Javelins, Ramblers, Pacers, Gremlins and many other hometown classics will take over local streets this week.
The AMC Kenosha Homecoming celebrates the centennial of Nash Motors, with six days of festivities including cruise nights, swap meets, drag racing, an ice cream social, a parade and two auto shows.
A car show and block party will take place at the Kenosha History Center, 220 51st Place, from 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, and a car show and swap meet will be held in Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Ave., from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Classic car enthusiasts from all over the world are expected to attend the event, hosted every three years in Kenosha, according to Kenosha History Center Executive Director Chris Allen.
“This has turned into one of the biggest AMC, Nash and Jeffery car shows in the whole country,” Allen said. “We call it Kenosha Homecoming because that’s exactly what it is. It’s bringing the cars back to where it all started.”
Allen said area hotels have been booked for months.
“A few years ago we had people come all the way from Australia,” Allen said. “We have people driving in from California, Florida, the upper Northeast. We have a big contingent coming from Alberta, Canada. We’ve gotten a tremendous response from people all around the world. There’s a huge AMC following.”
Started in 1902
In 1902, Thomas Jeffery produced the second mass-assembly automobile, the Rambler, in Kenosha. It arrived one year after Oldsmobile and a year ahead of Ford. Jeffery’s factory evolved into Nash Motors in 1916, American Motors Corp. in 1954 and was acquired by Chrysler in 1987.
The last Jeffery-badged automobile and the first Nash Model 671 rolled off a Kenosha assembly line in 1917.
“When these old cars come back to town, it’s very nostalgic for the people that worked in the factory and also the people who didn’t work in the factory,” Allen said. “This was a Motors town. It’s synonymous with that.”
The homecoming began in 1999. One of the event’s best turnouts came in 2002 for Jeffery’s centennial celebration.
Automobile historian and lecturer T.W. Wheary, the grandson of Charles Nash, will speak at Friday’s ice cream social at Nash Elementary, 6801 99th Ave., and will make an appearance later that night at the History Center.
If you go
What: AMC Kenosha Homecoming
When: Tuesday through Sunday
Schedule of events:
Tuesday: Cruise Night at Wendy’s, 3811 75th St., 4 p.m.
Wednesday: Cruise Night at UAW Local 72, 3615 Washington Road, 2 p.m.; Cruise Night at Andy’s Drive-in, 2929 Roosevelt Road, 4 p.m.; AMC Night at Great Lakes Dragaway, 18411 First St., Paris, 5 p.m.
Thursday: Cruise Night at Mason’s, 7000 74th Place, 4 p.m.; Cruise Night at McDonald’s, 6630 Washington Ave. in Racine, 4 p.m.
Friday: Swap meet at Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Ave., 8 a.m.; Gremlins at Jeffery Elementary, 4011 87th St., 10 a.m.; ice cream social at Nash Elementary, 6801 99th Ave., 1 to 3 p.m.; AMC Parade on 60th Street, 4 p.m.; car show at Kenosha History Center, 220 51st Place, 4 p.m.
Saturday: Car show and swap meet at Kennedy Park, 4051 Fifth Ave., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sunday: AMC racing at Great Lakes Dragaway, 18411 First St.