Mother nature whizzed though Lansing’s 21st annual classic auto show, pouring down heavy rain and wind Saturday afternoon, but car owners stood their ground. A little rain wasn’t going to ruin an event full of classic cars, trophies and as Lansing local Mario Ledesma would say, “a great time.”
In its first year as Car Capitol Auto Show, formerly known as Car Capitol Celebration, an estimated 300 cars were in attendance with a professional judge staff selecting the winning cars. Executive Director of R.E. Olds Transportation Museum Bill Adcock said the show is a great event for anyone in the state who loves cars.
“You get a lot (of) nicer classic cars than what you’d normally get,” Adcock said. “Anybody is welcome, cars come in from all over the state of Michigan, not just Lansing cars or neighboring towns.”
The event had a $30 preregistration date fee and a $35 fee for those who elected to register on Saturday, Adcock said.
Saturday morning, Mario Ledesma, 64, brought out his white-and-blue-striped 1964 Ford Fairlane Coupe along with his family and friends to enjoy two of his favorite things in life — people and cars.
Mario Ledesma didn’t have to make a long trip to the event. He was born and raised in East Lansing before moving to Lansing with his wife Sue Ledesma. In the late 1970s until the mid-1980s, he worked as a construction worker at MSU, where he often repaired broken seats in Spartan Stadium.
Adcock said many of the participants travel from across the country, unlike Mario Ledesma, helping boost sales for local hotels as well.
Ever since Mario Ledesma retired, he has been fulfilling his passion for cars, traveling the country to car shows. As a child, Mario Ledesma was always impressed by cars, but especially had an eye out for the Ford Fairlane Sports Coupes.
“I always liked the body as a kid,” Mario Ledesma said. “It’s cloned after a Ford Thunderbolt, and Ford only made about 110 of those. The real ones are expensive; they cost about $300,000 and I can’t afford that.”
According to Fred Thorne, his brother-in-law, Mario Ledesma’s flashy car has made him a completely different person.
“Before he got this car, he was a homeboy.” Thorne said. “He always stayed in the house and would rarely leave. He got this and it completely changed his life.”
In Mario Ledesma’s free time, he enjoys riding all over the United States to different car shows with his grandson. In only three years of owning the coupe, Ledesma has managed to bring home around 15-20 winning trophies.
“I’d love if he kept this car forever.” said Mario Ledesma III, grandson of Mario Ledesma. “I drive with him all the time and it gets a lot of attention. Earlier on the way here this guy was trying to race us on a motorcycle.”