Nancy Perry

Nancy Perry, a 46-year Glendale resident, organizes and promotes weekly car shows throughout metro Phoenix and Arizona. Since starting Nancy Perry Productions in 1998, Perry has welcomed thousands of classic cars from all around the city, state and country.

Chicago native Nancy Perry is no stranger to classic cars. Her dad introduced her to his passion as a child. 

Now, after living in Glendale for 46 years, Perry is continuing that legacy and hosting car show events nearly every week. 

“I was raised on the south side of Chicago, and my father owned a junkyard,” Perry said. 

“I have been around cars and the racetrack since I was about 10 years old. I started working at the junkyard when I was 12. I’ve always had hot rods. I’ve always built cars. It’s just in my blood, and I’m 68 years old. I’ve been doing it all this time,” Perry said. 

She founded Nancy Perry Productions, which organizes and promotes car shows of all sizes throughout metro Phoenix and Arizona. 

One of her most popular and well-known events is the Mixteca Cruise-In, held Saturday nights on 67th Avenue and Bell Road in the Living Spaces parking lot. 

“There are about 500 cars now,” Perry said. “It’s the longest-running cruise in. It’s a place for people to gather and hang out. They’re family events. It’s nice that you can go out and have a nice evening that doesn’t cost anything.”

Of all the shows Perry has hosted, she admits one stands out. For the last 16 years, she has organized shows for veterans. They are admitted free and awarded medals. 

“All the military vehicles come out,” she said. “It’s just the best and my favorite event of mine of all time because it started off honoring Vietnam veterans, and now it’s everybody’s favorite show that’s at Westgate every year.”

Perry’s events attract hundreds to thousands of visitors. But more importantly, she makes it a priority for her business to raise money for nonprofits. Perry said when police officers or firefighters die, she hosts an event for the surviving family members.  

“We usually raise $15,000 to $20,000 on a Saturday evening for the wife or the husband of the fallen officers and firefighters. Every penny is given to them. I’ve done that for 27 years,” she said.

When asked why she hosts multiple events weekly, Perry said it simply comes down to her passion for cars, her community and the vibe of car shows. 

Perry has her own collection of classic cars, including her ’37 Ford hot rod, a 1964 all-original Impala convertible and a ’36 Ford convertible.

Of the three, Perry said her favorite is her ’37 Ford. The purple car with bright flames along the side is featured on the Nancy Perry Productions logo. 

Looking at her impressive career in what many would consider a male-dominated industry, Perry said she was never intimidated by the skeptics and lets her knowledge of cars do the talking. 

“When I started, I took a lot of flak from a lot of older guys who didn’t like that I was doing this as a woman, but I knew way more about cars than any of them. I was raised with it since I was a little girl. I have built cars, tore cars apart, I towed cars, I raced cars,” Perry said. 

For any woman looking to follow in Perry’s footsteps, or even interested in attending car shows, she said to “hold your head up high and do it.”

“We can do anything that a man can do, and frankly, I’m sorry, I feel sometimes we can do it better,” Perry said with a laugh. 

So what’s Perry’s secret to her success?

“I treat everybody the same, whether they have a raggedy old car that they inherited that needs to be rebuilt, to the guy who has a $200,000 car,” she said. “That’s my secret. I treat everybody the same. They’re all just as special as the next one. And that’s the way it should be.”