Author Archives: John Gunnell

Bring your vintage racing car to Iola!

Race Cars and Pace Cars

My friend Ralph Kramer, who was Chevrolet’s Director of Public Relations for many, many years, grew up as an Indiana farm boy. In 1955, when he was about 12 years old, he and his friends decided to spend the Memorial Day weekend at the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. They traveled to the “Brickyard” —...

On Sept, 7, 2014, Milwaukee Midget Racing established a new Bonneville 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.

2014 Bonneville Racing Season Report

The 2014 Bonneville Racing Season was intended to be a celebration of 100 years of Speed on the Salt. It seems that the 2014 weather did not cooperate with all of the planned events. Both events organized by the Southern California Timing Assoc. (SCTA) and Bonneville Nationals, Inc. (BNI) were cancelled due to rain...

Members of the All American Oakland club (jumbodog54@sbcglobal.net) toured the Larry Smith car collection in Wichita, Kansas last summer.

Hobbyists Helping Hobbyists

  Most old car clubs are suffering these days. Some say it’s due to the “graying” of the hobby and young people not liking cars. I don’t know if that’s 100 percent true, but I do know that people in general aren’t “joiners” anymore. Whether it’s a snowmobile event I help out with or...

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

This Bird Has Flown

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...

This vendor at the 2014 Iola Old Car Show (www.iolaoldcarshow.org) got lots of laughs with his googly eyed Chevy truck.

Vendor Laffs

When we first got involved in the old-car hobby in 1972, we tried being a flea market vendor. It was a lot of work to load and unload the merchandise we were trying to sell. For the most part, sitting in a field or parking lot hoping for a sale was boring. To top...

Our car building at home is getting really crowded.

Been Sick

Our last blog was posted in mid-August, but we’ve actually been sick since the last day in July. We made it through a month in the hospital and have a long recovery ahead. Things like this lead us to reflect on the direction our life was going in before reality caught up with us....

Ron Eggelseer of Rubicon, Wis., is the proud owner of this 1953 Cadillac convertible, which had a continental kit at the rear.

The secrets to Appleton Auto Show’s success

  What made the one-day July 20, 2014 Appleton Auto Show (www.applewtonoldcarshow.com) so big this year? A lot of organizers of other hobby events would like to know why the number of participating show cars seemed to suddenly grow by several hundred cars. The trend for most shows today is fewer show cars and...

When Larry Fechter of www.IolaOldCarShow.com was asked about how this Chevy truck was put on the fake mountain, he didn’t know for certain.

Chevy on the Mountain

  The question I was asked the most after the 2014 Iola Old Car Show was “How did they get the Chevy on the mountain?” The people who asked that were mystified b how a new Chevrolet pickup truck was hoisted on top of a fake mountain about 15 ft. high. The dark blue...

When Larry Fechter of www.IolaOldCarShow.com unearthed this untouched “barn find” Road Runner it had Keystone mags mounted.

Keystone “Cops”

  Are you kidding me? I heard something about certain magazines not wanting to run photos of nice muscle cars because they had Keystone mags or Cragar wheels in place of factory rims. Back in the real muscle car era, when GTOs, Cobras and Super Bees were new, nobody wanted a car with factory...

Halibrand magnesium wheels are another throwback item.

A Real Champ Car

This little racing car is a real “Champ Car” because it has a 1940 Studebaker Champ engine. It is called the F. Davi Engineering, Hillegass Studebaker Special. It is a full midget racing car from the prewar era and also raced as a dirt tracker. After sitting for 30 years, the car was resurrected...