Author Archives: John Gunnell

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...

Rambler wagon had its eye punched out.

Kelsey Tire open house: The trip was a “trip”

  During the first weekend in May we took a short 1,300+ mile jaunt down to the Lake of the Ozarks area to attend an open house at Kelsey Tire Co. (www.kelseytire.com). We’ll tell you more about John Kelsey’s 70th birthday party in his now-private car museum over the next few days. The trip...

If the ’83 Eagle Limited wagon returns to Iola, it will fit right into the four-door car theme. We hope to see it and other “quart-port” cars there in July.

Eagle Limited Wagon has 4 doors and 4 x 4

  At first I had my doubts when the Wisconsin Society of Automotive Historians selected the theme for the 2014 Iola Old Car Show (www.iolaoldcarsshow.com). They picked “Four for all in ‘14” to honor four-door vehicles. It was the 50th anniversary of the Mustang—and the GTO, so my initial reaction was why go after...

A good assortment of old exhaust parts books helps Bob find the proper clamps and hangers and other parts.

Bob Andes bends factory exhausts for old cars

  In the back shops of an old-time auto parts store on the main drag in Antigo, Wis., Bob Andres uses his 17-year-old Huth bender to make stock-look exhaust systems he ships all over the country. Bob’s “be-bop” haircut may have a ‘50s look to it, but his pattern cards date back further than...

The Antique Auto Shop restored the prize winning Plymouth coupe.

A Young Man’s Fancy Turn to Plymouth

I have always been amazed by how many men who were around my father’s age had a Plymouth for their first car back in the 1930s. When Chrysler launched the Plymouth, it was a car with looks and features a cut above a Chevy or a Ford. It’s true that the Plymouth lacked the...

Barry and Jewel Jacobs’ 1936 Buick Sport Coupe was seen in the 2013 Great Race from St. Paul, Minn., to Mobile, Ala.

Coupe de Grace

  A nice thing about this year’s Hot Rod & Restoration Show (www.hotrodshow.com) in Indianapolis was that the new owners of the event actually had a number of restored-to-original cars on display.  And since I own a 1936 GM car (a Pontiac Deluxe Six) I could not help falling head over heels in love...

Four-door cars like this Oldsmobile have great appeal to younger car collectors.

Four-Door Flat-top Olds

The Iola Old Car Show (www.iolaoldcarsshow.com) feature exhibit this year will be “Four for all in ‘14” – featuring four-door vehicles. There are two big positives in honoring four-door cars. First, a number of four-door models are unique/ Second, a lot of younger collectors getting into the hobby today find it easier and more...

This is the “American Pickers” headquarters in LeClaire, Iowa. I never watched the show; I went there on my way to the Davenport motorcycle show...

No Captain Video

  I am no Captain Video. I don’t watch TV. Years ago I used to watch a little television when I traveled. These days I don’t need the boredom of TV to put me asleep. Long working days and the aging process have taken care of that. Now I have to worry about dropping...

Here’s Dave Granger’s Henry J racer.

Hot Rod Henrys

  Mark Geske started working at my restoration shop in January and addition to having a lot of car fixing experience, he has a lot of cars himself. Two of them are modified Henry J’s; hot rod versions of a compact car that Kaiser Corporation built in the early 1950s. They are named for...