Our story



The Fizz Ehrler Memorial Turning Back Time Car Show is an annual gathering of a wide variety of automotive art set in the historic downtown area of Sycamore, Illinois.  The party attracts show and go types from drag racing to street performance including Street Rods, Street Machines, Rat Rods, Custom Trucks, Race Cars, Antiques, Classics and more. 

The last Sunday in July is marked by the unmistakable sounds of American V8 power etching the stillness of dawn as car people from several surrounding states descend on the entrance gate in search of the good time sharing works of mechanical art with their fellow enthusiasts. 

Though many said it couldn’t be done, mixing cars and motorcycles, a very big part of the show is the motorcycle display sponsored by Hink’s Tavern and Grill. But it’s not only car people that show up in town for the fun, but spectators including men, boys, women and children of all ages converge to soak up the sights, sounds and spectacle. 

Sponsors and vendors along with the local businesses set up displays, product demos and cater to the crowd benefiting from a wide audience of current, prospective and repeat customers. With its primary goal to raise funds for local non-profit entities and organizations, the show has become the go to event for thousands of motor sports fans and participants! 


Begun as the brainchild of local business man and enthusiast collector Chuck Criswell owner of Chuck's Auto in Sycamore, Illinois and the informal Turning Back Time Car Club, the first show was a distinct success on a rainy July Sunday in 2000.  With just over 300 cars and a few hundred spectators it was clear that the idea was a good one. 

Income supported the then Sycamore Police Department sponsored Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program and a DARE car was built from a retired police cruiser, supported by local businesses and presented to the Sycamore PD.

Subsequent years saw the show grow to the point where it was apparent more space was needed for the ever increasing number of show vehicles arriving each year.  Criswell went to the city fathers and worked out a plan to move into the downtown area which
included closing Illinois State Highway 64 for the day. With the help of dozens of club members and volunteers, the show ultimately reached its goal of hosing over 1000 cars in 2012 with just over 1100 cars and motorcycles rolling through the gate.

As the years passed and the venue grew, additional entertainment was provided by local dance groups, a karaoke contest, martial arts displays and most recently a roller derby demonstration.  Sponsor and vendor displays provide for area businesses to strut their stuff and between them and the local restaurants there is no shortage of food and treats! 

Current State of the Event

 While TBTCC leadership and membership has changed and evolved, the event continues to grow each year along with the numbers of non-profits seeing benefit.  Second only to the Sycamore Pumpkin Fest, the show has morphed into the cake icing topping off a full week of events between DeKalb and Sycamore called Kishwaukee Fest.  Kish Fest includes food, entertainment and music events including a parade down Lincoln Highway in DeKalb on Friday evening.  TBTCC members and the local car crowd gather in the center of the street an hour prior to the parade providing eye candy and display for the early bird parade audience.  This also grew in 2013 with the addition of motorcycles and a fighter plane formation break style exit as the parade enters the area.

This fabulous weekend for car enthusiasts starts off on Saturday afternoon with a smaller version of Sundays Turning Back Time Car Show.  Downtown Sycamore will play host to the Discover Sycamore Cruise Night and Car Show. Come and enjoy almost 300 classic cars,  a poker run, trophies and cash awards, DJ Dave, live music, barbecue and cold beer all in historic downtown Sycamore.  Gates open at 3p.m., judging at 7p.m., trophy and cash presentation at 8:30p.m.  Our 2017 presenting sponsor is DeKalb Sycamore Chevrolet Cadillac GMC.  

The FEMTBTCS has begun to attract major corporate sponsors from the automotive performance industry and through this looks to grow in both attractiveness to the spectator crowd as well as increasing the ability to support the non-profit community as well. 

For the 2013 show, several SEMA level performance manufacturers recognized the potential of the show crowd and bought out 50 feet of displays from several companies including MSD, QA1, BeCool, Richmond Gear, Mahle Manufacturing, Centerforce and many more. Features such as the addition of flyovers by local pilot Scott Carlson in his Boeing Stearman in 2012 and 2013 with the WWII B17, Sentimental Journey provided by the DeKalb Taylor Municipal Airport, the local Jane Fargo Hotel and  the Commemorative Air Force are just a couple of examples  of the additional effort of the club and community to bring it! 

Future Vision of the Show Board

With major sponsor interest, the show is growing in the ability to provide a wide range of attractions for spectators and participants. The club is on the lookout for additional hands to help with planning, parking along with enhancing the opening ceremonies.  All eyes are on the future for many years of presenting this must attend event for tens of thousands in Northern Illinois!

In addition to our wonderful sponsors the folks behind the scene that volunteer and plan monthly year round to make this one day such a success are listed below alphabetically on the contacts page of the website. We thank you for your support and help with this endeavor and know that your love for helping the community and the hobby is your inspiration.