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Car Collector to Share Lifetime Passion at History of Transportation Festival


FISHERS, IN == Aug. 25, 2014: Greg Dawson has been a car guy all his life.

Songs on the radio in the 1950s about hot rods and going fast ignited a fire in him as a child. Streets filled with shiny modified roadsters surrounded him as a teenager and poured fuel on that fire.

"I didn't have any money back then but once something so powerful gets in your system, there's no turning back," he said.

In his early 30s, he bought a 1955 Jaguar convertible that admittedly he couldn't afford. Fast forward 20-some years, once he had time on his hands and money, Dawson became a serious car collector.

The Indianapolis man owns more than 30 concours-quality classics, including a 1931 Marmon four-door Sedan Convertible he bought with only 18,000 miles. Dawson worked for years to restore it and considers it his top acquisition, representing his high admiration for the once Indianapolis-headquartered Marmon Motor Car Co., its quest for creating new technology and higher speeds and its accomplishment as winner of the first Indianapolis 500.

"I'm happy to share what I have and what I've learned with people of all ages because it's important to preserve rare cars for posterity's sake," Dawson said. "I don't mind if anyone touches it. It's a petting zoo as far as I'm concerned. I tell people, 'Get in it. Have some fun. Start it up. It's OK because that's what it was made for.'"

Dawson's 1931 Marmon and several other rare classics will be joined by hundreds of other vintage machines, including steam engines, aircraft, military vehicles, rescue vehicles, watercraft and more Sept. 13-14 at the inaugural Festival of Machines at Conner Prairie, an 800-acre interactive history park in central Indiana.

Festival of Machines honors the work of featured collectors like Dawson and shines the spotlight on how curiosity, technology, human ingenuity and innovation have shaped the evolution of human transportation. The weekend event will also feature family-friendly activities, including pedal and Soap Box Derby car courses for young children, hay rides, food, games and more.

Indiana's history in motorsports will also be represented. Motorsports stars are scheduled to appear and a two-seat Dallara IndyCar will offer rides through a portion of Conner Prairie's grounds both days.

Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors age 65 and older and $10 for children ages 2-12. Conner Prairie members can attend free of charge. Conner Prairie is a Blue Star Museum, granting free admission to active military members and up to five family members.

Spanning 800 wooded acres in central Indiana, Conner Prairie is an interactive history park in Fishers, Ind., and welcomes more than 340,000 guests of all ages annually. Five outdoor, historically themed destinations and indoor experiential learning spaces combine history with science, technology, engineering and math and offer an authentic look into history that shapes society today.

Video - Greg Dawson