NEWBURYPORT — A selection of exotic supercars will join antique and classic automobiles to take over downtown as the 10th annual Cruisin’ The ’50s Car Show rolls on Thursday.
Presented by the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry and Arthur S. Page Insurance, the auto show will feature between 250 and 275 classic cars displayed along State Street, Inn Street and in the Bullnose of Market Street and the municipal car park Harris are parked street.
Wes Pettengill has been curating car shows for three decades and said most of the show cars are from the 1940s to the 1960s — a few from the early 1970s — but a cluster of modern supercars like Lamborghinis, McLarens and Maseratis will be in the lot Parked by the Institution for Savings on Prospect Street.
“We’re talking about all the high-end $200,000+ supercars that have been out there in the last five years and we have room for about a dozen,” Pettengill said.
More than 20 antique imports will be found on Inn Street, while three high-end cars are also expected to be on display in Market Street’s bullnose.
Billy D and the Rockits will play in the car park behind Newburyport Bank from 5:30pm to 7:30pm and live music is also expected at Market Street Bullnose.
The car show is by invitation only and Pettengill is known to be a good curator.
“Newburyport is unique in that there’s no other show in the area that does this by invitation only,” he said.
The free car show runs between 5pm and 8pm, while show cars are expected to roll into the city center at 3pm
“The best place in the house is the market place when they drive in. We like to call it ‘rolling art’. They check in on State Street and it’s really a car show in itself because you see every single car that enters the show,” Pettengill said.
The antique automobiles at the auto show will also feature a full spectrum of colors, which Pettengill said you don’t see in today’s automobiles.
“There’s a lot of paint, chrome and fins. Most of today’s cars are either white, gray or black. If you look at some of the show cars, you’ll see pastels, salmon, and pink. There’s turquoise and all shades of the rainbow can be seen in the show cars,” he said.
The Cruisin’ The ’50s Car Show started in 2012 with just 90 cars, but according to Pettengill, most downtown restaurants ran out of food that night.
“They just couldn’t keep up with the demand and that has never happened again,” he said.
The annual auto show had grown, bringing between 12,000 and 16,000 visitors downtown each year prior to COVID-19, a number that Pettengill said represents the largest annual attendance for a single event in the city.
“I’m not talking about a week-long event like Yankee Homecoming, but this is the largest crowd in Newburyport in a single day,” he said.
Erin Duggan, the chamber of commerce’s director of marketing and events, said the auto show should prove to be a boon for local businesses.
“Our restaurants tell us this is the best night of the year,” she said.
The Amesbury Carriage Museum is also expected to have a presence at the auto show, and Pettengill said car owners interested in being invited to the show can call him at 978-465-3140.
The auto show also has a rainy date for the following Thursday, August 18th.
For more information, visit: https://business.newburyportchamber.org/events/details/cruisin-the-50s-car-show-2022-85715.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan reports on Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.