It’s not the most obvious place to hold a premium car show,  but’s it’s still fantastic. New Bern, North Carolina, was the location of last weekend’s sensational AACA Grand National, which I’m telling you is the flat-out best gathering of historic vehicles you’ll ever see, anywhere. More than 500 ultimate restored and unrestored examples were on hand to receive their Grand National certifications as the AACA’s very best. The quality was stunning. Plus, it’s free to attend.

The show cars occupied several streets in New Bern’s hugely historic downtown area. New Bern began as a Swiss settlement, and was North Carolina’s first official capital. It’s beautifully located along the Neuse River, near both the Pamlico Sound and the opening to the Atlantic. While the show vehicles ran the gamut from minibikes to full-size diesel trucks, here’s just a couple of cars. Bet you’ve never seen anything like the first one. It’s a 1933 Continental Beacon, nearly the last hurrah of what had originally been the De Vaux of Grand Rapids, Michigan, before Continental gave up on producing cars and stuck to engines. Certified as First Preservation, this Beacon belongs to Otis T. Smith of Graham, North Carolina, one of maybe 3,400 such cars built.

Then there was this. In 1959, Chrysler produced a grand total of 444 New Yorker station wagons in the six-passenger configuration and 564 with three seats for nine passengers. This mind-blowing, restored example of a rare 1959 Chrysler New Yorker wagon – the only one I’ve ever seen – got a Senior Grand National certification for its owner, Edward A. Dauer of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.