30 Years of IMOA Show Preview

The 2020 annual IMOA show in the greater Denver area is shaping up to be one of the best ever.

Early registration is up over previous years, with more than 30 cars already registered for the June 24-28 show that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the IMOA club.

The dates include visits to the Clive Cussler Auto Museum, Coors Brewery and Colorado Railroad Museum. Attendees can also take part in the All-Ford Car Show and Picnic on Sunday, June 28, in Golden, Colo.

Of course, there is also the beautiful mountain scenery in the area.

The host hotel is the Marriott Hotel in Westminster, Colo., which will also be the site of the actual IMOA car show on Saturday, June 27.

Registration forms for the IMOA show are here: IMOA Show Registration

The registration form for the Sunday All-Ford Show is here: 2020-All-Ford-Show-Registration

This preview focuses on the Clive Cussler Auto Museum in Arvada, Colo.

Cussler is the multi-million selling author of a series of books, with the most famous featuring Dirk Pitt, marine engineer, government agent and adventurer.

Cussler was born in Aurora, Ill. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, achieving the rank of sergeant and working as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service.

After his discharge from the military, Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation’s most successful advertising agencies.

He began writing in 1965, with the Pitt novels catching on with a format of sunken ships, lost treasures, exotic locations, dastardly villains and vintage cars. The latest is “Celtic Empire,” released in 2019.

Two of his novels, “Raise the Titanic” and “Sahara,” were made into films. The first starred Richard Jordan, Jason Robards and Alec Guinness, and the second Matthew McConaughey, Penelope Cruz and William Macy.

As an underwater explorer, Cussler has discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and has written non-fiction books about his findings. He is also the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (numa.net), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs Dirk Pitt.

Important finds by NUMA include The Carpathia, the ship famed for being the first to come to the aid of Titanic survivors; The Manassas, the first ironclad of the Civil War; and the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to successfully sink an enemy vessel, back during the Civil War.

Cussler established the Cussler Museum (cusslermuseum.com) in Arvada, Colo., dedicated to the preservation of rare and vintage automobiles from 1906 to 1965.

As Cussler recounts on the museum website, “Living in Southern California during the 1940s and building a hot rod out of a 1936 Ford Sedan, I fancifully developed a love of old classic cars. I bought a black 1925 Auburn limousine for $18 that my buddies and I drove to football games, dressing like gangsters, and carrying beer and wine past the security guards hidden in a violin case.

“I recall finding a magnificent old 1915 Renault taxi cab in the back of a garage and begging my Dad to loan me the $80 for the owner who wanted to sell it. My Dad thought I was crazy and refused to loan me the money. In another instance, I tried to buy a beautiful Pierce Arrow Limousine, but the owner wanted more than I could afford and took it out to his ranch, where he cut off the rear end and used the magnificent old car as a pickup truck, an occurrence that was quite common in the old days.

“Years later, when driving through the Colorado countryside, my wife, Barbara, said, ‘Look! There’s a 1946 Ford club coupe like I had in high school.’ The car was sitting in the front of a farm with a For Sale sign on it. I paid $400 for it and drove it home, where my son and I restored it in the street. This was the first car of my collection. It still sits among the more exceptional additions that came through the years.

“After the Dirk Pitt books became bestsellers, I could afford to buy the more exotic examples of classic autos. I purchased a 1955 Rolls Royce that my wife liked because it was new the year we were married. Then came a 1926 Hispano Suiza cabriolet that I bought at my first classic car auction after I had three martinis.

“As more cars were added, I had to buy a warehouse. One side holds the classics, while the other displays 1950s convertibles.

“When I was saddened by not being able to buy the beautiful Pierce Arrow and saving it from mutilation, I never dreamed that one day I would own more than 100 exotic cars just like it, and saved 50 of them by having them restored to the condition they were in when sitting on the dealership floor.

“Someday they’ll be looked upon as mechanical masterworks of art and receive the admiration that is given to the Van Goghs and Rembrandts.”