Author Archives: John Gunnell

Royal treatment

  Once Pontiac set out to become General Motors high-performance division around 1959, it needed a dealer to build racing cars. Ace Wilson’s dealership was near the factory and Jim Wangers talked him into the new job. The whole story about this is in Wangers’ must-read book Glory Days. Royal took factory stock Pontiacs,...

Could It Be?

  In 1974 we drove a 1953 Pontiac to the second annual convention of the Pontiac Club (www.poci.org), that was held in Wichita, Kansas. In 2014, we drove a different 1953 Pontiac to the 42nd annual POCI convention. A lot of things have changed in 40 years—but maybe not everything. Back in 1974, Byron...

“Studie-ous”

  I’ve got to hand it to the Studebaker Drivers Club (www.studebakerdriversclub.com)—the organization does a great job keeping the passion for those South Bend buggies alive. We were recently in a meeting where the size of various car clubs came up and someone said that SDC had 14,000 members. According to their Website, the...

Back From the ‘50s

Our travels recently took us to the Pontiac club (www.poci.org) show in Wichita, Kan. We drove the ’53 Catalina down to Kansas, heading out to Albert Lea, Minn., and then traveling south on I-35 nearly all the way to our destination. Forty years ago we drove a ’53 Pontiac Chieftain sedan there. This time...

Friday Evening Fun

  Although I live in Iola where Old Cars weekly is headquartered, my restoration shop business Gunner’s Great Garage is located 15 miles to the east in Manawa, Wis. The city of Manawa has a downtown revitalization program going and as part of it the city will host car shows in downtown Manawa every...

All Dressed Up

We went to out first old car show around 1959 at a very old-fashioned drive-in restaurant on Staten Island, N.Y. called Al Deppe’s. Actually, the show was across the street at the Kiwanis Club. This was so long ago, that during the show, my brother and I went over to an empty lot next...

Quite a busy old car day in the Hartford area

  It was a busy morning. We were on our way to Jackson, Wis., to pick up a squash-colored MG Midget to bring it north for some engine work. We had also made plans to deliver two Triumph Spitfire distributors to a friend, Jim Rugowski, who said he was going to a car show...

Carl and Fay Keller showed their Packard 250 convertible.

Drivin’ to the home of Four Wheel Drive

When we started driving to Clintonville, Wis., on Friday night May 16 it was raining. Luckily the precipitation let up before we got to the historic home of the Four Wheel Drive Company. Clintonville is where the first four wheel drive trucks were invented. There are a lot of automotive experts in the area...

The Colemans Commeth

  In 1916, Harleigh Holmes patented his designs for front-wheel and four-wheel drive systems and founded Holmes Motor Co. in Littleton, Colo., to build four-wheel-drive trucks. In April 1921, following a heavy snowstorm, Holmes rescued a man from Creek Canyon with one of his four-wheel-drive trucks. That same year, Holmes’s company became Plains Motor...

Proof that automotive history can be fun is the big smiles on everyone attending the WSAH annual meeting at the Wisconsin Automobile Museum.

WSAH joins “Wheels” to video Gene Grengs

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for us. It started with a visit to the Wisconsin Automobile Museum in Hartford, Wis., where we dropped in on the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Society of Automotive Historians. The big news from the WSAH is that it joined forces with Green Bay TV personality...