The latest Tri-Five Chevy build at Classics Plus Ltd.
It’s almost time for the Fondy Vintage Auto Club’s “Auto Parts Swap Meet,” which is one of the first collector car events in central Wisconsin each year. It is set for March 16 at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds and you can call Gary Duitman (1-920-579-0077) or Greg Freund (1-920-579-8450) for information about that.
The Fondy swap is where I first saw Mike Freund’s craftsmanship. Freund polishes stainless steel, restores steering wheels, brings old cars back to life, builds hot rods and—for the past several years—has been constructing some great straight-axle “gasser” cars.
Freund knew just how to make the molding look like the other one.
Last Wednesday we hit the highway to Freund’s shop (www.classicsplusltd.com) at 601 Lakshore Drive in Fond du Lac. We had a piece of stainless trim that needed some fixing. When I showed Mike the molding, he immediately pointed to a spot several inches lower than the twist. “This is really the point where things started happening,” he explained. “If we start here and make everything up the ladder blend in right the piece will look just like it did from the factory.”
So, that’s why we take things like this to the Straight Axle Straight Shooter. Simply put, he knows what he’s doing and he has the touch.
Alex Carlson hauled the electric racecar to the auto show and manned the booth there to tell the public about the program
People complain that the young people of today don’t like cars the way we did years ago. Alex Carson proves that isn’t true. We met Alex at the Chicago Auto Show on Feb. 6. He was there with the electric powered racing car that he and his fellow students in the Illinois Institute of Technology’s (www.facebook.com/iitmotorsports) program built.
The IIT car has 4-wheel independent drive and relies on passive charge material cooling.
The car is designed to compete in Formula SAE racing. Formula SAE is a competition for student designed cars organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Each year student teams are tasked with developing a small formula-style racing car for a fictional manufacturer. During the competition, the prototype racing cars are evaluated for acceleration, skid pad performance, autocross ability, efficiency, business presentation, engineering design and cost analysis.
The IIT Motorsports (www.iitmotorsports.org) Formula SAE racing team offers students of all majors who attend Illinois Institute of Technology the opportunity to gain real-life experience in designing, building and promoting a competitive electric Formula SAE racing car. The car the students created uses hub-mounted I-wheel direct-drive motors at each corner and relies on passive charge material cooling to keep its high-voltage system humming.
The students have formed six sub-teams to move things along: the chassis team; the suspension team; the electrical team; the powertrain team; the aerodynamics team and the business and marketing team. The latter team works to arrange sponsorships. Sponsors can gain exposure through local and national media exposure and presentation of logos on the car, as well as recognition on the IIT Formula Hybrid Website and Facebook page.
Since I am personally involved with a college based racing team from Fox Valley Technical College (www.fvtc.edu) that runs a 1986 Pontiac Firebird in the “World of Speed” (www.saltflats.com) at Bonneville, I was very impressed as I heard Alex describe a racing program involving dozens of students that travels as far as New Hampshire to race and competes in multiple events each year.
It takes a lot of time and energy to conduct such a program. There is the cost of building a high-tech, electric-powered racing car and travel costs. Team members need to be motivated to keep everything on track, get the car to the track and then either drive or crew for the team. Racing looks like fun to spectators, but there’s lots of behind-the-scenes work running a racing team.
In addition getting to the track and racing, there are other jobs such as spending long days at the Chicago Auto Show giving out info about the team and trying to enlist backing from sponsors. In case you haven’t heard, the economy is tight these days and it’s hard to drum up donations for a student racing team.
Anyone who might be interested in helping can get in touch with Alex Carlson, 3201 S. State St., McCormick-Tribune Campus Center, Chicago, IL 60616 or email him at SAE@iit.edu. It’s great to see young people playing with cars. A great way to speed the enthusiasm along is supporting this kind of effort.
Not all Formula SAE racing cars are electric powered. The students who built this car used a different type of power.
It has been awhile since I posted here and the main reason is just that I’m keeping busy with both restoration work and writing assignments. I’ve even had several calls for appraisals this year and that doesn’t usually happen this early. The rougher than usual Wisconsin winter and high heating and plowing bills haven’t helped. The shows are starting, too. Last week I went to the Chicago Auto Show and the Progressive International Motorcycle Show in Rosemont, Ill. This blog is about a new motorcycle that really surprised me at the latter event.
