International Auto Meet highlights classic cars across U.S. and Canada

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jul 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-08 13:33:51-04

The parking lot at the Best Western Plus Heritage Inn in Great Falls gleamed on Saturday as more than 100 cars from classics to modern roadsters were on display for the Show and Shine Car Show.

The show is a part of the 57th International Auto Meet, which rotates between 10 cities in the United States and Canada every year.

According to John Rummel, chair of the International Antique Auto Tour, the event allows people to get together, enjoy the camaraderie, and tour a new area.

"We’re all interested in old cars and most of us have been all of our lives," Rummel said. "It’s nice to get together to see everybody again and to go to the other cities and let them show us some hospitality and show us what they have to offer."

The meet, which began on Thursday, included a tour of Fort Benton, a visit to the Mehmke Steam Museum, and an ice cream social at the Heisler Chevrolet Collection.

108 cars and 220 people participated including Great Falls resident Harry Mitchell, who owns a 1918 White Motor Company truck.

"It’s all original except the rubber tires and electric starter," Mitchell said. "The electric starter made all the difference in the world."

Mitchell’s mother purchased the truck for him in 1947 from a miner who worked in the Big Ox Mine in Marysville, which is about 20 miles northwest of Helena. 

The two men have been the only owners of the 100-year-old truck. 

"The only time I drive it is for parades and functions like this," Mitchell said. "It’s never been left outside."

The truck’s headlights use acetylene gas and require a match to light although Mitchell said he never drives the truck at night.

"Very few vehicles of any kind are still original after 100 years," Mitchell said.

Several other classics joined the centennial truck including Model Ts, Chevy Caprices, Ford Mustangs, and an MGB. Rummel drove a 1953 Ford Convertible for the event.

"You always see new and different things and people bring exciting cars to see," Rummel said. "There’s a 1952 Nash Healey here that is a real rare car. You don’t see many of those so it’s fun to see new and exciting things."

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