Rob Myers, Chatham-Kent’s automotive legend, is encouraging classic car chaos in Chatham June 21 and 22.
Myers, the main force behind RM/Sotheby’s, wants to see thousands of classic cars converge on the downtown core on the third weekend in June to celebrate the 40th anniversary of RM/Sotheby’s and take part in RetroFest.
He encourages anyone who owns a classic car to take part, and for the rest of us to strap in for a full weekend of fun.
“Fill your house with guests and we’ll provide some entertainment,” he said. “Lots of cars, celebrities and unusual pieces. Just have fun.”
That entertainment includes the Sam Roberts Band and some priceless automotive art pieces.
Meghan McGrail, director of public relations for RM/Sotheby’s, said 2019 marks four decades in the collector car business for RM, which began as a two-man operation out of Myers’ garage.
Myers said today RM/Sotheby’s is the world largest classic car auction house.
Organizers of RetroFest, the annual classic car weekend, shifted back into June from their normal end-of-May timing to link arms with the RM/Sotheby’s festivities.
Fannie Vavoulis, chair of the 40th anniversary event, said she appreciated how willing the RetroFest folks were to move their weekend.
Connie Beneteau of the Historic Downtown Chatham BIA and a key RetroFest organizer said it was a no brainer to link up with the RM/Sotheby’s event.
“It’s an opportunity you can’t ignore,” she said of the large-scale event.
She also credited organizers of the annual Blenheim Classics Auto Show with helping to make it happen. That show was to have taken place June 22, but it will instead shift to RetroFest’s traditional weekend of May 25.
What will occur June 21-22 as a result is a tag-team effort of sorts overloading the downtown core with activities.
Vavoulis said the Friday night, June 21, will kick off with a parade of select collector vehicles in the downtown, followed by the Kent Historic Auto Club’s Cruise event.
And Sam Roberts will follow that with a performance in Tecumseh Park. It’s a ticketed event, and all proceeds will go to the Foundation of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance.
The RetroFest car show takes centre stage Saturday in the downtown, along with activities in Tecumseh Park for the family.
RM’s museum and restoration shop will be open for tours that day as well.
There will also be a special display area in downtown Chatham, which will feature some of RM/Sotheby’s more unique collector vehicles, and more.
Myers, chairman and CEO of RM/Sotheby’s, said it will be memorable.
“I’m going to put my arm around some of my friends,” he said, to encourage them to showcase some of their special pieces in their vehicle collections. “Some of the cars that will be on display, you will never see again. These are automotive pieces of art.”
Some of the pieces RM/Sotheby’s will put on display include multiple Batmobiles and the Flintstones car. Plus, Myers has something different planned – two life-size mechanical elephants.
He said they are from the 1940 World’s Fair and should draw attention as they walk down the street.
The display area will be a ticketed venue as well, with proceeds going to the Children’s Treatment Centre of Chatham-Kent.
And on the Saturday night, there will be a concert in the Chatham Capitol Theatre. RM/Sotheby’s personnel refuse to divulge the band, but advise people to pay attention to their website, rmsothebys.com/40years, for details when they become available.
Proceed from that event will go to the Chatham-Kent Hospice.
Myers said his hotel, Retro Suites, will be blocked off for the weekend to host the special events participants, as he hopes to have some high-profile friends come to town.
It’s Myers’ goal to have classic cars on display to the point they are overflowing the downtown core, and that traffic is congested with people flocking here to have a look and take part in the fun.
“I like chaotic. It’s fun. You’ve got to have stuff going on everywhere,” he said.
Myers said RM/Sotheby’s will also bring celebrity judges for the RetroFest show and will provide cash prizes as well.
Mayor Darrin Canniff said Myers’ desire for a big blowout bash in the downtown core is infectious.
“Rob thinks big and he’s humble. We’re going to be talking about this for the next 40 years,” he said of the June 21-22 event. “I’m confident we’ll have more people in downtown Chatham than ever before.”
Myers said he couldn’t imagine the 40th anniversary celebrations taking place anywhere but here.
“I’m a true believer in this area. We have 20-30 of the finest craftsmen in the world working here for us,” he said. “It’s all about the people who work with you.”
With that in mind, Myers said the event will offer RM/Sotheby’s staff, more than 100 of whom work here, a chance to celebrate their years of hard work.
“This will let our folks enjoy the fruits of their labour,” he said.
Myers is no stranger to supporting local charities. Funds raised during the 25th anniversary event helped build the Chatham Skate Park on Grand Avenue West, he said.
And this time around, the three targeted charities just make sense for Myers.
He said he visited the Chatham-Kent Hospice when a friend spent his final days there and was impressed with the compassion inside the facility.
“What a wonderful place,” he said.
As for the Children’s Treatment Centre, Myers said he’s long been a supporter of youth, and is impressed by the reach of the centre to help so many kids.
“They do great things there. My wife and I are going to donate to the Children’s Treatment Centre too and help get the new one built,” he said.
The CKHA will benefit two-fold from RM/Sotheby’s events. There is the Sam Roberts Band concert during the 40th anniversary event, and Myers added he’s encouraging some high profile friends to donate items for a special auction at an event in Monterrey, Calif., with the funds raised returning here to support the CKHA.
My family and I have had the pleasure of doing business with Rob Myers at many of the properties He owns in this area . I have the greatest admiration and respect for Rob, his family, and for their generosity with donations and investments they make within our community. Rob has not only committed to the beautification of our downtown core, he has also been an immense advocate for the children and youth in our community.
I personally believe Rob and his family deserve an award of appreciation from Chatham Kent expressing our thanks for all They’ve done and continue to do .
We Are looking forward to this year’s event which will prove memorable for everyone that attends !
Special thanks for sharing all of this with everyone!
James and Karen Carey