Victory’s new 2015 Gunner motorcycle isn’t really named after me, but I can pretend that it is, can’t I?
The new motorcycle was in a big lock box in Victory USA’s booth at the show on Friday Feb. 6. The bike is a “bobber” style motorcycle named the Gunner. How about that? A bike with my name on it!
“Gunner Reveal Sat 12P” was lettered large on the side of the crate. That meant they were introducing the new model the next day! Unfortunately, I was going home on Friday.
I tracked down Victory Motorcycles’ external relations manager Kyle Clack and told him I have used the nickname “Gunner” since I started writing about cars and trucks and bikes in 1972.
After scraping up info on the 2015 Gunner from Kyle, I found out they really didn’t name it after me. Actor R. Lee Ermey of “Full Metal Jacket” fame is Victory USA’s spokesperson. Ermey is an honorary Marine Gunnery Sergeant. So, the 2015 Gunner is named after Ermey. But, at least I can pretend, can’t I?
Pre-reveal teaser photos of the Gunner tell me its got a 1731cc engine sitting in the bare-bones bike. Those big jugs on that V-twin should add up to a ride that’ll give a drill sergeant some of his own medicine.
Naturally, I’m going to try to buy one. Just think of the fun I can have with this. A few years ago, Jack Roush told a funny story about a teen-ager challenging his Roush Mustang when they stopped side-by-side at a traffic light. The boy raced Jack right into his company HQs. They stopped and the kid asked, “Mr. What do you have in that thing?” Roush said, “Gee, I don’t know kid, let’s see!” He opened the hood and said, “Well, would you look at that; they put my name on it!”
Pretty soon I’ll be able to play those kinds of tricks with my 2015 Gunner. In the meantime, I asked Kyle if he would save some of the Gunner signage for me to buy. It would look great in Gunner’s Great Garage.
A restoration shop brought this ’36 Chevy touring sedan to Race & Performance Expo last year.
If you live in the Midwest or if you are into racing or high-performance and willing to travel to the Chicago in February for a do-not-miss event, mark the dates Feb. 22 and 23 on your calendar. That’s when the annual Race & Performance Expo (www.raceperformanceexpo.com) will take place at the Pheasant Run Resort in St, Charles, Ill.
This is promoted as an event where you can network with racing retailers, race car engine builders, car builders, tracks, race sanctioning bodies, race car fabricators, trailer makers and performance parts manufacturers. That makes it sound like you have to be Mario Andretti, but take my word for it, there is plenty at this show for classic car restorers. One example is the ’36 Chevy that one restoration shop displayed last year. Another is the fact that one vendor, Hughes’ Engines, does Mopar motors for both race car and restored cars.
A lot of old-car buffs I talk to tell me that they wish that they could go to trade shows like SEMA, Hot Rod & Restoration and PRI. Well the Race & Performance Expo is a similar event that is open to the general public. And there is plenty for the backyard mechanic to learn at this show about new products and existing products and services with restoration applications.
This Olds Vista Cruiser wagon was for sales at the B-O-P-C Swap last year.
If you are into GM cars, there is another good reason to go to St. Charles on one of the same dates that the Race & Performance Expo is held. The 23rd annual Buick-Olds-Pontiac-Cadillac Swap Meet (www.bopcswap.com) takes place Feb. 23, at the Kane County Fairgrounds on the other side of town. This is a one-day, mostly indoor swap meet that is worth a visit if you’re into GM cars.
I got my picture taken with legendary customizer Gene Winfield at last year’s Milwaukee World of Wheels.
On top of all this, if you are from Wisconsin like I am, you might want to make that fourth weekend in February and old-car overdose weekend and stop at the Milwaukee World of Wheels on your way down to Illinois. It will take place Feb. 21-23 at State Fair Park. Call (248) 373-1700 for information on this show.
My own plan is Feb. 21 for World of Wheels, Feb. 22 Race & Performance Expo and Feb. 23 Buick-Olds-Pontiac-Cadillac Swap Meet. Sounds like the Super Bowl of Collector Cars Weekend!
Some people asked how the Race & Performance Expo show in February and the Buick-Olds-Pontiac-Cadillac Swap Meet can both be in St. Charles, Ill., on the same weekend.
I don’t know, but they are. So now you have two reasons to go to St. Charles. Here are the detasils:
February 23, 2014
23rd Annual Buick Olds Pontiac Cadillac Swap Meet and Car Corral. Hosted by Illinois Valley Oldsmobile Club. Kane County Fairgrounds, 525 Randall Road, St. Charles, IL 60174 Doors open at 8:00 am. The Illinois Valley Oldsmobile Club will be the hosting club for the 23rd Annual Buick Olds Pontiac Cadillac Swap Meet and Car Corral at the Kane County Fairgrounds. Doors open from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm. Attendance: $5.00 donation. Indoor heated 10′ x 10′ swap spaces: $35.00. For further details, click here for flyer.
Contact: Bob Zielinski, firstname.lastname@example.org, 630-665-4349 or John Mayer, email@example.com, 847-815-3923
Coming in February 22–23, 2014, is the 7th Annual Race & Performance Expo at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles, Illinois. Thousands of high performance products will be on display from 200 vendors occupying 300 booths.
This is a chance for racing professionals—retailers, engien builders, race car builders, fabricators, race track owners, sanctioning body personnel and more—to network and create business opportunities.
The Car Builder’s Showcase will feature over 20 car builder’s hot rods, street rods, muscle cars and trucks on display from complete restorations to complete customizing.
Educational racing seminars offer information about how to go faster, improve engine dynamics and much more.
In addition, the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow will hold one of their competitions at this event.
Held at: Pheasant Run Resort, 4051 East Main Street St. Charles, IL 60174, United States (630) 584-6300
For further information, visit http://www.raceperformanceexpo.com/
This roadster pickup, fresh out of mothballs, put in an appearance at last year’s Milwaukee World of Wheels.
Clearing out the piles on my desk last night, I found I had scoffed up five 2014 calendars, so I grabbed the one with the biggest date boxes (have you noticed how many of the boxes have shrunken lately?) and started filling them in with the dates of some shows I might be interested in going to.
Now, this ain’t a paid advertisement — it’s just a memory jogger. So I’m not going to list all the times and contact info and ticket prices. You can get all that right on the Internet.
Be advised, I am not into just one type of show only. These are all kinds of Midwest showws from classics, to cycles, to hot rods, to Brit cars to trade shows where you can learn about all the hot new products. Here’s the list I came up with:
Detroit Auto Show – Jan. 15 – Detroit, Mich. – New Cars and who knows what else
Chicago Auto Show – Feb. 8-17 – Same as Detroit Show in Chicago more or less
Chicago International Motorcycle Show – Feb. 7-9 – Rosemont, Ill.
Race & Performance Expo – Feb. 22-23 – St. Charles, Ill.
Milwaukee World of Wheels – Feb. 21-23 -Guess Where?
Buick-Olds-Pontiac-Cafillac Swap – Feb. 23 – St. Charles, Ill.
Chicago World of Wheels – Feb. 28-March 2 – Rosemont, Ill.
Mopar fans enjoyed seeing Hughes Racing Engines’ hot hardware at the 2013 Race & Performance Expo. It’s a for-the-public show. Free seminars. Cool!
Fondy Swap Meet – March 16 – Fond du Lac, Wis. (Always a fun time!)
Chicago British Swap – March 23 — Wheaton, Ill. (a month later than usual)
Walneck’s Motorcycle Swap – March 23 – St. Charles, Ill.
Hod Rod & Restoration Show – March 27-29 – Indianapolis (For trade only!)
British car, bike and motorcycle guru Jeff Powell was selling at the Chicagoland British Swap Meet at the DuPage County Fairgrounds in Wheaton, Ill. This year the show will be held a month later than usual.
We went to see the Popemobile that is soon going to be a real honest to goodness Saintmobile.
If you have been wondering why I haven’t been posting here lately, it is because I was on a 2,700+ mile drive to Houston and back to photograph a vehicle that will soon become a “Saint” of car. When car collectors hear the word “Saintmobile” they immediately think of the Volvo P1800 that actor Roger Moore drove on “The Saint” television series. But that is not the car that my friend Jim Rugowski and I went to Texas to see.
Our destination was the National Museum of Funeral History (www.nmfh.org) where one of the current exhibits focuses on Pope Paul’s funeral and his upcoming Sainthood. The car we took pictures of is the Popemobile – a Range Rover with a bulletproof enclosure on the back. It’s a Popemobile right now, but it is going to become a Saintmobile in the near future.
National Museum of Funeral History (www.nmfh.com) exhibit focuses on the life, death and upcoming canonization of Pope Paul.
This is going to make that custom-built Range Rover a very special automobile very soon and we got an early shot at gertting the news out. We also had the pleasure of visiting the National Museum of Funeral History, which has a great collection of funeral cars, as well as an ambulance or two.
On the return trip we made stops at the Museum of Automobiles (www.museumofautos.com) on Petit Jean Mountain in Morrilton, Ark., a private collection in St. Louis, Country Classic Cars (www.countryclassiccars.com) in Staunton, Ill. and the Pontiac-Oakland Automotive Museum (www.pontiacoaklandmuseum.org) in Pontiac, Ill.
So now I have about a million things to write about (with only 22 days left in the month). Hope you’re going to enjoy sharing this trip with Jim and I. Stay tuned for updates.
If you need information about the Popemobile for your magazine, club newsletter, blog or Website, just email me at Gunnellj@TDS.net and I’ll be happy to work with you.
The most famous Range Rover carried the Pope in safety, with a motorcycle escort, after an attempt was made on his life.
Interested in a very unique, super cool Volkswagen Double Cab Pickup? This is a customized restored truck that was formerly a trailer queen and best of show trophy winner. This rare truck has been featured in Dune Buggies and VWs magazine.
It’s a upgraded, safari-windowed 1963 VW Double Cab truck with a new 1700-cc, 100-hp power plant and new looks inside and out. It has been transformed from a seldom seen or driven show truck into a weekend beach cruiser, a cool street runner and an eye-catching ride. Its features include:
I• The superior condition of the power train (1500 miles)
• The superior condition of the exterior and underside (RUST FREE)
• The excellent condition of the custom interior.
• Genuine VW case (new)
• Counterweighted, forged 69mm crankshaft
• 8 dowelled flywheel w/chromoly gland nut
• Forged 90.5 Mahle pistons
• Engle 110 camshaft w/aluminum gear
• Surfaced genuine VW lifters
• Full flow oil system w/high volume pump
• 1-1/2 quart deep sump and external oil filter
• Berg Type 4 oil cooler conversion
• Mesa external cooler w/electric fan, braided Teflon-lined hoses
• Autocraft solid rocker shafts w/1.25 VW rocker arms
• Fully ported, polished cylinder heads
• Manley race series stainless valves
• 043 castings w/long reach plugs, hi-rev springs
• Venturi ring welded into air inlet side
• Full dynamic race balance
• Deliorto DRLA 36 carbs with match ported intake manifolds
• MSD ignition box, Bosch blue coil
• Bosch alternator (new)
• Bosch 009 distributor w/electronic ignition
• Bosch starter (new)
The new freeway flyer gearbox, also by Kelly Huffman, has the following features:
• 4.12 ring and pinion in completely rebuilt transaxle
• Gene Berg shifter
• Kennedy 1700 lb. pressure plate
You will ride in style with this great Double Cab’s lowered suspension – straight axle conversion for modern freeway speeds. KYB shocks in the rear, dropped spindles in front. Alignment and steering are excellent. – it goes down the road straight with a good grip on its LaCarrera steering wheel. Nanking N-803 P135/R15 front radial tires, P165/R15 Guardsman radials in the rear. Fuchs replica wheel rims. New Interstate battery.
Exhaust system is 1-1/2 inch merged Kymko exhaust w/heater boxes, all ceramic coated.
All heater and vent controls in good condition.
Inside the cab you’ll find a matched set of custom seat covers, door panels and interior headliner panels, no rips or tears anywhere. Custom interior carpeting in front cab and crew cab, with matching carpeted custom floor mats in front cab. Genuine VW door pulls. Four seat belts altogether – two in front cab and two in crew cab.
All exterior and interior lighting including dash lights and gauges operate properly. Original Sapphire 1 AM radio is included.
All window glass, including front Wolfgang Safaris and original Securit A52 door window glass and Durvit-A D-19 pop-out window glass are fully operational and free of chips or cracks. All vent locks and felt channels are in good order. Genuine VW spoon pop-out latches. New Hella front turn signal lenses. Safari windows are complete with wiper pivots and one-eyed duck.
All doors, including engine door, open and close properly. All door and window rubber seals are in good condition.
The rare Double Cab has fresh paint, fresh bumpers, a PPG coated bedliner. It is Snow White over Forest Green. Masterworks of Ennis, Texas, accomplished the paint and bedliner work.
The truck bed and gates are very straight, are in exceptional condition, and feature stainless steel hardware. Drop gates open and close properly. Rear deckled support is stainless steel. The reproduction VW truck bed slats were stained and secured with countersunk, stainless steel screws.
It has a reproduction Westphalia roof rack.
This is an excellent custom restoration and an rare truck that with proper care will grow in value. These early Double Cabs are getting harder and harder to find and are seldom available in this condition. Whether you are a beach freak, surfer or VW enthusiast who has been waiting for a great vintage truck to drive to head down to the ocean, run around town and be seen in, or to head out on the highway and stretch out, wait no longer. This one will do the trick without any hesitation.
Tom Stephani has asked us to try to help him sell his Vinegaroon Can-Am racing car. It is the actual car that Nickey Chevrolet, a famous high-performance Chevy dealer from Chicago, made for actor Dan Blocker who played Hoss Cartwright on the long-running TV Western “Bonanza.” The following is Tom’s description of this one-of-a-kind car along with photos of it and an ownership history. Tom is asking $235,000 for this historic car.
With the current focus on TV personality cars, racing cars and Nickey cars, this 1965 Genie Mk10 represents an excellent opportunity to own a rare vehicle with multi-niche collector appeal and the promise of being an great long-term investment. Fan interest in classic “Bonanza” episodes has been increasing thanks to the “Saddle Up Saturday” cable TV series broadcast each weekend. Hoss Cartwright is the favorite character of many viewers. His appeal promises to grow and make Blocker’s racing car a blue chip investment.
Dan Blocker’s Nickey Vinegaroon (Genie Mk10) is a meticulously restored and completely documented 1960’s USRRC / Can-Am sports racing car. The car was originally built by Joe Huffaker in 1965 for Dan Blocker Racing and driven by John Cannon in the 1965 and 1966 USRRC and Canadian sports car series. After finishing 2nd in the 1965 Nassau Tourist Trophy race, the car won the 1966 season opening Las Vegas Stardust Grand Prix USRRC race.
The primary sponsor of the car was Nickey Chevrolet. In mid 1966, Bob Harris, a noted Hollywood stunt man, took over the Vinegaroon driving duties. The car was campaigned in the remaining USRRC races that year and participated in the inaugural Can-Am season in the fall of 1966. Its best Can-Am finish was 11th at the Stardust finale. The car passed through three owners before being discovered in the late 1980’s by Floyd Sable of Eden Prairie, Minnesota.
After an eight year restoration, the car made its vintage racing debut in 1998 at Road America. Sable sold the Vinegaroon to Tom Stephani in November of 2002. Stephani is the son of one of the original owners of Nickey Chevrolet. From 2003 to the present, Stephani has run the car in significant vintage events at tracks such as Road America, Mt. Tremblant, Watkins Glen, Sebring, Mosport, VIR, Mid-Ohio, and the prestigious Monterey Historics.
Vintage Event History
- Road America BRIC – 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
- Monterey Historics – 2008
- Sebring HSR – 2005
- VIR Gold Cup – 2006
- Watkins Glen Zippo Historics – 2006
- Mosport – 2006, 2008 (Can-Am Reunion)
- Le Circuit Mt. Tremblant – 2007
- Pacific Raceways – 2009
- Historic Can-Am Award – 2005 Road America
- Pole Winner – 40th Can-Am @ Road America & Watkins Glen Can-Am Reunion
- Winner – Elkhart Lake Road & Track Concours
- Amelia Island Concours – 2006
- Chevy Vettefest – 2006
- Watkins Glen Research Center Display – 2007
“Suddenly it’s the 1960s!” Wasn’t that kind of the promotional slogan for “American Grafitti?” Well, it could definitely be the slogan for Gunner’s Great Garage today. The owner of a ’63 Pontiac Catalina convertible from a nearby city has asked us to put the car for sale on our Website. This is an estate car and hopefully it will sell quickly. The car is an older restoration that runs well, but needs sprucing up. You can clean it and drive it to the cruise night and it will fit right in at any old car show. The owner is now looking for about $6,500.
More info can be had by calling me at 1-715-281-5925 or emailing Gunnellj@TDS.net.