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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What A Great Hobby This Is
August 27, 2007
Old-car collecting, old-car restoring, old-car driving or whatever you call it is a wonderful hobby. And it’s the people, not the cars, that make it so. Over the weekend, I set off for the Masterpiece of Style & Speed concours in Milwaukee in my “street condition” MG-TF. A few miles down the road I passed cars heading in the opposite direction to the Waupaca Hot Rod Show. Wave…wave…wave again. Then my car started acting up. It was backfiring and sputtering, but I kept going. I thought I was going to get stuck at a Citgo in Allenton, Wis. A man and his wife came by and saw I was having problem. They said their friend Ross owned a restoration shop right up the road. I know Ross Obermeyer. I met him at the Masterpiece last year. Small world. But the car kept going, so I did, too. I finally backfired my way to the Milwaukee lakefront and Carroll Jensen let me sneak the car in to club day on Staurday, though I was hours late. Several collectors I had met at other shows helped me clean my fouled spark plugs. Unfortunately, the car was still acting bad. I belong to the MGMGMG club in Milwaukee and was smart enough to bring the roster with me. I called Bill Hentzen and he told me to call Ed Kauffman. At 76 years of age, Ed has been driving MGs for 40 years and knows the cars. He changed the rotor and discovered that the points had closed up. When I asked Ed where I could get a hotel nearby, he said, “Heck, stay here and you can go back to the show tomorrow.” The next day the car ran a lot better, but as I drove downtown I found it was idling too high. When I got to the Sunday concours, I twisted the idle screws down equally and lowered the revs a bit. Then, I ran into Rollie Peterson and Jim Wagner of the Zero-to-60 Garage in Sherwood, Wis. and asked them to check my carb settings. All afternoon I met old friends and made new friends. It was a great event. Afterwards, I made arrangements to meet Jim Rogowski so I could travel home convoy style with he and Breezy, Chad and Erica to make sure I didn’t get stuck. Since we were both leaving the show grounds in opposite directions, we decided to meet in the parking lot. I got there first and pulled up beside a truck pulling a red trailer. The man and woman rolled down their passenger window, leaned over and said in unison, “We read your blog!” Heck, even on my way out I was making friends! Great hobby!