Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing & Leeward Air Ranch, Ocala, FL.
Fall weather of sunny skies, a good breeze and moderately cool temperatures for Florida (in the 80’s) greeted the attendees at the FL VCOA & CFL VSA Fall Volvo meet hosted by Chuck and Gloria Ufkes at their home & hangar in the Leeward Air Ranch community. It is a unique community in which airplanes have the right of way and the garages house airplanes instead of automobiles.
Nineteen Volvo enthusiasts started the day at 9 a.m. with a two hour tour of the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, which is also home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and the site of the NHRA Southeast Division Hall of Fame Monument. The site features three buildings; the mechanic work shop, the drag racing museum and a third building chock full of antique automobiles and memorabilia.
Two hours is simply not enough time to fully view everything contained in the collection and I believe that another longer visit is in the future. Don “Big Daddy” Garlits is to be commended for the amount of drag racing history he has managed to accumulate as well as so many beautiful early American round fender automobiles. When you add in the engines, tools and other memorabilia, it is just too overwhelming to comprehend in one tour.
After the tour we invaded the local Cracker Barrel restaurant for a quick lunch before heading off to the Leeward Air Ranch. Getting there was a little confusing even for folks with GPS, but everyone finally arrived after taking a circuit of community to see the airplanes in the hangars.
The event attracted 31 Volvos and 65 enthusiasts from around the state with four attendees visiting the US from Sweden. The event featured door prizes, a cash raffle and awards.
The awards were a red hot affair with three of the four awards being won by red cars of various shades. The award for Best FWD/AWD Volvo was won by Dave & Angela Taylor of Venice in their red 2013 C30R.
Best RWD Volvo was won by Jim Duffey of Oldsmar in his deeper red 1965 1800.
Oldest Volvo was won by Charlie Pardee with his original Volvo red 1963 544.
The Longest Distanced Traveled In a Volvo award went to Jose Laboy of Cooper City driving his wife Susan’s 2012 S60 T5, the only non-red Volvo to win an award.
We had a great group of sponsors for the door prize drawing. We’d like to thank Robert Cardwell of the Florida Volvo Community, FCP Euro, VP Auto Parts, Rock Auto, Robert Scherman of the Swedish Volvo 140 Club (who was in attendance with his wife, Anna, and daughter Sofie, all the way from Sweden), Auto Clinic of Naples, Inc., VSA’s John Martin and VCOA member Chris Short. We had enough prizes so that every attendee went home with something and some folks took home more than one item. Lucky Louis Bouchelle was the winner of the cash raffle.
We’d like that thank Chuck and Gloria Ufkes for being our hosts at the Leeward Air Ranch, club members Chris Short (Registrar/Vote Tabulator), Dave Montgomery (VCOA Event Coordinator), Gay Montgomery (Cash Raffle Ticket Sales), Chris Smith (Event Artist), Tricia Rose (Museum Tour Coordinator), Clive Dowdell (Event PR-Web Services), John Martin (VSA Event Coordinator) and Robert Cardwell of FVC (Internet PR-Forums Postings).
It takes a team effort to plan and execute great events and our Florida enthusiasts from the various clubs and forums make it look easy. Great job all and we look forward to seeing everyone again at future events in the Sunshine State.
Submitted by: Tricia Rose. SW FL VCOA Chapter Coordinator