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The Straight Eights Annual Beach Ball invitational was again held over the third weekend of September, with several attendees arriving as early as Wednesday. Turnout was strong.We understand that word spread last fall that Beach Ball's new venues and activities reinvigorated the experience, and even though many members had been to the Grand Invitational in nearby Cumberland, MD just three months earlier, Beach Ballregistration was still over 10% higher than last year, with 105+ attendees. We appreciate that so many chose to participate.

Participants came from many states nationwide, with the longest distance traveled by Morgan Von Rueden who again flew in from Seattle, WA, and longest distances for cars that were shown driven by Jerry Townsend and Tobey Nichols from Parkersburg, west, west, WEST WV in a sleek 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC, and several came from New York:Mike Weiss from Manhattan with his always perfectly detailed 2000 Chevy Camaro SS, Patrick Fogarty drove from West Bayshore in his hot 1966 Dodge Charger, Wade Jacobsand Jeff Sanford arrived from Mineola in the stunning 1957 Nash Ambassador, and David Kycia and Michael Francioni traveled from Kings Park in a to-die-for 1968 Pontiac Executive Safari wagon. We were also pleased to see some first-time attendees, and some others who returned to Beach Ball after being absent for a few years.

Our event lineup included some repeat venues from last year, including the Hyatt Place Dewey Beach as host hotel, the car show at Bethany Beach, Saturday lunch at Mango’s, and the awards banquet at the Rusty Rudder. But we also mixed things up a bit on Thursday and Friday to give people new experiences.

Thursday evening was our casual meet and greet at Aqua Grill in Rehoboth Beach. The large outdoor deck with pub tables is a longtime favorite within our circle andprovided a great setting. Several chose to stay there for dinner. We lined a significant portion of the street with our attractive cars, including some of the Beach Ball debuts such as Ken Smith’s 1965 Thunderbird, Lou Vecchioni’slight sand and woodgrain 1980 Mercury Zephyr Villager (parked in “Doris Day’s spot”), Jim Byers’Mood Indigo 1971 Plymouth Sport Fury, and Wade Jacob’stwo-tone Black & Mardi Gras Red 1957 Nash Ambassador. We thank Aqua for great service and the 20% discounts! Beach Ball participants like to be in and around Rehoboth Beach, so we hope to continue having some activities in that area.

On Friday morning, we assembled a caravan of over 35 cars at the Hyatt and drove to Daisey’s Used Cars, just north of Georgetown, DE. Founded in 1991 by Charles Daisey, this dealership has an array of used foreign and domestic cars (including several well-worn former fleet cars), but they always have at least a smattering of interesting and collectible vehicles. It also features an entertaining showroom with a collection of vintage signage, juke boxes, vending machines, bicycles, etc. There is also a life-sized diorama of a retro diner, replete with period-dressed mannequins representing service station staff and celebrity likenesses of Marilyn Monroe, Willie Nelson, Elvis Presley, and others. Cars for sale included a ’64 Ford Galaxie, ’64 Chevy Impala SS, ’55 Pontiac Star Chief, and a ’64 Plymouth Fury III.

From Daisey’s, the caravan continued to our lunch spot, the opulent Club House at Baywood Greens, in Long Neck, DE. We visited the this spot a couple years ago, and several attendees had requested we return. The grounds and restaurant are very eye catching and provided us with a relaxing atmosphere. After a full lunch, the grand circular drive and water fountains out front were a perfect spot for car photos as participants assembled for the drive back to the hotel.

After a couple hours of respite, the gang re-assembled for the next outing: Sunset on the waterfront at the tropical-themed Paradise Grill, located on Pot-Nets Cove, off Indian River Bay. This was a real treat as thisbayfront locationis a great spot to have abeverage and watch the sun sink behind the opposite shore. As greeter Bill Teaney pointed out to arrivers, “You are no longer in Delaware, you are in a tropical paradise.” We were al fresco on the sand, surrounded by palm trees and bamboo, and a 270-degree view of the water and surrounding areas. The bartenders were friendly and fast, the hot buffet was hearty and generous, and finally the home-made ice cream dessert from a local family owned and run dairy farm was reminiscent of last year's event at Mike Tyre's home.

After sunset, we repositioned our cars along the marina bulkhead to form a taillight afterglow collection that stretched from cruisers of the 1950s and 1960s to electric cars that drove off the dealers' lots just this year. People who got to the parking lot early got to see Roger Bentley’s 1939 LaSalle convertible that Don Hibbard drove from MD to DE (alas, the car got a bit of the vapors the next morning and couldn’t attend the car show). We mingled in the parking lot for a good bit, enjoying each other’s cars, until it was finally time to head back to town.

Saturday was our main event: The car show at Bethany Beach. This small town again welcomed us with open arms,and reserved the main strip in the center of town for our use. The Bethany Beach Police again deserves our praise for their professionalism, friendly, and organized supportive presence during the show.

The inimitable Tony Paolinitook the reigns as our head parking valet, tirelessly directing cars into their parking spots, exhibiting the style and grace of only the best combination of drill sergeant, stand-up comedian, and air-raid siren you can imagine. Tony always gets the job done (no matter what the job!), and some of our attendees on the receiving end got the side benefit of an adrenaline boost from the auditory experience (“Your OTHER left, Mary!!”).

