“When you think of Oldsmobile, you think of your grandfather’s old boat,” said David Consoli, a member of the board of directors for the OCA. “But really, the engineering aspect of Oldsmobile, from the early days up to 2004, made them pioneers in the automotive industry.”
Consoli said the Oldsmobile brand has lead to major automotive innovations such as the assembly line, automatic transmission, air conditioning, navigation systems and air bags. Though Oldsmobiles are no longer in production, the OCA has wrangled 6,000 members in the continental United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, according to Consoli.
The biggest challenge facing the OCA is the need to integrate new, younger members into their non-profit organization.
“The Oldsmobile tradition has been passed down from generation to generation and now our core group of members are aging,” Consoli said. “We’re trying to attract the younger generation to carry on the legacy.”
Tedd Thompson is a member of the northern California chapter of the OCA and he brought his 1955 Oldsmobile Super 88 convertible to be judged in the show competition. Thompson traveled from Forest Ranch, Calif., and he has won two Best in Show competitions exclusive to Oldsmobiles in northern California.
“We have a minority with Oldsmobiles,” Thompson said. “You can go to a major car show and maybe see only four or five Oldsmobiles.”
He noted that this weekend’s event is the biggest Oldsmobile showing he has ever been in.
“The competition is so much steeper here,” Thompson said. “(In California) I was competing against cars that I would not call restored.”
He feels that a win of any sort this weekend would be a great honor.
The judging process consists of a team of OCA judges closely inspecting each car for its originality and restoration, according to Thompson. Points are deducted from each car’s 1,000-point total to determine its overall scoring.
According to Consoli, cars can be marked down for having tires that do not correlate to the era of their vehicles year of manufacture and also for having inconsistencies like scratches, dents, engine malfunctions and more.
“Only the best of the best receive the Best of Class awards,” Consoli said. The winners will be announced this evening in the Banquet Hall of the Grand Sierra Resort.
Though the two-day event is a competition, Consoli, 43, and Thompson, 63, recognized the ability of the event to bring friends and family together.
“This is probably 15 percent about getting an award and 85 percent social,” Thompson said. “There are so many nice cars here that not everybody is going to win an award.”
“A lot of our members will use this event as their vacation,” Consoli said. “It’s nice to see some of the younger members, in their 30s and 40s, who will bring their spouses and children and this will be their family vacation.”
Consoli added that the OCA also sponsors activities for members and their families to enjoy outside of the showing lot. These include visits to Lake Tahoe and Virginia City, as well as a ladies’ luncheon for women looking to socialize while the men tend to their cars before judging.
Consoli said the Oldsmobile brand became versatile in the 1970s and 1980s, offering more luxurious cars with plenty of space. He feels that with the efforts of the OCA, the Oldsmobile name will continue to inspire collectors whose passion lies in restoring the cars their family has owned throughout the years.
“My grandfather drove an Oldsmobile, my father only drove Oldsmobiles and now I have two young boys that are getting into restoring muscle cars with me,” Consoli said. “There’s something for everybody under this brand. If we don’t carry on the legacy, no one is going to for the next generation.”