Way back about 1980, I attended a model car show in Maumee, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo, called the 'N N L (National Nameless Luminaries) Nationals'. Organized and hosted by 'The Cleveland Automotive Modelers Society', the show took place on the same weekend as Canadian Thanksgiving, so I had an extra day to recover. The Saturday NNL show was run in conjunction with the two day Toledo Toy Show that was run by the late Herb Jackson. Herb seemed to think that supporting the model car hobby was as important as making money. He did both.
I was a member of 'Group 25 Model Car Builders Club' and we always brought out enough model cars to make the Americans envious. We brought out 'West Hill Chrysler', built by Ron Dixon, and awed the masses. We brought out a working 4 x 8 foot slot car track and wowed them again! To make sure we were there, Herb would give us as many passes as we needed and slip us a few bucks for gas money. Herb took care of us and the other modellers and we did not disappoint him or the show. Sadly, Herb passed away but the toy show continued on with a new owner, John Carlisle.
Group 25 often set up our 'West Hill Chrysler' display in the NNL room on Saturday to share with a few hundred modellers from all around the world as well as showing it on Sunday. People came from all across the U.S. and Canada as well as Australia and Europe.
I met so many great people at that show the first year that I had to go back again...and again...and again. The 'Cleveland Automotive Modelers Society ran the NNL Nationals every October for 40 years. The NNL was so popular that other groups started up their own versions all across the U.S. and Canada, What made the NNL type of show so popular was that it was not a competition but a show, a cruise-in for modellers. We showed our model cars and chatted with others who showed theirs. We traded ideas and techniques. We told stories. We made friends, many of whom I am still friends with today. The camaraderie was often said to be better than the model cars and there were some amazing model cars! When we weren't talking about our model cars, we were out shopping in the toy show area, looking at and buying model kits, parts, paints, books, a bit of everything. The model magazines often sent a photographer to record the event. A large number of people took their own photographs. I was one of those with a camera.
Sadly, 2019 was the last year for the NNL Nationals. The organizers saw it from a gathering in a garage to a large community center to spreading around the world. You can't get much better than that. As this would have been the weekend I would travel to Toledo, and surrounding areas, here are the links to my online photo-albums. I often stopped at a car museum or two on the way to Toledo and you will see those links, as well as in my NNL albums.
THANKS to THE CLEVELAND AUTOMOTIVE MODELERS SOCIETY for providing so many modelers from all around the world the opportunity to meet and share our hobby and make life long friends.
Just a short drive from Toledo is Auburn, Indiana, home of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum and other car museums.
The Crawford Collection Auto Museum is in Cleveland, Ohio, also a short drive from Toledo.
Wright Patterson Air Force Base has a great air museum and is only a couple of hours from Toledo.
...and now for the NNL Nationals...