The "NNL Founders Present the 40th NNL Anniversary Celebration" took place in Toledo, Ohio on the Friday evening before the NNL Nats #40, and on the Saturday evening after the NNL Nats concluded that afternoon; October 11 and 12, 2019.
The events were conceptualized, produced, and mc'ed by NNL Founder and 1977 MPC Grand National Champion Chuck Helppie. Chuck wanted us to celebrate the last-ever NNL Nationals with a couple of complimentary events that harkened back to why the NNL began in the first place.
Friday night's activities centered around a dinner and presentation/series of on-stage interviews with several figures from the formative years of our hobby, including 1965 Revell/Testors National Champion Rich Morgan, and Denny Johnson, creator of the "Zingers" concept that kitmaker MPC turned into a winning product line. (Several other key figures in our hobby's history were invited but unable to attend due to health issues). Subsequent interviewees included NNL Founding Father Tom Woodruff and the current leaders of several of the other major NNL Events across the United States. Further insight came from Tim Slezak, who eventually became one of the key judges in the MPC National Customzing Contest than ran from 1969 through 1979. Tim sent a letter to be shared with the attendees, as did GSL International Model Car Championship and Convention and International Model Car Builder's Museum head honco Mark Gustavson) as well.
Each speaker received a beautiful "Ring of Honor" desk plaque. Those attending left with a better understanding of how the NNL began as a NON-COMPETITIVE gathering where the country's best model car builders could gather to enjoy their hobby and build friendships that would, and will, last for a lifetime...
Saturday night's event was set up like the original NNL events in a hotel conference room, with tables for the participants to show their own models and see those of the others. It featured the largest ever gathering of model car magazine cover cars dating back as far as nearly 60 years, and a display of some of the most significant modeling treasures from the International Model Car Builder's Museum in Sandy, Utah. Another highlight was a table of 1949-current Mercury cars, revisiting the original "Merc Deuce Reunion" theme that was so successful at NNL #2 in October, 1981. Many of the best known model car builders of the last four decades were present that evening. It was great to renew so many friendships and catch up with the activities of each other. Not to mention, have a chance to see first hand some of the most significant model cars ever in our hobby.
On behalf of the participants, I'd like to publicly thank Chuck Helppie, along with fellow NNL Founders Tom and Karen Woodruff and west coast modeling legend Pryor Passorino, for his and their efforts to put on two nights of pure model car related enjoyment and friendship that we'll all remember for the rest of our lives. ( If you would like to know more about how this event was developed, visit the following Facebook page.... https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Sports---Recreation/NNL-Founders-Present-the-NNL-40th-Anniversary-Celebration-288074061863099/ )
The pictures at the link below start off with the Friday night activities, followed by the Saturday night events. Have fun looking and enjoying, and remember that NNL's far and wide are all about model cars and having fun for sure, but even more importantly, the friendships that develop from them. Also of note, well-known modeler and photographer Doug Whyte, and his wife and son, were on hand at both evening events with a professional video team, and they will be producing a summary of the key events. Be watching for it, and enjoy all the pictures in the album below.