Paul Mennett’s Cruisin’ N.E. Hits the Road

CAR GURU: NESN’s Paul Mennett is at home amidst many of his guests’ collections. His own garage is filled with automotive memorabilia.
CAR GURU: NESN’s Paul Mennett is at home amidst many of his guests’ collections. His own garage is filled with automotive memorabilia.
KATI MENNETT

Next Saturday, some 72 lucky automotive and memorabilia fans will join Paul Mennett on his Second Magical Mystery Cruise.

The cruise is an outgrowth of Mennett’s successful “Cruisin’ New England” television show that’s finishing up its seventh season on NESN.

If you’ve missed the show, NESN is planning a “Cruisin’ New England” marathon next Sunday, June 8, from 12:30-5:30 p.m.

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The participants are folks who signed up on the CruisinNewEngland.com website back in February. They’ll visit three of the collections featured on this year’s shows.

Why only 72?

“Over the years, I’ve produced some big events,” says Mennett, “but when we came up with this idea, bigger wasn’t better because space was limited.

“These people already were generous enough to open their garages, barns, and collections for our cameras,” he says. “Now they’re allowing some of our viewers to come back. Out of respect for our hosts, we’ve kept the number small.”

The tour will start on the South Shore where visitors will enjoy breakfast and see both President Lyndon Johnson’s limousine and a Cadillac that earned the name “The Godfather Car” by having a role in that movie.

“We’ll have breakfast at our first stop, lunch at the second, and dessert at the third,” promises Mennett, “but the whole day will be a feast of great cars and stunning memorabilia.”

The second stop, he hints, is the domain of a collector who has four buildings filled with automotive memorabilia and antiques, including an old-school gambling casino.

After that, it’s off to Rhode Island and a visit with a close friend of Jay Leno who has a stunning collection, including marques such as Duesenberg and Pierce Arrow.

Mennett, however, has a giant personality and it’s hard for him to keep things on a small scale.

When the Shriners inquired if he’d be interested in doing a TV show featuring their miniature cars, the discussions resulted in a fundraiser and hospital benefit show scheduled for July 26 in West Springfield. “It’s a tremendous honor to be involved,” he says.

“We’ve now got the Shriners’ miniature cars coming in from all over the Northeast,” he says. “I’m expecting 70 to 100 of them.

“We’re going to have a mini-parade with them open to the public,” he says. “We’re also having cars from our Circle of Champions participating.”

Naturally, Cruisin’ New England’s cameras will be there, too.

“We’ll definitely be filming and interviewing,” Mennett says. “It’ll be one of our shows for next season.”

Summer is when Mennett begins filming future shows.

“Next year, we’ll be having our 100th anniversary show,” he says. “We’ll be doing follow-up pieces on some of our memorable shows over the years.”

The 100th show also will provide the answer to a question that a number of fans have asked Mennett.

On this year’s “Concourse de Barnyard” show, Mennett got to taste his host’s renowned turkey soup on air. He had a big slurp from the ladle that was in the pot and seemed to be returning the ladle to the pot as the camera cut away.

“Everyone wants to know if I really put the ladle back in the pot,” says Mennett. “They’ll find out in the anniversary show.”

Meanwhile, the show’s eighth season shapes up with some interesting topics.

“We’ll be going to Vermont for the first time and doing two shows, one on Lt. Governor Phil Scott, who has been a successful stock car racer for 20 years, and the other on a collection that includes every style of Corvette.”

Other upcoming shows will include features from this summer’s 57th annual Pierce Arrow national meet in Warwick, RI, and a behind-the-scenes visit with the owner-restorer of a multi-million dollar collection of vintage motorcycles.

Mennett’s live show season concludes each year with the Super Wheels Showdown on Boston’s City Hall Plaza (Oct. 4) and the 21st annual Spooktacular Cruise n’ Classic show Sunday, Oct. 12, at Memorial Field in Whitman to benefit the town’s DARE program.

Etc.

If you’re up early today, June 1, and looking for a car show, there are plenty around. Marlboro has its 6th annual Main Street show (9 a.m.-2 p.m.) and Peabody is holding the first of what it hopes to make an annual downtown event from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.. The folks at the auction company Adesa in Framingham (63 Western Ave.) have their 14th Classic Car & Motorcycle Run to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research (9 a.m.-3 p.m.) … Today also is Antique Day at Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) for vehicles more than 25 years old. It is sponsored by the Bean Pot Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. Next Sunday, the museum has its annual Corvette Day sponsored by the New England Region of the National Corvette Restorers Society.