May 19th, 2015No Comments


A few weeks ago we were cruising around the Wausau, Wis. area looking for a car dealership there that sells old police cars. We took a wrong turn and pretty soon we were on the east edge of town, pretty far out in the country.

It didn’t take long to figure out that we were heading in the wrong direction. The GPS said there was a smaller street coming up on our right that we could turn into to and make a U-turn in a driveway. As we made our right turn, an old barn on the corner across the street caught our eyes.

The ancient farm building that probably held tractors and animals and hay at one time was literally covered with vintage automotive signs, most of which were very large. And in the daffodil-dotted field around the barn were additional signs that had advertised gas stations or garages at a time in the past. And also an old, open-cab fire engine that was not in the greatest shape.

It was a beautiful and awesome sight. On the barn were signs for fuel brands such as Union 76, Sinclair, Clark, Standard, Spur, Gulf, DX, Texaco, Mobil and more. There was a giant octagon-shaped MG sign that once announced a British sports car dealership. There were at least 60 signs on two side of the building, including a few old-fashioned highway and traffic signs.

There were at least a dozen huge signs on poles set up in a row. The advertised Phillips 66, Standard, Texaco, Sinclair, Union 76, Skelly, Amoco, Marathon and Citgo gasoline. Placed at a right angle to the gas station signs were several large signs for service garages of the past including Horak’s Auto Service and Weik’s Last Chance Garage.

We know of another building just north of Antigo, Wis., that probably has a many large signs covering it, but that is a business that sells the signs. On the other hand, the signs on the barn appeared to be part of a private collection. There was no one around and no hint that this was a commercial enterprise.

But it was truly a beautiful sight to see if you like classic cars and anything related to them. What a great image to run across on a sunny spring day with yellow flowers, rich green grass and a gorgeous blue sky.


Apr 27th, 2015No Comments

These came from “TV Tommy” Kujava over in Green Bay (aka “Elvis”) who hosted the “Wheels” TV show in that neck of the woods. Tommy also organizes the nighttime “Garage Sessions” over in Packerland. Cool guy who drives a hot late-’40s Dodge coupe with flames and a HEMI.

A few more shows. See Ya’ll at NWTC this Sunday May 3.
Other nearby events:
05/09/2015 Freedom Auto Club 7th Annual Car Show Freedom , Wisconsin
05/15/2015 14th Annual Spring Cruise Car Show Clintonville , Wisconsin
05/16/2015 29th Annual Automotion Wisconsin Dells , Wisconsin
05/16/2015 15th Annual Main Street Car Show Algoma , Wisconsin
05/16/2015 Custom Car and Truck Show of Special Olympics at the Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival Muscoda,Wisconsin , Wisconsin
05/17/2015 29th Annual Automotion Wisconsin Dells , Wisconsin
05/17/2015 Wisconsin Early Mustangers 33rd Annual All Ford Show & Swap Cudahy , Wisconsin
05/17/2015 29th Annual Automotion Wisconsin Dells , Wisconsin
05/30/2015 Motors and Music Sun Prairie , Wisconsin
06/06/2015 Grand Marsh Classic Car & Motorcycle Show Grand Marsh , Wisconsin
06/06/2015 Badger State Chapter 31st All Pontiac & GMC Show Oshkosh , Wisconsin
06/06/2015 Grand Marsh Classic Car & Motorcycle Show Grand Marsh , Wisconsin
06/13/2015 6th Annual Gilbert Brown Foundation Custom & Classic Car Show Montello , Wisconsin
06/13/2015 Motostatic Pardeeville , Wisconsin
06/14/2015 Spooner Car Show Spooner, Wi , Wisconsin
06/21/2015 38th Annual FDL Evening Optimist Fathers Day Antique Car & Truck Show Fond du Lac , Wisconsin
06/27/2015 Fox Valley Region Porsche Club Egg Harbor , Wisconsin
06/27/2015 Saturday in the Park Car & Truck Show Sun Prairie , Wisconsin
07/09/2015 Iola Old Car Show & Swap Meet Iola , Wisconsin
07/10/2015 Rumble by the River Classic Car Show Big Bend Big Bend, 53103 , Wisconsin
07/10/2015 Iola Old Car Show & Swap Meet Iola , Wisconsin
07/11/2015 Iola Old Car Show & Swap Meet Iola , Wisconsin
07/18/2015 3rd Annual Opie’s Fun Run Deerfield , Wisconsin
07/19/2015 Ridin Durty 7th Car Show green bay , Wisconsin
07/19/2015 Hot Rod Sunday La Farge , Wisconsin
08/01/2015 Outboards Bar & Grill 4th Annual Gilman, WI 54433 , Wisconsin
08/02/2015 Valders Lion’s Car Show Valders, WI 54245 , Wisconsin
08/08/2015 Horizon of Hope Generations Car Show Combined Locks , Wisconsin
08/09/2015 Hazelhurst Lions Club Annual Classic Car Show Hazelhurst, WI , Wisconsin
08/09/2015 Truckin’ Buddies Club 23rd Annual Truck & Car Show Stevens Point , Wisconsin
08/15/2015 Spring Green Car Show Spring Green , Wisconsin
08/23/2015 Belly Bumper Classic Car and Motorcycle Show Green Bay , Wisconsin
09/12/2015 Waukesha Deputy Assocation Car Truck N Bike Show Sussex , Wisconsin



Apr 25th, 2015No Comments

Gunner’s Great Garage made its annual trek to the Spring Jefferson swap meet this past Friday. We went for just one day because we had other car things to do the same weekend. Jefferson was very busy. It is one of the earliest car events of the year and it brings out all the people with “cabin fever.” Or is that “garage fever?”

