The indoor car show season always manages to bring a big level of excitement to town with all of the bright lights, creative displays, and amazing assemblages of horsepower guaranteed to shake the rafters. Now imagine just what it takes to fill one of the Top 10 largest convention centers in the world. The I-X Center in Cleveland did just that recently while hosting The Summit Racing Equipment 48th Annual I-X Piston Powered Auto-Rama by filling 1 million square feet of its main floor with everything piston powered you could imagine.

The I-X Center itself dates back to 1942 where it was initially built and owned by the Department of Defense to manufacture B-29 bombers for World War II. The plant was operated by General Motors and commonly known as the Cleveland Bomber Plant, employing 15,000 workers in its day. As the years passed it would again assist in the Korean War effort where in the '50s it was dubbed the Cleveland Tank Plant where tanks were manufactured for the Army. As the decades passed the building was sold and it evolved into the I-X Center.

Upon entering the venue a very unique and special offering began to unfold right before your eyes. From every visible point you were able to catch glimpses of everything from hot rods and customs to a restored B-25 bomber and a Sherman Tank, commercial trucks, tractors, restos, muscle cars, and yes even a washing machine. Getting settled in and exploring the massive confines was a snap especially since many of the vehicles were creatively arranged together to make enjoying them simple. There were groupings of antique construction equipment that brought back memories of when you were a youngster watching old backhoes working on a job site and an extra-large display of military vehicles, including a '44 Autocar M16A1 half-track and even a '55 T-28B Trojan pilot trainer.

The centerpiece of the venue was a full-sized Ferris wheel, which was so big the roof of the I-X Center had to be opened up to have a clear dome installed to accommodate it, thus giving riders a full view of the outside when they crested the top. There was plenty of entertainment for the children as well with special areas, including a gravel pit filled with kid-sized construction vehicles to The All American Soap Box Derby, allowing youngsters the chance to pilot real Soap Box Derby cars on a fullsize track. When the time to refuel came there were plenty of food vendors offering loads of tasty options.

Sounds like a pretty full schedule but there was even more. The South Hall welcomed visitors with a combination of Gassers and hot rods, giving them a glimpse of what awaited them. Once inside there was a great feeling of tradition and culture with the room filled to the brim with classic hot rods and customs creating its own personality with more subdued lighting, fewer display barriers, and an old Armory-building type feel. Known as the Hot Rod Asylum, the venue was a classic show-within-a-show that even had its own homemade trophies created by Calculated Custom to be awarded in its very own ceremony. Other exciting happenings included a vintage-styled pin-up contest, searing sets of live rockabilly from bands, including The Jade Idol with Bob Bleed, 45 Spider, Lords of the Highway, The Madison Crawl, Scoliosis Jones, and others. There was also the Krazy Paint Charity Panel Jam with close to 30 of the region's top pinstripers donating their talents on panels and other items to be auctioned off throughout the weekend. This year they raised over $12,000 for The Career and Technical School Foundation.

This one show had it all. By the time the weekend came to a close over 37,000 attendees passed through the doors to take in one of the most interesting piston-powered events you could ever see. Check it out at ixpistonpoweredautorama.com.