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Mini Meet returns to celebrate auto history

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

An event that took place for 25 years in Connersville before taking a 20-year hiatus will make its way back this year.

Members of the international Auburn Cord Duesenberg Club are bringing a Mini Meet to Connersville May 10-12. 

The Auburn automobile company formed in Auburn, Indiana, and later in its history, opened a manufacturing plant in Connersville to add production. The factory on West 18th Street built many Auburns and Cords, but people in Auburn do not acknowledge Connersville’s role in the company’s history.

For 25 years, Jim Robinson, along with others who were once employees at the local Auburn plant, put together a Mini Meet to educate people about Connersville's role in the making of the Auburn and Cord.

"Many of the workers were nostalgic of the work they had done, so we started a meet," Robinson said. The first meet was in 1974. The annual event continued until 1999.

"We lost a lot of founders of the club and then not a lot of people wanted to come," Robinson said. 

Chris Friend, an ACD member, asked Robinson if he would want to start a Mini Meet again.

"We decided to start it again after 25 years to get people interested and to come and make friends, talk about cars and see the history of Connersville," Robinson said. 

The Mini Meet event will be over the weekend of May 10-12.

• 5 p.m. Friday, May 10, people who have been invited to bring their old cars will arrive in Connersville at the Woodridge Inn, 3700 Western Ave., and the public can come see the cars. After the car show, there will be a tour of downtown Connersville. The tour will stop at the Whitewater Valley Arts Association, 402 Central Ave., where participants can take part in the art exhibit. 

• Saturday, May 11, a tour of Connersville's most historic factories and a trip to Richmond to visit the Richmond Model T Museum. Jim Miller, whose grandfather raced a Duesenberg in the Indy 500 and who was one of the developers of front-wheel drive, will be a guest speaker at a dinner after the tour.

• Sunday, May 12, breakfast at the Fayette County Historical Museum, 200 W. 5th St. 

To participate in the all-day events for Saturday, there will be a $65 fee that includes the banquet. For anyone not wanting to take part in the tours but wants to come and listen to the speaker, the fee is $35. Registration is open  until April 22.

For more information and to register, email jrobinsn1947@gmail.com, or call Lea Ann or Jim Robinson at 765-825-9402.