One thing you can do at Jefferson is get information about lots of upcoming shows. Here are the May events that had promotional flyers on the table at Jefferson. Next month we’ll list the June shows:

Vintage Torque Fest. Dubuque, IA. May 2-3.

Northwest Technical College Car Show. Green Bay, WI. May 3. Call 1-920-498-7165.

Griffin Ford All Ford Car Show. Waukesha, WI. May 3. Griffin Ford, 1940 E. Main St., Waukesha, WI.

Pride in Your Ride Car Show. May 9. Madison Area Technical College.

Clintonville Beat the Heat. May 15 (5-9 pm). Clintonville, WI. or 1-715-823-7621

6th Annual Hartford Downtown Old Fashioned Block Party and Classic Car Show. May 16. Hartford, WI. or call 1-262-673-7193

Automotion. Wisconsin Dells. May 16. 1-800-223-3557.

Wisconsin Early Mustangers 33rd Annual All Ford Show. Cudahy, WI.  May 17. Ewald’s Venus Ford, 2727 E. Layton Ave., Cudahy, WI. 1-414-764-6726

Olson’s Mud Run. Edgerton, WI. May 16-17. Call 1-608-884-4347

Little Hershey Swap Meet and Car Show. Belvidere, IL. May 16-17. Call: 1-815-979-4544 or email

Dick’s Garage Reunion. Mukwonago, WI. May 23. Call 1-262-662-2236 or 1-414-520-8060

Volo Auto Museum Car Show. Volo, IL. May 24. or call 1-815-385-3644.

Omro Car Show. Omro, WI. May 25. or call 1-920-685-7005.

Zion School Classic Car Show. Milwaukee, WI. May 30. Zion School, 1023 E. Capitol Dr.

Beatersville. Louisville, Ken. May 24.




Apr 7th, 2015No Comments

HRHL95 New Motorama Brown County Areana 01

Just a few weeks ago, Rick Paulick’s “New Motorama” show in Green Bay was only a dream.  It’s now a reality.  About 7,000 people came to Northeast Wisconsin’s new indoor car show on April 3-5. There were 50 cars and trucks filling Brown County Arena and the nearby Shopko Hall was loaded with cars and vendors (not to mention trucks, sleds, bikes, boats, ATVs. karts, semis and tractors).

We love the historic name that Rick selected for his event. The Motoramas of the ’50s were famous for their DREAM cars. The New Motorama is now famous for making Rick’s DREAM come true.

Green Bay has not had a indoor venue since Bob Ashton managed the “World of Wheels” there. About 10 years ago, the World of Wheels disappeared, but the desire for an indoor car show persisted. Rick Paulick stepped up to fill the gap. He says he’ll be back again next year.

Over the next few days we’ll be showing you some of the cool features of the show. After you see them, you’ll want to mark April 8-10, 2016 on your calendar. Those will be the dates of New Motorama II.

This Bird Has Flown

Sep 30th, 2014No Comments

OC Blog 105 Photo 01

Last winter the red Fox Valley Technical College Firebird became the “Silver Streak” with a new paint job.

The Firebird you see in these pictures has flown to a speed of 193 mph over the salt flats at Bonneville, Utah. That was back in 2011, when the car was painted red and we took it to Bonneville Speedway with a student team from Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wis.

Things have changed a bit since that time. Driver Dave Sarna traded another car the Fox Valley Tech and took possession of this one. Most or all of the young guys have bowed out of the project. Bonneville was a bit grueling for many of them. They’d rather drag race on Friday nights at Wisconsin International Speedway with their friends watching. As a result, the Bonneville team dwindled down to the veterans who were advisors in 2011.

OC Blog 105 Photo 02

Despite some intensive work sessions in Tom Ale’s garage, the car wasn’t ready in time for the September event at Bonneville.

Plans to return to Bonneville in 2012 failed to gel. In fact, very little got done to the car that year. This turned out to be a good thing, since the weather at Bonneville that fall was bad and the “World of Speed” event that we ran in was affected. Chance are the long haul to Utah would have been a wasted effort.

In 2014, a lot of work was done to the car—including the new “Silver Streak” paint job—but as fall approached we began to realize that we were not going to join the Utah Salt Flats Racing Assoc. ( at the “World of Speed” for the second year in a row. Despite all the efforts put into the car and the engine, our low-budget project did not come together on time.

Too bad! From what we hear, the 2014 “World of Speed” was an outstanding event. Motorcycle racer and team owner, Valerie Thompson, set her 7th land speed record on her CTEK sponsored BMW S 1000 RR. Thompson made her first pass at 209.85 mph and the return run was 207.71 mph for an average speed of 208.81 mph, high enough to take the record in the MPS-6-1000 class and put her in the 200 mph class. Another record was set by a race team closer to home, on Sept. 7, when Milwaukee Midget Racing’s MG Midget established a new course record of 122.539 mph for the I/GT class. This was the oldest standing record in the GT category. It stood unbeaten for over 22 years.

Work on the “Silver Streak” Firebird is continuing, with hopes of taking the car back to the “World of Speed” in 2015.





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.






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  ( to begin with. Too bad the old Newman & Altman Catalogs we have in the literature collection are so far out of date.