By Anna DeWine
XENIA — One Xenia man’s passions range from heart surgery — to racecar driving and aerobatic flying — to his wife and 7-year-old step-daughter.
And this week, like many weeks, Dr. Andy Manganaro has cars on his mind.
He’ll be taking his classic cars (four of the lot) to Dayton Concours d’Elegance this weekend. Expectations for the event include visiting old friends, seeing their cars, and showing his own cars, particularly to children.
“Anytime a kid comes up I put them in the car,” said Manganaro. “They sit in the car, pretend they’re driving. Who knows, one out of every 10 of those kids could grow up and want to play with cars.”
The Dayton Concours d’Elegance, touted as the “Midwest’s premier classic and antique automobile and motorcycle show,” invites select car and motorcycle showmen to Carillon Park in Dayton. Their historical vehicles must be at least 25 years old, preserved or restored to original condition, and have all components working in excellent condition.
Entries compete in a number of classes and are judged on cleanliness, originality, and beauty.
“The judges take everything into consideration,” Manganaro said.
The event will begin at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 18. Visitors will have the opportunity to look at rows of cars up-close, and enjoy food, live music, and historical demonstrations. Proceeds to the event will go to Dayton History.
While the Concours will host 200 cars, Manganaro’s lineup of four includes his white Alfa Romeo GTA, his black Ferrari GTB/4 (three-time platinum winner of the Ferrari Nationals), a Fiat (the only one in the world like it), and a Siata (bound for Italy’s Mille Miglia).
A Dayton heart surgeon for thirty years, Manganaro’s love for cars began before his love for medicine.
He bought his first car in college with his summer earnings, an Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider.
The car that he’s had all his life “still drives like a dream,” he claims.
After his first car, Manganaro was hooked. He started buying cars, the ones nobody wanted, because he loved them and he loved to drive them.
He still loves to drive his cars — all of them. He has one rule: “If I don’t like driving a car, I don’t keep it.”
He doesn’t just drive them to car shows, or to 1000-mile rallies across the country, though.
“I drive them around town. I drive them to the grocery store, to pick up the laundry, to visit my buddies,” he said.
But what makes a car “good” to drive is different for everybody, Manganaro continued.
“A. It has to be pretty. B. It has to be different. C. It has to be fun to drive. For some cars, that means it’s light and nimble. For others, it has to be powerful. But there’s a feeling about it — that’s different for everybody,” he said.
One sign of a car’s worth, or maybe just the driver’s love for it, happens outside of the driver’s seat.
“When you park it, and you’re walking away, if you don’t turn around at least once to look at it again, it’s probably not worth having,” Manganaro said.