Although I bought a ’63 Chrysler 300 when I moved to Iola, I did not consider it a collector car then. For me it was too new. In fact, one time I drove it to Champagne-Urbana, Illinois to see a collector car dealer who was willing to take it on even trade for a 1941 Pontiac. I think I should have done that deal, but I didn’t. The first car I did buy in Wisconsin that I considered collectible was the ’36 Pontiac Deluxe Six Touring Sedan that appears in my OLD CARS WEEKLY ad today. I had seen the same model, except with dual sidemounts, on the cover of several old car magazines in the late ’70s and I fell in love with the Art Deco styling. So one night the OCW staff went to an auction in Rockford and as we drove in, the ’36 Pontiac rolled out of the tent. It had not sold. I found out it belonged to a man named Patrick who was working for the auctioneer. He told me it would be OK to buy it from him, so I called the First National Bank in Iola and they gave me the green light to buy it. We parked it by the OLD CARS trailer and the auctioneer came around. I was pretty innocent and did not realize that the auctioneer was after a commission on the sale. I guess he waited until the end of the auction and then told Patrick he was going to have to pay the same percentage as everyone else. Patrick probably made very little after paying that fee. I told myself I would send him $50 when I got home with the car. Since I was driving the company Suburban and pulling the trailer, I let Ken Buttolph drive the Pontiac home. When I got back I anxiously went to the storage garage to see my car and I noticed that there were 16 empty oil cans in the back seat! Needless to say, I did not mail $50 to Patrick. OLD CARS EDITOR Tony Hossain was sure that he had seen my car before. He came up with what looked like a picture of it in a tractor advertisement. Since the tractor company was located in the area, it seemed likely that it was my car in the ad, but I never confirmed it. A few years ago, Pontiacs were featured at the Iola Old Car Show and Patrick came to that event. He looked me up and said, “I wasn’t too happy the day you bought that car, but I am happy to see it here and glad I sold it to you, because you have taken pretty good care of it for all those years.” I thought that was nice to hear.
Gunner’s Garage with John Gunnell
"Gunner" is one of of the most prolific authors and most visible characters in the old car hobby. He has written dozens of books about old cars for Krause Publications and is the former editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. His collecting pursuits range from old Pontiacs, to MGs, to retired police cruisers, to Indian motorcycles. He remains a frequent contributor to Old Cars Weekly and owns and operates Gunner’s Great Garage, a classic car restoration and gift shop in Manawa, Wis.
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