Gunners Garage

A TRIP TO SEE AMERICA'S SPORTS CAR

I took a nice 430-mile trip from Iola to Effingham, Ill., today to attend Mid America Design’s CORVETTE FUNFEST. Interesting journey.

About 50 miles from home I stopped at a rest stop to get a bottle of water. In the truck parking area was a trailer loaded with a red ’69 Plymouth GTX that I found out was going to the Jefferson (Wis.) swap meet this weekend. The owner is a semi driver who has a Mopar Collection and he wants $36K for his GTX hardtop, which has the 440 6-Pak engine. If you’re looking for such a car it will be at Jefferson and he sounded like he is a motivated seller.

Inside the rest stop someone called my name. It was Paul Katzke who used to sell ads for Old Cars Weekly. In case any of you were wondering what Paul is up to, it turns out he is now a supervisor working for the state agency that takes care of highway rest stops. He also runs a car show each June in Portage, Wis. He said, “Yeah, my show is doing well; I lost less money this year than I did the year before.” Any old friends of Paul may want to think about attending his show next June.

As I’ve mentioned I’ve been into Indian motorcycles lately — as well as Indian look-alikes. Just north of Madison, Wis. a biker on a modern Gilroy Indian (made in Gilroy, Calif. from 1999 until 2005 or so) blew by me. His skirted-fender motorcycle looked great and it could really go. I wish I could ride like he did – although I wouldn’t go as fast (who am I kidding?)

Finally got to Effingham at 6 pm on the nose. Caught a little of the event’s very first all-Corvette auction. This year is more or less a test, but look for this event-within-an-event to be back next year and much bigger. I am looking forward to tomorrow when thousands of Corvettes will be arrayed alongside the cornfields surrounding the Mid America corporate campus down here.

Which reminds me, on the trip down I got off the Interstate in Bloomington-Normal and took state highways and smaller roads through Decatur and a bunch of smaller towns. There were cornfields everywhere and it was a beautiful afternoon once some rain clouds cleared out. I felt like Arlo Guthrie looking out the windows of The Spirit of New Orleans as the train chugged across the American heartland. And I couldn’t help thinking how odd it is that a world-known Corvette parts business thrives down here in farm country. But then again, the Corvette is “America’s sports car!”

 

 

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