2016 Event Wrap-up


PPG Syracuse Nationals continues to draw record crowds, campers and cars.

The 17th annual PPG Syracuse Nationals, presented by your local Ford store, drew nearly 90,000 people, more than 550 campers and more than 8,000 classic cars from 34 states and six Canadian provinces to the New York State Fairgrounds July 15-17. The event raised $92,000 for charity, increasing the total amount of charitable donations to more than $1 million over the past 17 years.

More than $72,000 was raised from items auctioned during the 10th anniversary of “Artie’s Party,” a pinstripers’ panel jam of artists who worked almost around the clock to paint original designs on items from vehicle panels to skateboards and stop signs. The proceeds from the auction benefited Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York, a nonprofit organization in Syracuse that serves as a “home away from home” for families whose children are hospitalized with serious illnesses or injuries.

The seventh annual Winfield Award presented by Meguiar’s Car Care Products and its $10,000 prize went to Rob Ida for his work on a 1940 Mercury owned by Jack Kiely. In true Syracuse Nationals fashion, the winning team donated its prize money to charities, including the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The Winfield Award for automotive excellence, named for master car customizer and builder Gene Winfield, is presented to the top car of the Select Six in the “Million Dollar Garage.”

“This was a very special year for us,” said Bob O’Connor, PPG Syracuse Nationals founder and director. “Giving back has always been a priority for the Syracuse Nationals, especially to the Central New York community that allows us to host this great event. Hitting the $1 million dollar milestone is a tremendous accomplishment, and we owe a great deal of thanks to our volunteers and attendees as well as to Governor Cuomo, County Executive, Joanie Mahoney and Acting Director of the NYS Fair Troy Waffner for getting the Fairgrounds ready for the Nationals and their continued support. These donations are making a real impact, and with that in mind, we need to shift gears and start thinking about reaching $2 million!”

This year’s event featured the fourth annual “Backyard Build-Off at Ol’ Skool Roundup,” sponsored by Kammer Towing, in which five builders were allowed a $5,000 spending limit to build a car. The winner was a 1946 Dodge pickup truck built by Corey Kolz. Other entertainment included Gasoline Alley with more than 40 vintage race cars on display: American Muscle Sunday with specialty American-made performance vehicles newer than 1981: over 400 automotive vendors and 12 bands and disc jockeys performing throughout the weekend. Celebrity appearances included Brett “Big Schwag” Wagner from the hit television shows “Monster Garage” on Discovery and “Pass Time” on SPEED, and the cast of “Shift and Steer,” including host Brad Fanshaw.

Throughout the week leading up to the PPG Syracuse Nationals and during the event, volunteers from the Central New York Car Club Association worked to make the event run smoothly. The association helped raise $20,000 for its local charities of choice, including the Syracuse Lions Club, Rotary Club and the Knights of Columbus.

The PPG Syracuse Nationals, which started as an idea in the summer of 1999, has grown each year since its record-setting debut in July 2000, when more than 4,300 vehicles filled the facility. The Nationals is now one of the largest automobile shows in the country, featuring street rods and custom, classic, muscle and antique cars.

Next year’s show is scheduled for July 14-16, 2017, at the Fairgrounds.