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By Mary Harrison, intern
An unparalleled automobile, recently sold by local collector Wayne Hadden to a prospective Cairo resident, will be the featured vehicle at a central Florida car show later this year.
The second annual Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance, French for “competition of elegance,” is slated to be held December 3-5, 2021, at the Tournament Players Club golf course in Tampa Bay, Florida.
It was announced in early May that Hadden’s 1921 Kenworthy 6-55 Touring car would be the centerpiece of the car show’s activities.
Hadden owns around 15 antique vehicles, found on display in his Cairo Antique Automobile Museum nestled behind Mr. Chick on U.S. 84. Among those was the Kenworthy, which friend and fellow antique car enthusiast Ed Prince bought from Hadden last month.
“I’ve always loved the car,” commented Prince, who now owns around 20 antique vehicles.
The collector said that he and his wife, Pam, met Wayne nearly 20 years ago at a car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and reconnected regularly through the Great Southern Antique Car Rally, held annually in Cairo.
Visiting for the rally is part of what inspired the couple to relocate from the Tampa area to the Hospitality City, a move they will complete in July.
The 6-55 Touring was sold new for nearly $5,000 dollars in 1921. Fifteen Ford Model-T autos, the everyman’s car at the time, could have been purchased with that same amount of money, Prince noted.
“That was serious money back then,” remarked Hadden, who acquired the car in 1996 after the death of a family friend.
“A car like this would probably have been driven by a chauffeur [because the family would have been wealthy].”
The enthusiasts believe that the vehicles’ price tag helps to explain their rarity. According to Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance organizer Brando Pistorius, only two cars manufactured by the Kenworthy Motor Company during its three years of operation, from 1920 to 1922, are known to still exist; the Cairo antique is the only one remaining of its model and year.
The Kenworthy retains all of its original parts, fully restored according to Hadden, and has several distinctive features, including a Rolls Royce-style radiator, individual step plates into the vehicle instead of the typical 1920s running board and a 6-cylinder, exclusively built engine.
Additional curios are the car’s bumpers, purchased as an accessory back in the early 20th century, and wire wheels imported from England. Many car wheels at the time were made of wood, the car collectors explained, making wire wheels both more durable and more expensive.
“This is an upscale car, something that you don’t see very often at every car show,” said Brando Pistorius, organizer of the Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance in Tampa Bay.
Pistorius explained that a 100-year-old car is selected to headline the weekend, which is why the Kenworthy, manufactured in 1921, was chosen for this December’s festivities. The organizer said that he knew of the vehicle because he visited Hadden’s antique car museum in Cairo several times.
Pistorius and his wife, Joanne, were with Hadden at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 2017 when the couple began dreaming of organizing a car show for Tampa, Joanne’s hometown. Two years later, the first Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance took place.
Prince says he plans to drive the car back to Tampa for the celebration, where he will escort the grand marshal, chief judge and other VIP guests in the Kenworthy during the show’s opening ceremonies on Friday, December 3, 2021.
“We do this [car show] for two reasons,” Pistorius explained. “One is for the car and motorcycle and unusual vehicle…. [And] secondly, we also generate money towards a charity.”
The Shriner’s Hospital for Children received funds from the 2019 Gasparilla Concours d’Elegance. While the event was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s beneficiary is Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance (FARA), a foundation for victims of a rare neuro-muscular disorder.
Mr. Pistorius invites participants to support all three of the weekend’s events, beginning with “Cars in the Park” on Friday evening, then a car show on Saturday and culminating with a car tour for all years, makes, and models on Sunday.
Grady County residents interested in attending the event or displaying their antique vehicle should register online at gasparillaconcoursdelegance.com by August or by contacting Joanne Pistorius at (853) 714-1019.