For years, a second set of doors usually constituted a “second class” car in the hobby. Four-doors were simply people carriers lacking the sport of two-door convertibles, hardtops or even coupes. However, as time marches on and buildable two-doors become scarcer and their prices grow steeper, four-doors are finally finding a following.
Even if the lower price and greater supply hadn’t made four-doors more attractive to hobbyists, the reality is that new-car buyers have been opting for four-door utility over two-door sport for decades. On today’s new-car lots, it’s rare to find a two-door offering due to relatively low demand for the body style. So if four-doors are preferred among new-car buyers, it stands to reason they would be gaining popularity among old-car buyers as well. And they are: Many hobbyists who have four-door vehicles for commuting to work are also selecting four-door vehicles for cruising to car shows.
For its July 10-13 event, the Iola (Wisconsin) Old Car Show has prepared a line-up of four-doors that will appeal to everyone. Convertible sedans, limousines, hardtop sedans, dream car four-doors and even a muscle car four-door are slated to attend Iola this year. Following is a preview of just 10 of the incredible cars expected in this year’s Theme area for four-doors, and each will have its proverbial doors wide open to welcome guests — all four of them:
1948 Tucker sedan
All Tuckers are intriguing, but the story of Tucker #1008 is particularly interesting. Its original owner won the car after dropping 35 cents in a VFW raffle held in Missouri, but he had to sell it a short time later. In 2011, Mike Schutta reunited the original owner, Rudy Schroeder, with the restored car, which is now in the Richard H. Driehaus Collection in Chicago. Stephen Murphy, curator of the collection, will be bringing the car to Iola. As one of the early Tuckers, #1008 was a car completed by the factory while Tucker still hoped to market his forward-thinking car.
This car was featured in the Dec. 29, 2011, issue of Old Cars Weekly.
1924 Packard Fleetwood town car
The ultimate symbol of power under a roof was a throne; under the open sky, that symbol may very well be a town car. Only the rich were cradled in such ostentatious machines, but sometimes the mighty fall. Don Hanson’s 1924 Packard Fleetwood-bodied town car had to be rescued from the Michigan dirt when he found it in 1978. After a thorough and lengthy restoration, the car is now an award winner. It will be displayed in all its splendor under the Theme Tent at the 2014 Iola Old Car Show.
This car was featured in the Dec. 16, 2010, issue of Old Cars Weekly.
1929 Duesenberg convertible sedan
Even those snobs who turn up their nose at American cars cannot help but ogle the majesty and superiority of a Duesenberg. Essentially an Indy-bred engine and chassis with a body custom built to the owner’s whim, Duesenberg was considered the finest automobile ever built before or during the Great Depression. It is still among the greatest of all automobiles.
The stunning Duesenberg Murphy convertible sedan that will be returning to the Iola Old Car Show this year is owned by Dave and Marlese Lindsay, and is just one of the many fine Classics the couple annually displays at Iola and beyond.
This car was featured in the Sept. 9, 2010, issue of Old Cars Weekly.
1934 Cadillac V-16 Fleetwood town car
Dave Mitchell’s 1934 Cadillac V-16 is another superb example of the finest chariot in which one could be carried. His town car has a body by Fleetwood and is just one of 60 V-16s of all body types built in 1934, the only year for the unique bi-plane bumpers on a Cadillac.
This car cost more than $9,000 new — an astronomical sum during the Great Depression — and its original owners respected their investment so well that the car retains its original interior and paint. It’s truly an awe-inspiring survivor.
1955 Chevrolet Biscayne GM Motorama dream car
No fiction writer could pen the true-life story of the 1955 Chevrolet Biscayne, a dream car placed on a pedestal at the General Motors Motorama of 1955. There, it mesmerized millions of Motorama visitors with its emerald green paint over a fiberglass body predicting Chevrolet’s future. Under the hood, it sported a chromed-out new V-8 engine. Although the one-of-a-kind concept showcased where Chevrolet was headed, GM sent it to a scrap yard in 1958, when an executive watched the car get diced into pieces. Although the company insisted it be crushed, the yard owners hid it in the yard once the executive left and its pieces were slowly covered with dirt.
Dream car collector Joe Bortz saved it and three other concept cars from the salvage yard in 1988. He excavated the remains, which were a substantial portion of the car, and pieced them back together. Now the Biscayne is mesmerizing a new generation of crowds just as it did in 1955.
This car was covered in various issues of Old Cars Weekly, but featured in the March 21, 2013, issue.
1955 LaSalle II GM Motorama dream car
Along with the 1955 Biscayne, 1955 LaSalle II roadster and 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham Town Car concept cars, the 1955 LaSalle II sedan concept car was to be destroyed at Warhoops, a salvage yard just outside Detroit. Fortunately, the one-off dream car was saved the indignity of being cut up, yet it was subjected to the elements. For 30 years, it was hidden outdoors in the scrap yard among more pedestrian cars until Bortz bought it and the three other concept cars from Warhoops. Today, he displays the intact LaSalle II sedan in unrestored condition as a reminder to its incredible past.
This car has been mentioned in various articles of Old Cars Weekly and recently included with some detail in the March 21, 2013, issue.
1958 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham
