Jul 25th, 2014No Comments


Most Turners were built for racing use and it is rare to find one this nice.

Most Turners were built for racing use and it is rare to find one this nice.

A rare British car recently purchased by a Waupaca couple who collect British cars is slated to make its initial re-appearance at the Manawa Friday Night Downtown Vintage Car Show tonight. This will be the last — and possibly the biggest — of the four Friday Night Vintage Car Shows held during July.

The car required a little mechanical work but is otherwise in the condition it was found in.

The car required a little mechanical work but is otherwise in the condition it was found in.

The show starts at 4:30 on Union St. in Manawa. That is the street south of the Quality Foods supermarket and the street that the Manawa Post Office is on. The old Heise Filling Station is located at the downtown side of the street. The show is free. All special interest cars and motorcycles are invited. There will be food and discount coupons for dinners at local eateries.

Very few owners of classic British cars have ever seen a Turner so this will be a rare opportunity in Manawa tonight.

Very few owners of classic British cars have ever seen a Turner so this will be a rare opportunity in Manawa tonight.

This week’s show is called the BRITISH INVASION but that does not mean it is only for British cars. In fact one idea is to park all the “British Invaders” on one side of the street if it is practical to do so. Then it will be possible to compare the British cars with other types parked directly opposite them

The rare British car pictured on this page is a Turner sports car made in England. This car had dropped out of sight for about 30 years until Shane and Colette Hanke of Waupaca discovered it about a month ago in a building in Chicago. Only 660 of these cars were ever built for all the years they were made. This one is among the last made and caused a lot of excitement aong members of the British-based Turner Club when it popped up. Shane has been “cranking” all week to fine tune the car for its trip to Manawa. It will be its first appearance in public.



Jul 23rd, 2014No Comments
This fun looking Mini was part of BMW's Mini Cooper display at the Chicago Auto Show.

This fun looking Mini was part of BMW’s Mini Cooper display at the Chicago Auto Show.

The “British Invasion” is coming to Manawa, Wis., this Friday night and we really want Mini Cooper owners to know about this car show. The problem is, we don’t know exactly how to reach them. There is no listing for a central Wisconson Mini Cooper club on the Internet.

We kind of know there is such a club because we passed them one time when they were doing a tour near Winneconnie. About 50 of the fun little cars went flying by us in the opposite direction. It was not a mini amount of Minis. It was a LOT of them!

There’s a Milwaukee club at http://www.milwaukeeminis.com and we have heard that the Madison Group’s Website is located within Yahoo groups at http://autos.groups.yahoo.com/group/madisonmini/ But we can’;t find an email address, phone number or Website for a Mini Cooper club near the Fox Valley area.

Now, when you don’t know something, the best thing you can do is say something wrong. Then everyone will contact you to make a correction. Hopefully, the word will get out and someone will contact us. And then maybe some Minis will come to the show Friday night. In fact, maybe a whole bunch will show up.

Or other British cars of course. Or British motorcycles, too. Or trucks and pedal cars and even bicycles. We hope to eventually turn the British Invasion into Wisconsin’s biggest British car event.

What:  Manawa Friday Night Free Downtown Car Show Featuring British cars

When: July 25, 2014 starting at 4:30 and ending at 8

Where: Union St. in downtown Manawa by Quality Foods Supermarket

Cost: Free and you get coupons for 2-for-1 dinners and cool stuff

Contact: Gunnellj@TDS.net or John “Gunner” Gunnell at 1-715-281-5925

American cars & bikes are also welcome to fill the other side of the street. Or German cars. Or Italian cars. You get the idea!



There are lots of variations of the New Mini and they are very collectible.

There are lots of variations of the New Mini and they are very collectible.


We hope we can add a bunch of hot Minis like this one to the MGs, Triumphs, Healeys ,  Jaguars and Sunbeams that are also coming to Manawa.

We hope we can add a bunch of hot Minis like this one to the MGs, Triumphs, Healeys , Jaguars and Sunbeams that are also coming to Manawa.





Jul 1st, 2014No Comments

This Friday is the first of four car show Fridays in Manawa, the headquarters of Gunner’s Great Garage. The shows are part of a downtown revitalization effort so all of the local businesses are involved and will be offering deals and discounts. We heard that one of the taverns is serving $2 drinks. How “old school” is that?

The show themes are:

JULY 4 – ALL-AMERICAN (all cars are welcome) – Manawa Rodeo Weekend

JULY 11 – Gunner’s Great Garage Downtown Block Party-Iola Car Show W/E

JULY 18 – Cars & Car Personalities Signing Autographs

JULY 25- British Invasion – Back to the ’60s when the Beetles Hit

I thought I would show everyone some of the “street cars of desire” that have been showing up for cruise nights in Manawa. We expect to see many of these same cars at the Friday Night Shows too.

If you need car show info call Gunner at 1-715-281-5925



Jun 11th, 2014No Comments

CP90 Speedy Rays Car 2

The accompanying photos show scenes from the Manawa Tuesday night cruise on June 10, 2014 (last night).  These events will be on every Tuesday night at the Cruise In diner just north of Manawa. 

Manawa is also planning the four events listed below for every Friday night in July. These shows will be in the downtown area near the old-fashioned gas station. Need all you folks to bring your cars, especiall for the “All American” show on July 4. These will all be fun events!



The Manawa Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a new Manawa Vintage Car Show every Friday night in downtown Manawa during the month of July 2014, at the corner of Hwy 22 and Union Street (south side of  “Remington’s Food Center”).

Each Friday night between 4:30 PM to 8 PM., vintage car clubs and enthusiasts will have their cars on display under a different theme:

July 4: All American Vintage Cars

July 11: Gunners Great Garage Block Party

July 18: VIP Autographs by famous hobby personalities and vintage cars

July 25: The British Invasion (Jags, MG’s and more).

There will be entertainment – a live band (face-paintIng for the kids) and discounts at local businesses.

CP91 Moparized Model A Photo 1




Jun 9th, 2014No Comments

CP89 Sweet 16 (01)

Brand new 1999 Mustang 35th Anniversary GT Convertible.

Sixteen model years have passed since the Christinson’s 1999 Mustang was new….sort of. Well, let’s say that 16 model years have passed since the car was made. That would be more accurate, since Marc’s 35th Anniversary Mustang convertible is still new. It only has 136.7 miles on its odometer!

Marc’s car is not one of the 5,000 Limited Edition models made in 1999, but it does have the beautiful wreath-design front fender emblems that feature a solid ring encircling the classic running horse and a tri-color bar. In 1989, Ford had been criticized in the press for “forgetting” the Mustang’s 25th anniversary, So, in 1999, Ford gave fans of the marque a year-long surprise party. All Mustangs (whether powered by the V-6 or V-8) were 35th Anniversary models.

James Sarria was a electrical engineer working for Ford International at the time the 35th Anniversary Mustangs came out. He was involved with supplying batteries for cars exported to other countries that were shipped overseas without batteries in them. He was also Christinson’s wife’s uncle.

Sarria was near retirement and had plans. Around 2000, he bought his wife Marian a T-Bird convertible. Then, he started looking for a ragtop for himself so they could tour together. His buddy was in charge of selling used cars from Ford’s corporate fleet. He told Sarria about a Performance Red ragtop that had spent the last year on display at Ford International Headquarters in Dearborn.

The car had never been used and was for sale for $20,000. Sarria bought the car, but then his wife got sick with cancer. She passed away and he fell into a state of depression. Then, he developed congestive hear failure and moved to an assisted living facility before he also died. Both convertibles remained in their possession, but sat, under custom made car covers, not being used. The T-Bird still has very low miles. The Mustang has traveled only 136.7 miles in 16 years.

Christinson got the car from the estate, He has put only about three miles on it, driving it to a shop that checked it over for him. The shop ran the VIN and told him that the car is the 35th car made in the 35th anniversary year. Mechanics who went over the car said there was not even dust in the engine compartment. It is brand new in every sense except for the number of years that have passed, The red body and beige convertible top are like new, the interior looks like it did when the car rolled off the line. The engine bay is spotless. Christinson has complete documentation for the car and it even wears Sarria’s Michigan plates.

In addition to the Performance Red paint, the car has the 5.0-liter V-8, power seats, power steering and brakes, a high level audio system, and a host of other options because it was a special display unit. Christinson, a school system administrator, wants to sell the car and thinks it might be worth at least double what it sold for new. With 2014 generating tons of excitement over the Mustang’s 50th birthday, who knows what a car that’s probably the only “new” 35th Anniversary model around may bring? One thing’s for sure,,,the car is Sweet 16!

 CP89 Sweet 16 (012

Driver side of car is just as nice and new.

 CP89 Sweet 16 (013

Car still has its original Michigan plates.

CP89 Sweet 16 (014 

Digital odometer tells the mileage story.

 CP89 Sweet 16 (015

The inside looks like no one ever sat in it.

 CP89 Sweet 16 (016

The engine needed a new, correct fuel pump and nothing else.

 CP89 Sweet 16 (017

Mustang 35th Anniversary emblem.







Jun 6th, 2014No Comments

As well as serving as Gunners Great Garage’s (www.gunnersgreatgarage.com) home base, Manawa, Wis. is home to the Midwest Rodeo and has been nicknamed “Rodeo City.” However, with all the car events the town is hosting this summer, motorheads may start thinking of Manawa as the “Road-Dee-O” city.

Three separate and exciting old-car activities are going on in Manawa this year. In addition, there will be a rare antique motorcycle activity taking place in Manawa in mid-Auggust.

Since details of some of these shows and events are still being worked out, we’re are going to give you the “bullet points” and dates today and tell you more details over the next few weeks., Here’s a rundown:

EVERY TUESDAY CRUISE NITES in MANAWA 5 pm-8 pm.  These cruises started last Tuesday at the Cruisin’ In diner just north of downtown Manawa.  These are informal gatherings and all kinds of cool cars can show up. Bring yours too. The cruises will go on all summer until it gets too cold.  For information call Sheldon at (920) 716-5203.

JULY 4th ALL AMERICAN DOWNTOWN CAR SHOW. This will be the first of four Friday night car shows in July. It is Manawa Rodeo Weekend and the Fourth of July so we expect a big turnout of people. Tentatively the show will be in the Quality Foods supermarket parking lot and start at 5 pm. Keep checking the Manawa Chamber of Commerce Website (www.manawachamber.org) for details.

JULY 11th THE GUNNER’S GREAT GARAGE IOLA CAR SHOW WEEKEND DOWNTOWN BLOCK PARTY. This will be the second of the four Friday night car shows in July. It is Iola Old Car Show weekend and old-car owners and vendors from all over the country will be invited . Tentatively the Downtown Block Party will be in the Quality Foods supermarket parking lot and start at 5 pm. Keep checking the Manawa Chamber of Commerce Website (www.manawachamber.org) for details.

JULY 18th DOWNTOWN MANAWA OLD CAR VIP  AUTOGRAPH SESSION This will be the third of the four Friday night car shows in July. The plan is to invite some well-known automotive writers, TV personalities, collectors, museum operators and parts sellers and have them signing autographs. The autograph session will be in the Quality Foods supermarket parking lot and start at 5 pm. Keep checking the Manawa Chamber of Commerce Website (www.manawachamber.org) for details.

JULY 25th BRITISH INVASION of DOWNTOWN MANAWA. This will be the fourth, last and maybe the biggest of the four Friday night car shows in July. British cars are not a common sight in North Central Wisconsin, but we have connections and plan to invite the best of them. Tentatively the British Invasion will be in the Quality Foods supermarket parking lot and start at 5 pm. Keep checking the Manawa Chamber of Commerce Website (www.manawachamber.org) for details.

AUGUST 2 MANAWA MUSTANG ROUND UP. Started up two years ago, the Manawa Mustang Round-Up takes place the first Saturday in August and has become what is probably the biggest and best Mustang gathering in the Badger State. The show is organized by the Manawa Masonic Center. For information visit www.manawamc.org or email manawalodge@hotmail.com.

AUGUST 16. BADGER DERBY and BADGER HERITAGE CHAPTER ANTIQUE MOTORCYCLE CLUB of AMERICA PICNIC. On Friday Aug. 15 about 75 members of the Badger Heritage Chapter of the national Antique Motortcycle Club of America will be driving their antique motorcycles from State Fair Park in Milwaukee, Wis. to the square in downtown Waupaca. This will be a recreation of the Badger Derby, an event that took place in 1934. The following day, Saturday Aug. 16, the members of the club will come to Gunner’s Great Garage in Manawa for their summer picnic. The antique bikes will be on display there. If you like antique motorcycles, come by and see them. Participation in both events is limited to club members, but looking at the bikes is a treat for all. The Badger Heritage Website is www.badgerheritage.com.

Note: The photos accompanying this blog are from the first MANAWA TUESDAY NITE CRUISE at the Cruisin’ In diner, 150 Dorothy Dr, Manawa, Wis. The phone number there is (920) 596-2070.



Jun 4th, 2014No Comments

Jesse Gunnell with his “new” 1949 Studebaker Commander Regal Deluxe Starlight Coupe.

