Say the word "Oktoberfest" and most people immediately think of beer, bratwurst and oompah bands. But National Parts Depot's All-GM Oktoberfest isn't about these things (though you could purchase an adult beverage and all kinds of delicious food at the Silver Springs nature theme park where the event was held). No, this one-day event is about a celebration of all things General Motors, from pre-war classics to your favorite Chevrolets to impressive engineering feats such as the front-wheel-drive '66 Olds Toronado.
National Parts Depot, one of the largest purveyors of restoration parts and accessories of classic GM vehicles, is a company made up of hard-core car enthusiasts and this was the fifth year of the event. It's held in an idyllic setting. As its name implies, its build around the Silver Springs, which are artesian wells that supply drinking water to millions of people. The water is 99.8 percent pure and in the past the site was used for filming the TV show Sea Hunt and well as two James Bond films and parts of Smokey & The Badit. Today, the park has areas where you can get up close and personal with indigenous snakes, birds, and alligators. There are even a couple of crocodiles for comparison's sake. Add in attractions such as glass-bottom boats to check out the natural springs, a kids petting zoo, and more, and the show is a natural for complete family fun.
The show also incorporated a cruise to Cedar Key from NPD's main warehouse in Ocala on Friday morning, October 1st. Participants started gathering around 8 am, After a short trip up Interstate 75, cruisers exited and then traveled back roads through Ocala's horse farm country at easy driving speeds on the way to scenic Cedar Key. The trip takes about 90 minutes each way, and when arriving in Cedar Key participants can eat lunch, peruse the shops or enjoy the views of this small fishing community before returning to Ocala. Once back in Ocala, the opportunity to tour/browse NPD's extensive private car and truck collection was not to be missed.
The first 500 cars to pre-registered by September 27 received free entry into the park for car, driver and one passenger. Any entry registering after September 27th, the day of show or beyond the 500-car threshold could purchase a show package for a reduced rate.
There were 560 vehicles in attendance, including 38-count 'em 38-Chevy SSR trucks. That's the most we've ever seen in one place. The Marion County Corvette Club also had a massive turnout, with everything from a '54 custom to a '67 L-88 to a 2011 Grand Sport coupe.
It didn't matter if your car was a stocker of a highly modified custom. There was a place for it at the NPD show.