Auto-oriented Getaway in Colorado

If you want to collect truisms, here are a couple: “Accordion players wear rings” and “Rich guys buy a lot of cars.” Now we’re not sure if the annual Gateway Canyons Classic Auto Fest will offer a chance to sample some accordion playing (we can only hope so), but we know for a fact it will offer a unique look at one rich guy’s car collection. Held for the sixth time at Gateway Canyons, the boutique resort and premier adventure outfitter located on the western slope of Colorado, the event will begin on May 7 and will showcase the personal collection of John Hendricks, who founded the Discovery Channel. Very conveniently, the collection is housed at the Gateway Colorado Auto Museum, and it is valued at over $10 million. Every year, the Auto Fest draws hundreds of vintage-automobile aficionados who come to appreciate classic American-made cars, display their own collectibles and enjoy a day or a weekend at Gateway Canyons.

Since one of the resort’s major attractions is the auto museum, with its inventory of pristine classic cars arranged in a timeline that spans 100 years of automotive history, car hobbyists like to come for a visit. The Colorado Corvette Club will be visiting this week, and the Wild West Racers Cobra Club from California will gather at Gateway Canyons in May.

Visitors to this year’s Auto Fest will be treated to a glance at three vehicles that were recently added to the Hendricks collection at the museum: a 1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu SS (sic), a 1934 Ford Cabriolet and a 1931 Stutz. Each of these American beauties has a story: The ’65 Chevrolet is one of only 201 built; the ’34 Cabriolet was the top-choice getaway car for notorious bank robber John Dillinger, and the ’31 Stutz boasts a DV32 inline eight-cylinder engine that sports 32 valves.

Other Auto Fest highlights will include 23 Best of Class categories, with awards in each category. Classic and antique cars from the early 1900s through the 1970s will be on display, as will American special-interest cars that include Camaros, Corvettes and Mustangs. Hot rods, muscle cars and pickup trucks will round out the exhibition. Awards will also be given for Best of Show, Best of Marque, Gateway Auto Museum Choice, Partner’s Choice and People’s Choice, but there will be no Miss Congeniality … at least not officially.

The Gateway Canyons Classic Auto Fest is a benefit for the Mesa County Partners program, and tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 years old and younger. Gateway Canyons is located one hour southwest of Grand Junction on Colorado Scenic and Historic Byway 141.

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