Before we got to Marv Richer’s place in Woodstock, Ill., I warned my son Jesse that he was going to look at the car he bought via the Internet and ask himself “Did I really do this?” Marv had already looked the car over for us. We knew that the ’49 Studebaker was not a total jalopy. Still, I told Jesse how he was going to feel. “They call it buyer’s remorse,” I explained. “It’s a natural thing.”

You’ll get buyer’s remorse immediately after you buy an old car–unless you paid too much money to get a perfect car. It’s caused by that feeling that maybe you paid too much; by the scratch on the door that ruins the image of perfection you had in your mind; by the window that doesn’t go up and down easily; or by the hood ornament base that you didn’t see the crack in until you got the car home.

Many old cars are bought long distance, so you don’t see the little flaws until that day you pick up the car in person. Then they look giant sized.


We were about a half hour away from Woodstock when Jesse started second guessing himself. I told him to accentuate the positives and ignore the negatives. The Studebaker has a great design. It is basically a rust free car. The only cracked glass is the flat side windows. The hood ornament can be pinned together, or even welded. You get the idea. Whistle a happy tune. Walk up the sunnyside of the street. Don’t worry–be happy!

Jesse had been worried about the fact that the car has a “stuck” engine, so we called Paul Terhorst of Mundelin, Ill., to see if he might know of a Studebaker engine for sale at a reasonable price. He didn’t, but he told us about a product called Engine Release (www.seized-engine.com) that guarantees it can fix such problems or you get your money back.  That sure made Jesse feel a bit better.

For another boost, we decided to bring the Studebaker to its first “car show” on the way home. It seems that some car enthusiasts in Manawa, where Gunner’s Great Garage (www.gunnersgreatgarage.com)  is located, were starting up their Tuesday Cruise Nites for 2014. What could be more fun than swinging into a cruise with your latest car acquisition on a trailer? Soon, Jesse was telling people all about his car. Before long, he was feeling better about it himself.

On the way home, the Studebaker was brought by trailer to the first 2014 Tuesday Cruise Nite in Manawa. It was held at the Cruise-In restaurant.


“The important thing is not how perfect the car looks,” I told Jesse. The important thing is you having fun with it. If you have fun, you’ll know you got a good buy That’s really what old cars are all about.”


New Old-Car Adventure—’49 Studebaker Commander Coupe

May 27th, 2014No Comments

The ’49 Commander is Jesse’s first two-door old car.

For a few weeks we have been looking for an old car that my son Jesse could squeeze into his budget. We do know the wisdom of paying a little more to get a  better car. After looking at some of the jalopies $600 won’t buy you today, we decided we were not going to get anything rebuildable at that level and started looking at cars priced a bit higher.

How about that roof treatment? The “Starlight Coupe” is a genuine postwar “special-interest” automobile that woke the Big 3 up to the fact that their early postwar designs were out of date.

Jesse is pretty good at car hunting by computer and it wasn’t long before he discovered a couple of possibilities. The most interesting was a 1949 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe with the unusual rear window treatment that looks more like the pilothouse of a boat than a Dodge Pilothouse pickup does. The Studebaker was in northern Illinois, but my friend Marv Richer lived close by. He has mechanical experience and has owned a lot of old cars himself.

Marv ran down to take a look at the Studebaker and gave us a fantastic report on its condition and owner history so we bought it. Once a Mississippi car, the Commander was pretty straight, largely rust free, fairly clean inside and out and had tires that looked really good. The engine is stuck and apparently has been for years. Jesse is not against a non-original swap, though we’re hoping to stay with Studebaker power if we can fix the 245-cid six or get another one.

The interior is from an era when “classy” was standard equipment in American automobiles and it looks to be in pretty good condition.

We do not have the car yet, but as a first step we put the word out to our network of hobby friends that we want to get a car transported from the Crystal Lake, Ill. area to Iola at a cost that a young man on a budget can handle. If we don’t catch an empty trailer deadheading home to north central Wisconsin, then we’ll borrow an open-car trailer and hitch it up to our own pickup truck.

With his experience at detailing cars at Midtown Motors, in Waupaca, Wis., Jesse is anxious to see if the paint will buff up and the chrome will shine.

Stay tuned for regular reports on our “new old-car adventure.” Yours truly has no experience with Studebakers, but we’re sure that Jesse is going to learn about them very quickly. We advised him to join the Studebaker Drivers Club  (www.studebakerdriversclub.com) to begin with. Too bad the old Newman & Altman Catalogs we have in the literature collection are so far out of date.