We have much increased visibility and public participation during the car show at this location, especially with the Peoples’ Choice ballots that we hand out. The public was genuinely enthused and really got into voting for their favorite car! There was lots of interaction between our participants and the public, and it provided car owners with that extra bit of rewarding feeling when receiving compliments on their cherished rides from a mass of gawking strangers. Voting was tough, because so many wonderful cars turned out for the show.

Our car show luncheon was held at Mango’s, an Atlantic Ocean-front restaurant with seductive views from picture-size dining room windows overlooking the boardwalk, sandy beaches and rippling ocean waters. Service was friendly and prompt with a satisfying meal. The meal time chatter was lively, and attendees table-hopped to catch up with dear friends, during endless car talk. After lunch, it was back to the streets with the car show in full swing.

There was a bit more interaction amongst the truly impressive cars, before our high-spirited Bethany Beach car show concluded (on schedule) at 3:00 PM. Localpolice officers assisted by stopping all traffic as locals joyfully watched (some with applause) as all show cars executed an impressive, graceful, synchronized egress from Bethany Beach. From there it was a short drive up Coastal Highway back to Dewey Beach and our host hotel, where we grabbed a little R&R before the awards banquet later that evening.

Stunning California-style weathercontinued during happy hour and lite hors d’ oeuvres on the outdoor waterfront deck of the Rusty Rudder restaurant. The deck was packed as we conversed with old and new friends,listened to the live band, and watched the lazy Delaware sunset reflecting off of the rippling marina waters below.

After the social, we moved from the deck to the bi-level private dining room for ourawards banquet. Feeding this crowd takes some time, so Straight Eights President Lou took the opportunity to entertain the crowdby awarding some of the door prizes. After our meal was served, Lou and VP Bill Teaney took on the good-natured heckling from the crowd as the awards presentation began. Bill announced the awards while Lou handed them out and posed with the winners for photos and smiles all around.

Among the many winners, our good friends from the Empire Region walked away with 3 awards this year!  And they were truly deserved, as the Empire boys ALWAYS show up with stunning cars each year.

Our evening concluded a little after 9:30 pm, and some were ready for sleep, while others decided to get in some night life. A few stayed on site at the Rusty Rudder or congregated at the hotel lounge, but other daring young souls headed over to their favorite stomping grounds in Rehoboth Beach, 8 minutes away.

On Sunday morning, almost everyone made it to the farewell breakfast, and the board was grateful for a huge number of surveys that were turned in. Lou, Bill and the rest of the board heard a lot of praise about the weekend, along with welcomed helpful suggestions. We got great feedback on the Surveys! Suggestions are duly noted for next year’s Beach Ball.

Alas, the weekend was over, and throughout the morning and rest of the day most of us were making our way homeward. This is a bittersweet time, recalling the fun times over the weekend during the drive back, and wishing we didn’t have to get back to life’s daily grind.

The Straight Eights board has some thanks to express. First, special recognition is deserved by Tony Paolini and Mike Tyre for their assistance to a few who had mechanical issues. It’s heartening to see people selflessly laying on the parking garage floor (Tony in a Tiara, we suspect) and showing up with tools and supplies without hesitation to fix another members’ limping car. If there was ever a place to break down that weekend, this was the place to do it considering the knowledge and generosity of other members. 

We also thank everyone who attended and contributed to the good time. We especially appreciate those who registered for both Beach Ball and either Yankee’s P-Town or Michiana Dunes’ Saugatuck events. We know that back-to-back events can be stressful on our personal lives, bank accounts, and drivetrains! ¬†Once we coordinate with other regions to eliminate or minimize 2020 calendar conflicts, we will announce the dates and schedule for next year’s invitational.

Beach Ball 2019 Car Show winning cars and owners:

  1. Best in Show: Jon Worthington, 1962 Imperial Convertible
  2. Favorite GM: John Strachan, 1987 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
  3. Favorite FoMoCo: Mike Cull and Joel Shotwell, 1961 Ford Thunderbird Convertible
  4. Favorite MoPar: Patrick Fogerty, 1966 Dodge Charger
  5. Favorite Import: Jeffrey Bonacci and David Porterfield’s 1968 MG B
  6. Favorite US Independent: Wade Jacobs and Jeff Sanford, 1957 Nash Ambassador
  7. Favorite Sports/Exotic: Jim and Gerry Erickson-Nepomuceno, 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray
  8. Favorite Truck/Utility/ Wagon: David Kycia and Michael Francioni, 1968 Pontiac Executive Safari
  9. Favorite Unusual or Rare: Robert Heimerl, 1980 Rover 3500 SD1
  10. Outstanding Original: Michael Moore and Ryan Cleland, 1965 Mercury Park Lane Breezeway
  11. Remarkable Restoration: Michael Shaffer and Ben Wilson, 1926 Chrysler Phaeton
  12. Modern Delight: Doug Hoefle and Daniel Hupkowicz, 2019 Buick Regal TourX
  13. People’s Choice: Daniel Murray and Eason Tang, 1960 Chevrolet Corvette  
  14. President’s Choice: Tony Paolini and Chuck McMenamin, 1955 Lincoln Capri
  15. Board Choice: Jim Byers, 1971 Plymouth Sport Fury

Almost 700 pictures of Beach Ball can be found here:









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