole, owner of Cole’s Collision, sponsored a 7-year-old-child with Leukemia this past March through his business and was able to send the child and his entire family to Disney World.
“That was the coolest thing we ever did,” said Cole.
Schroeder said, “We’ll also be having a 50/50 raffle on both days and that revenue will also be given to Make-a-Wish.”
Both men know a lot about organizing car shows and restoring automobiles. Schoroeder, is now retired, but at 14 he decided to restore a 1957 Ford. He bought it for $15 and it took him two years, but he got the car running and made a profit of $85.
Cole has built three cars in the past. Both agree that it’s a lengthy process but it’s the love of doing the work that got them involved. Much like organizing car shows.
Vendors at this weekend’s event will include parts suppliers, restoration services, specialty items and even apparel for hot rods and motorcycles. There will also be two car appraisers at the show available for those enthusiasts who want to know the value of their vehicles.
Folks who are showing their cars for the two days will be coming to the fairgrounds from about a 20-mile radius and some cars will be for sale running anywhere from $15,000 to $100,000.
“There’s a point where you can restore a car to try to keep its value. If it was a really rare car, a numbers car where everything matches … that can be a high dollar car, people can restore it and try to get their money back, but there’s also a passion level with these cars that’s huge and you’ll typically see $50,000 to $60,000 put into a $35,000 car,” said Cole.
The most popular models for restoration include cars from the ‘60sbecause they’re “still doable” and some models from the ‘50s. Once you start getting into parts for cars older than that, Cole said, the parts are “harder and harder to come by and the cars themselves are almost impossible to find.”
A unique draw to the show will be Rat Rods, according to Schroeder. These are cars that have been painted flat black and are more or less restored “junkyard cars.”
“It’s a new facet to the car shows, they really catch your eye,” said Schroeder.
Schroeder, has been organizing car shows for the past several years through capitolcarshows.com
Cole battled a hip disease as a child and has been involved with Make-a-Wish for several years.
“It touched my heart when I saw these kids struggling and I’ve decided to have (Make a Wish) be one of the main charities I give to,” said Cole who also hopes to be an ambassador for the foundation.
The pair hopes to hold the event next year as well and make it an annual event. For more information on the show, visit saratoganationals.net