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 DETROIT, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Three Detroit-area businessmen who

have turned their automotive avocation into a vocation -- Robert E. Larivee Jr., Thomas P. Williams and Peter A. Toundas -- have formed Championship Auto Shows, Inc. (CASI) to operate the Autorama(R) and World of Wheels(R) motorsports shows in major markets across North America.
 Based in Orion Township, Mich., CASI is already positioned as the world's leading producer of specialty/custom car shows, with a schedule of 24 Autorama and World of Wheels shows to operate across the United States and Canada from November through April.
 Among the most highly attended car shows in their markets (in some markets larger than even the dealer-sponsored new auto shows), these events are held in the pre-eminent venues in their respective cities. The series of motorsports events scheduled by CASI attracted 1.2 million visitors during the 1991-92 season -- putting it among the best-attended North American motorsports series. (The 40-year-old Detroit Autorama, slated for Feb. 19-21 at Cobo Center, attracted some 130,000 people last season.)
 CASI was created to refocus and re-energize the shows for the changing market of the '90s.
 "Through this partnership, we hope to build upon the success of the Autorama and World of Wheels events by making them appeal to a broader audience, as well as by developing new, more effective ways for exhibitors and marketers to communicate with this audience," Larivee said. "In this new company, we've put together a team which combines extensive car show experience, retail promotion and marketing savvy, and a new customer-focused direction to make these events more entertaining than ever."
 Larivee, 41, who serves as chairman and CEO of CASI, is known within auto show circles as "JR" and is a second-generation custom car show producer involved in the industry for more than 22 years. Named the International Show Car Association's (ISCA) "Show Manager of the Year" four times, Larivee is the son of Robert E. "Bob" Larivee Sr., who founded ISCA and is commonly called the "king of custom car shows."
 Co-managing the CASI motorsports events with Larivee is Williams, 48, an auto enthusiast and amateur racer who has been involved in producing specialty car shows across North America for more than 15 years.
 Providing automotive marketing and promotional expertise and serving as CASI president is Toundas, 35, a former ad agency executive and senior vice president with Lintas:Campbell-Ewald. He now represents Patterson International (show producer of TV motorsports programs "Race Day" and "On Pit Road") as well as Athlon Sports Communications, which produces sports annuals and promotional programs for college sports and professional football and baseball.
 The 1992-93 CASI events will host popular feature vehicles like the Batmobile, the Batplane and the Duckmobile from the movie "Batman Returns," in addition to a huge collection of custom cars, hot rods, race and antique vehicles, motorcycles, trucks and vans. These shows will also include appearances by leading race car drivers, TV and movie stars, and other celebrities.
 The venues for CASI 1992-93 motorsports events span North America from Montreal to New Orleans and from Boston to Salt Lake City, and include some of the industry's biggest sites, including Detroit, Chicago, Washington, Houston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and Phoenix.
 Championship Auto Shows, Inc. is a member of the International Show Car Association (ISCA) and its events are sanctioned by the ISCA.
 -0- 9/24/92
 /NOTE: Photo/video opportunities -- the Batmobile, Batplane and Duckmobile from the movie, "Batman Returns," offer strong visuals.
 CONTACT: Eric Hood of The Hood Group, 313-433-9651, or Jim Bianchi of Bianchi PR, 313-646-9732, both for Championship Auto Shows, Inc./ CO: Championship Auto Shows, Inc. ST: Michigan IN: AUT SU:

ML -- DE005 -- 3017 09/24/92 10:39 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 24, 1992

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