Indiana’s automotive history comes to life each summer
Indiana has a long and storied automotive history, so it’s no wonder some of the state’s best-known events involve automobiles. From the annual Indianapolis 500 auto race in May to the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival in September, there’s plenty to see and do in the Hoosier State this summer. Here are our Top 10 Indiana Auto Events, listed by date:
Mecum Auctions Indy Spring Classic
May 17-22, Indianapolis
Over 2,000 cars and hundreds of automobilia items are expected to be offered at this six-day auction. Buyers and enthusiasts don’t have to worry about the weather, as the event is held in five connected buildings at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis.
Spring Swap Meet
May 20-21, Indianapolis
Indiana's largest spring meet is held at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, the weekend before the Indy 500. The mostly outdoor swap meet includes a great car corral, antique and contemporary auto parts, collector cars and auto-related collectibles and literature.
May 29, Indianapolis
Held over Memorial Day weekend each year since 1911, the Indianapolis 500 celebrates its 100th Anniversary in 2011. Arguably the world’s best-known automobile race, a century of thrills has earned it the nickname “The greatest spectacle in racing.” Indy is full of legends and traditions, so no trip to the storied track is complete without a visit to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Want to experience Indy but not a fan of open-wheel racing? NASCAR holds its own version of the great race, the Brickyard 400, on July 31.
Road Rocket Rumble
June 23-25, Indianapolis
Hot rods take center stage at the 12th annual Road Rocket Rumble, a pre-1965 traditional hot rod and custom show hosted by Indy’s Road Rockets Car Club. In addition to hundreds of hot rods, the three-day event includes movies, seminars, vendors and live entertainment. Organizers say, “It’s not a car show, it's a party.”
Aug. 27-29, Evansville
One of the fastest growing street rod events in Indiana, Frog Follies is low cost and a ton of fun. Held at the Vanderburgh County 4-H Center in Evansville, the event – now in its 33rd year – averages over 4,000 street rods and has had entries from every state except Hawaii.
Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival
Sept. 1-5, Auburn
The city of Auburn, Ind., calls itself “The Classic Car Capital of the World,” and each Labor Day weekend it’s hard to argue. Five days of auctions, events and tours make up the popular Auburn Cord Duesenberg Festival, which includes a parade of vehicles through downtown Auburn. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the event.
Sept. 10, Carmel
One of the only concours held in Indiana, the Carmel Artomobilia is a celebration of the art and design of the automobile. From historic Ford Model As to late model Lamborghinis, it marries the beauty of classic, vintage, exotic and rare car collections with artists inspired by automotive design.
James Dean Festival
Sept. 22-25, Fairmount
Every September, James Dean fans converge on his hometown of Fairmount to show their affection for the Hollywood icon. The event includes a four-day remembrance celebration with live music and free showing of Dean’s films, as well as the James Dean Run car cruise. And we couldn’t mention the James Dean Festival without talking about…
Sept. 22-25, Gas City
Less than 10 miles away from Fairmount, the Ducktail run includes nearly 3,000 pre-1972 cars, many that cruise back and forth between the two towns. There’s also a swap meet and dirt track races. If you love hot rods and customs, this is a can’t-miss event.
Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb
Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Newport
The Newport Antique Auto Hill Climb is big. How big? Each fall, more than 100,000 people converge on the small town of 600 to watch automobiles, trucks and motorcycles from all eras – steam, brass, vintage, antique and classic – race up a steep hill to the finish line 1,800 feet away. Among all auto events in Indiana, the Hill Climb is second in size only to those at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
For a comprehensive list of Indiana classic car events, visit