The Professional Car Society, founded in 1976 to foster the preservation, restoration and appreciation of vintage ambulances, funeral hearses, flower cars, “first call” coaches, hearse/ambulance “combinations” and livery vehicles, has chosen its Illinois-based Illini Chapter to host the 1,100-member organization’s 2013 International Meet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from Tuesday-Saturday, August 20th-24th, with a bonus day of optional activities on Sunday, August 25th. The official “Beer, Brats & Bier” theme honors the Cream City’s largely-German gastronomic attractions, as well as the adjustable bier pins used to secure a casket inside a funeral coach, according to a news release.
Though this is the first time in the club’s 37-year history that America’s Dairyland has hosted a PCS International, Meet Chairman Patrick Martin declares it a “downright natural” destination, as “over 150 brands of automobiles dating back to the industry’s early days called Wisconsin home, with over 65 of those being based in Milwaukee. Kenosha was home to one of the greatest independent automakers, Nash, and its successor American Motors, renowned as the “Big Fourth” of the U.S. auto industry. The small town of Hartford gave the motoring public Kissel Kars, whose Gold Bug and White Eagle models were among the most-stylish and desired autos of The Roaring Twenties. Fatty Arbuckle, Al Jolson and Amelia Earhart were Kissel owners, and the firm also built hundreds of hearses and ambulances that were sold by traveling salesmen of the National Casket Company. Milwaukee, meanwhile, was home to the Seaman Body Corporation eventually purchased by Charles Nash, and is still home today to the A. O. Smith Company, whose mass-produced chassis frames helped Henry Ford build cars that anyone could afford.” This rich heritage is one reason why, Martin adds, “the Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours has become one of the country’s up-and-coming old car events in eight short years, and the main reason why we’ll be spending the last two days of our meet on their lakefront show field.”
The official host hotel for the 2013 PCS International Meet will be the newly-constructed Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport located at 6401 South 13th Street along the Interstate 94 corridor between Chicago and Milwaukee, which conveniently situates the action taking place there less than 10 miles from downtown Milwaukee and just three miles from Mitchell International Airport and the Amtrak terminal. “We’ll be the first old car event this hotel has hosted,” Patrick Martin says, but “they’ve already been successful in attracting convention business, and they’ve worked extremely hard with us to ensure a positive experience that will entice other car clubs to consider the Crowne Plaza when they come to Milwaukee.” Mentioning the PCS prior to July 21st, 2013 will secure a specially discounted, $89 nightly pre-tax group rate - good for up to two people two nights before-and-after the formal meet dates - to attendees reserving rooms at (414) 764-5300 (additional adults and children 18-and-under respectively cost another $20 and $10 nightly).
Following an August 20th “Early Bird” driving tour of the Milwaukee Fire Department Historical Collection with a subsequent lunch-or-snack stop at Leon’s Frozen Custard, the official 2013 PCS International Meet itinerary gets underway on Wednesday, August 21st with a “Welcome to Milwaukee” charter bus trip taking in the Miller Brewing Company, the Pabst Mansion and the magnificent vintage motorcycles at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Thursday, August 22nd is “Car Day,” touting visits to the Rambler Gallery at the Kenosha History Center and the Hartford-based Wisconsin Automotive Museum, sandwiched with an on-your-own lunch at the locally famous Brat Stop, while Friday has been designated “Culture Day” with stops at Forest Home Cemetery (which has an on-site museum dedicated to the notables interred there) and “The Domes” at the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory. Following a meal of Sauerbraten, Kasseler Rippchen, Weiner Schnitzel or Stuffed Portabella at Mader’s Authentic German Restaurant - a Milwaukee institution since 1902 - Patrick Martin plans to wrap up Friday’s tours with what he coyly calls “a surprise stop that’s sure to delight both kids and kids-at-heart that’s a little outside of the box and might include trains.”
The 2013 International Meet’s Official Show Day on Saturday, August 24th will find the Professional Car Society at Veterans Park on Lake Michigan’s shore-front for the Club Day exhibit at the Eighth Annual Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance. This appearance - which Patrick Martin emphasizes “will mark the first time a club has chosen this venue as the location of its national event” - will afford Milwaukee area old car enthusiasts a truly unique opportunity to admire the aesthetics and skilled workmanship of such ambulance and funeral coach body builders as Eureka, Flxible, Henney, Pinner, S&S, Miller-Meteor, Cotner-Bevington and Superior, and the squeamish need not shy away since the PCS strictly prohibits all displays of caskets, skeletons and other morbid decorations. “The Masterpiece’s organizers are most-enthusiastic about us holding our pro-car Concours in conjunction with their Club Day, because they share the Professional Car Society’s view of preserving or restoring a classic vehicle in its stock, as-built configuration,” Martin adds. “When the invitation-only portion of their event showcases the cream of the automotive art form on Sunday, August 25th, they plan on asking six to eight of our best entrants from Saturday to stage a return engagement in their own dedicated Professional Car Class.” Though PCS people are obviously encouraged to stay in Milwaukee the extra day for this unprecedented pro-car display amidst some of the Midwest’s finest classic automobiles (which is also, notably, within walking distance of the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Discovery World Children’s Museum), the 2013 International Meet’s formal schedule will conclude Saturday evening, August 24th with the awards banquet and the traditional “light and sound show” by the attending vehicles’ sirens and beacons in the Crowne Plaza’s parking lot.
A registration package for PCS Milwaukee 2013 can be requested from Patrick Martin by e-mailing email@example.com; phoning (847) 359-4945; or writing him at 918 West Colfax Street, Palatine, Illinois 60067. Applications for PCS membership, which costs $30 annually in the U.S., Canada & Mexico and $35 elsewhere, are available from Jeffrey Hookway at (973) 862-6047; firstname.lastname@example.org; or 64 Mudcut Rd., Lafayette, N.J. 07848-4607. An electronic application that can process PayPal also appears on the club’s official website.
Posted June 19, 2013