Author Archives: John Gunnell

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The history of SEMA

SEMA started when Revell model company needed permission to print miniature decals for its car-model kits. At that time there was no organization to deal with auto aftermarket trade problems. Revell suggested using a model makers association as a model for a trade group. That group became known as the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Assoc....

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Which porthole Buick would you pick?

  I get it! Like you pull up to the traffic light in a porthole Buick that looks like it escaped from a Mad Max movie, the light changes, you stomp the 750-hp HEMI hidden under the Buick’s hood and you blow the scissor doors off the poor kid’s tuner car. That fantasy has...

Courtney Hansen with the writer at the New Motorama Show in Green Bay, Wis., last April.

I wouldn’t be surprised

  I wouldn’t be surprised if TV star Courtney Hansen does show up at my “new” Gunner’s Great Garage building someday. I say this because all the pieces to this project have just been falling into place perfectly. But let’s do the flashback thing to explain what I’m talking about. A few years ago...

It took teamwork to put this great-looking Packard hot rod together.

Teamwork

  One thing I learned when I moved from New York City to the Midwest is the importance of teamwork. In New York, everyone wanted to be an individual and a lot of people I knew rarely talked to their neighbors. After I moved ti Iola, Wis., I joined the Volunteer Fire Dept. Little...

This fuzz-trimmed T-bucket was a stand out at the 2015 Cheaterama show.

Fuzz Bucket!

  I was really floored by the fuzzy interior in this Y-Bucket I saw at the Cheaterama in Milwaukee back in August. As much as I hate to admit it, interiors like this are what we dreamed of having in our cars back in the 1960s. Back then people actually liked reading and bought...

Zipties

Tag! You’re it!

At Gunner’s Great Garage (www.gunnersgreatgarage.com) we’ve developed a few simple restoration techniques that we use over and over again. One of them is to tag wiring connections with belt buckle style electrical ties to help us put the wires back in the right places. The wiring ties come in a variety of standard colors...

Over 100 dune buggies attended the Volkswagen Funfest last June.

Dunes day

By John Gunnell   Lately we’ve have heard several car show promoters mentioning that they thought a 1970s theme would be good for their upcoming 2016 events. That made us think about one of the iconic symbols of the ‘70s—the dune buggy. The classic dune buggy is a “frog-like” fiberglass body on a hopped-up...

This 1946 Oldsmobile woodie was in the 2015 Milwaukee Masterpiece

Wondering about a woodie

By John Gunnell   A car you don’t see a lot is a 1946-1948 Oldsmobile woodie station wagon. The Standard Catalog of Oldsmobile 1897-1997 says they made 140 of them in 1946, 1,460 in 1947 and 2,707 in 1948. That means that 4,307 of these wagons were built, but you can’t swear it by...

Postwar Packard grille looks great on the prewar Ford coupe.

Putting on a pretty face

By John Gunnell   As soon as we got to the Cheaterama—a traditional hot rod show in Milwaukee—a burgundy car parked near the entrance caught our eyes. It had the lines of a Ford, but it had put on a pretty face to get a little extra attention from enthusiasts who know a cool...

This 1957 Nomad was a good buy and a great investment.

All new for ’57

By John Gunnell   Chevy’s new-for-1957 models were in tune with their times. They had a hipper, more youthful, tail-finned look that was “radical” for America’s bread-and-butter “family” car. “’57 Chevrolet! Sweet, smooth and sassy,” said one ad. “Chevy goes ‘em all one better for ’57 with a daring new departure in design (looks...