May 13th, 2014No Comments


Buck Kamphausen owns this Coleman truck that is being restored.

People living in north central Wisconsin are well aware of the FWD trucks made in Clintonville that were pioneers in the invention of four-wheel drive technology. Fewer people are familiar with FWD’s competitor from Littleton, Colo. named Coleman. Ironically, although Gunner’s Great Garage is in FWD territory, we recently got involved in a project to produce a book about Coleman trucks.

Coleman history traces back to about 1916, when a man named Harleigh Holmes patented his designs for front-wheel and four-wheel drive systems and founded Holmes Motor Co. in Littleton, Colo. Holmes started making four-wheel-drive trucks. His company gained noteriety in April 1921 when, following a heavy snowstorm, Holmes rescued a man from a blizzard with a 4×4 truck.

That same year, Holmes’s company became Plains Motor Corp. and relocated to Denver. By the summer of 1921, the company began offering a four-wheel-drive conversion for Ford trucks. N.S. Clark of Vancouver, Canada ordered 500 Holmes systems and purchased Canadian patent rights to them.

In 1922, miners Alfred E. and George Coleman purchased 51 percent of Plains Motor Corp. Holmes moved the plant back to Littleton where the Colemans bought a creamery building and turned it into a factory.  By 1925, Coleman Motors Corp. was formed in Littleton. The company survived through the 1980s, using the name American Coleman Co. in its later years.

In later years, Coleman built many aircraft tugs used at airports.

About three weeks ago, Buck Kamphausen of Monterey Auction Co. (www.rmauctions.com) asked me to meet him in Colorado so we could visit Donald N. Chew, of Brighton, who is a Board Member of the American Truck Historical Society (www.aths.org). Chew is an expert on Marmon-Herrington trucks and Coleman trucks. He has collected more history about Coleman trucks than possibly anyone else. Chew is also collaborating with Craig H. Trout, of Virginia, to capture the history of this unique company more accurately than ever before.

Chew and Trout have both done impressive work on documenting Coleman history and now Kamphausen hopes to bring their research and other history together in the form of a book about Coleman. Kamphausen grew up in Littleton and his heart is still in the beautiful Colorado city. He would also like to see Coleman trucks housed in a museum in the city. Kamphausen owns several Coleman trucks and is on the search for more of them. We even went looking for a Coleman bus on the last night I was in Littleton, but we did not find it.

If you know of any Coleman trucks owned by collectors or for sale we would like to know about them. If you know about Coleman truck history, please get in touch with me at Gunnellj@TDS.net or through the Gunner’s Great Garage Website.




Apr 7th, 2014No Comments

The museum is located on the town square in Pontiac, Ill.

“You’re lucky your hobby is your job”  is a comment that comes our way a lot.  We understand the sentiment, but the truth is that the path to getting a job in the old-car hobby started by volunteering. We volunteered to do a local Antique Automobile Club of America (www.AACA.org) newsletter and we volunteered to do the Pontiac Oakland Club International (www.poci.org) newsletter.

When we first started getting paid for writing show reports, the fee was $25. That didn’t nearly cover the expenses involved, so we were literally “working for less than nothing.” However, even when we worked for free or lost money,  we enjoyed it. Going to shows and seeing old cars was entertainment for us.  We never thought of it as work. It was like getting into the movies for free,

The reason we mention this is we noted an ad in the latest Pontiac club magazine from the Pontiac-Oakland Automotive Museum in Pontiac, Ill. They are looking for someone to help them with fund raiusing efforts on a volunteer basis. A little experience wouldn’t hurt, but this could also be an opportunity for a bright, talented hobbyist to gain new experience. There are auto museums across the country thar do fund raising and this might be a stepping stone to a paying job.

Displays of Pontiac and Oakland cars constantly change.

The volunteer does not have to live near the museum or relocate. With the Internet, the volunteer work can be done from home. Anyone interested in volunteering can contact Tim Dye. The contact information for the Pontiac-Oakland Automotive Museum is 205 N. Mill St., Pontiac, IL 61764. Phone: 1-815-842-2345. Website: www.pontiacoaklandmuseum.org.

A large library that can help restorers is a part of the museum.

By the way, visits to the museum are another way to help it raise the money it needs to continue its work as a Pontiac and Oakland automobile resource center that can help collectors, restorers and automotive historians. It is a great place for car clubs to tour to during the warm weather months. The museum is open 7 days a week excpt on majot holidays and has bent over backwards to accommodate many hobby groups. Give Mr. Dye a call.

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