by John Neuenburg
After a 13-year break, the annual Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) convention came back to California with 241 vehicles to an indoor and outdoor venue that seemed to be enjoyed by everybody. The Military Vehicle Collectors of California (MVCC) produced the 1999 show at the fairgrounds in San Jose, the 2003 show at the USS Hornet Museum, and this one was at the large Alameda County Fairgrounds just over the hill from the San Francisco Bay Area proper.
The idea behind this venue was to provide a variety of display and vendor opportunities inside and around the four rented buildings,from shady lanes to an open paved area to a lawn area called Camp Grizzly (after the bear on the California flag) which was for displays that included military tents.
A dizzying variety of MVs showed up, highlighted by nine tanks if one assumes a M19A1 twin 40mm gun carriage is a “tank.” Tanks have never been common at California events. This is amazing considering the MVCC’s annual Spring swap meet is the largest annual MV meet west of the Mississippi and attracts people and MVs from many states.
But, between super-collector Joe Garbarino, Lee Edwards, and newcomer Glen Ghilotti, the heavies showed up. In fact, eight of them would not have made it but for the awesome effort put out by Glen and his two drivers from Team Ghilotti Construction in Petaluma, CA.
Joe Garbarino decided to up the ante by also bringing his Ward LaFrance M1A1 wrecker, Fiat TM-48 artillery tractor, and oh, by the way, a lowly Bantam BRC-40 prototype jeep!
Another large grouping came from Herman Rowland’s new American Armory Museum in Fairfield, CA. Manager Geoff Lippman used several of their military tractor-trailer rigs to bring a great display. Dave Wang from Armytrucks, Inc., a MV rental business, made the long trip from Southern California to create a nice “Desert Storm” grouping.
But seeing armor or large displays by individuals are not the only reasons why people enjoy MVPA International Conventions. It’s about the opportunity to see something rare, examine many examples of the same vehicle type for comparison, have a vehicle judged according to a standard, and maybe the most important thing, speak with like-minded restorers and collectors. Oh and buy parts! Vendors attended from as far as Australia and reports from them were excellent.
One great advantage to having an outdoor display component at a convention is it allows the possibility of engine demonstrations. The 1943 Higgins LCVP landing craft and OH-6 “Loach” helicopter were regularly started up. Late arriving jeeps and trucks in motion early each day delighted spectators as they were moved into position by careful ground guides. under the supervision of Vehicle Committee Chairman Dan McCluskey.
This event was not only about MVs and vendors. Offsite excursions included a bus trip on Thursday to Wente Vinyards for wine tasting. Friday featured a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco with options to tour the WWII USS Pampanito submarine, SS Jeremiah O’Brien Liberty Ship, and/or take a Bay Cruise. On Saturday there was a trip to tour the USS Hornet aircraft carrier museum.
The “Ladies of the MVCC” were active as they are at the annual events at Tower Park. Their info tables in the vendor building gave them a place to talk about regional events from the female perspective, and included a nice display of vintage aprons.
Nancy Porter and Janine McCluskey hosted a seminar on Thursday called “Home Front Efforts During World War II” focusing on food rationing and recipes common in the 1940s. Friday was “Rosie the Riveter Day” commemorating womens’ efforts as war-workers during that time. “Rosie” bandanas were for sale at their table so women could emulate the famous morale poster of the era. Friday was also about vintage clothing, hair styles, and makeup, thanks to Nancy Hoskins and Kyla Metzker.
On Friday evening, right after the perimeter was locked up, a dinner was held in the building used for meetings and seminars. The food was great and good times were had by all. Following dinner, the annual MVPA auction caused pocketbooks to open to purchase items rounded up by Auction Committee Chairman Mike Rinehart’s crew.
On Saturday night, nearly 300 attended the Awards Banquet and Presentations at the host hotel, the Doubletree Pleasanton. Carole Parma’s Dinner Committee did a great job organizing both events including decorating the tables.
Will it be another 13 years before the next convention in California? We hope not!
John Neuenburg and Dave Ball were Co-Chairmen of the MVCC Convention Committee composed of over 50 volunteers. Dave is President and Newsletter Editor of the MVCC (thelargest U.S. MVPA affiliate since the 1970s). John is a past Vice President and is the Activities Coordinator for the Camp Delta at Tower Park Resort events. Information about the Military Vehicle Collectors of California is at www.MVCCNews.net.
2016 MVPA International ConventionAwards and Distinctions
Motor Pool Ready Class
- 1918 Pool Mfg. Mark XIV Mod 2 Deck Gun,
- 1944 Willys MBT, Mike Rinehart
- 1942 Autocar M2A1, Tom Gunther
- 1943 Cadillac M5A1, Lee Edwards
- 1945 Ford GPW, Kris Weber
- 1941 Dodge WC-40, Mike Rinehart
- 1942 White M3A1 Scout Car, Peter Fraser
- 1943 Highland 1-ton Trailer, James Bertao
- 1972 AM General M151A2, Brad Carrott
- 1945 Willys MB, Carole Parma
- 1944 Dodge WC-51, Lee Hoskins
- 1944 GMC CCKW, Lee Hoskins
- 1942 BSA Airborne Bicycle, John Neuenburg
- 1979 Mercedes-Benz 280 Geländewagen,
- 1944 Trussbilt M3A4 Hand Cart, Lucas Pfuhl
- 1943 White M2 Half-Track, Tim Sutter
- 1941 Bantam BRC-40, Helen Sauer
- 1944 BSA Bicycle, Barry Welsh
- 1943 Willys MT-Tug, Robert Schoen
- 1944 Willys MB, Sean Ayers
- 1978 AM General M151A2, Louis Bircheff
- 1953 Dodge M37, Robert Meredith
- 1939 CMP Ford, Don Gordon & Katrinka Simpson
Jacques Littlefield 2016 Award: Estrella Warbirds Museum, Paso Robles, California. Herman Pfauter received the award behalf of the museum which now houses much of Herman’s collection of WWII trucks.
MVPA Bart Vanderveen
Distinguished Service Award: David Cadorette
Affiliate Group Newsletter Editor Award:
Ian Young, editor of Windscreen
INDUCTED INTO VEHICLE HALL OF FAME
- 1941 WC-6 Dodge Command Car, Joe Hall
- 1942 GMC CCKW K53D Weather Station,
OREGON AWARD OF EXCELLENCE
M5A1 Stuart Light Tank, Lee Edwards
Hagerty Youth Judging Program
- 1st Place: Sean Nichols,
1942 International FFN-3 Crash Truck
- 2nd place: Janine McCluskey,
1964 Dodge M43 Ambulance
- 3rd Place: John Neuenburg,
1942 Ford GPW Special Air Service
BEST OVERALL DISPLAY
British WWII Desert Special Forces
JUDGES CHOICE AWARD & BEST VEHICLE AWARD
Troop Train, Don Wadley and Chris Thomas
Honor Roll: Terry Johns, Cary Simpson
Pioneer Award: Phil Nelson, Rene Rovai
Safe Driver Award: Sean Carrigan,
34 points on Harley-Davidson WLA