Hot Rod Lovers Unite: Jalopyrama Moves to Easton
The internationally acclaimed car show will benefit local Talbot charities.
By: Catherine Comer
Hot rod fans will have a chance to marvel at more than 200 custom cars when the 15th annual Jalopyrama comes to Easton, Md, on Saturday, April 27th. The show will feature 60 pre-1963 era invitation-only cars inside the Talbot Community Center, while additional cars set up outside.
This is the first year the event will be held in Talbot County. Jalopyrama is hosted by the East Coast Hot Rod Preservation Alliance and The Rusty Nuts Hot Rod Group and has grown in leaps and bounds over the last 14 years, starting as a much smaller show in the Armory in Glen Burnie, Md, in 2004.
Jalopyrama is the brainchild of Mike Szuba and is modeled after car shows held inside armories in the 1950s and '60s. Szuba is a lifelong hot rod guy, who spent his childhood building models, and began remodeling his first hot rod at 19-years-old.
The show started as a fundraiser for The Providence Center, raising money for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “I wanted to produce a traditional old school hot rod show, because that was a dream of mine. I’ve been a lifelong hot rod guy,” said Szuba. "My youngest brother had Down Syndrome, and my dad did a lot of fundraising for the Providence Center. When my father passed, all the fundraising went away with him. So In 2004, I picked up his torch and started to raise money."
This year, the show will benefit four local Talbot charities: The Arc Central Chesapeake Region, The Benedictine, The Mid-Shore Recovering Veterans Group, and Talbot Hospice. Each charity holds a special place in Szuba's heart.
"I want to help a local charity, one that has helped me and my family, and it's very important for me to give back to the community we are involved in," Szuba said. "I can't believe the support we've received from Talbot County, and I want to make sure that what we're doing really impacts the community that is being so generous to us. Over the past 14 years, we've raised about $170,000 for charity."
A trend he hopes to see continue.
Tickets are $10 per person (children under 12, active duty military, and law enforcement are free), and offers visitors the opportunity to view cars that look as they would have decades ago, including cars as from Indiana, Michigan, and California. "I think attendees will really be blown away by the cars, we have some really spectacular ones coming in from all over the country," said Szuba. "I personally invite the cars we have inside, and we try not to repeat the same cars year after year."
Szuba thinks visitors will love the panel jam, to take place in the afternoon. Six pin-stripers set up their easels and choose a paint color. From there they start a design and then move on to the next panel when the whistle blows. Each pinstriper adds their own design and color, and when finished all six panels will be auctioned off.
Jalopy, is a term from the ‘50s used to refer to an older car. Following World War II, there was a large population of young men coming back from the war with a lot of bravado and mechanical skills. And from there the hotrod movement took off. Szuba can hardly believe how the show has grown over the years. When they started 15 years ago, Jalopyrama was the first show of its kind, and now owns its own genre within the car community.
"When we first started, I just had no idea. It’s just been amazing that it created so much enthusiasm and interest worldwide," said Szuba. “It’s been in magazines all over the world. I’ve talked to people in Spain, and Australia, and Canada. It just blew my mind. I still get goosebumps.” And the best part for Szuba is that all proceeds benefit a good cause.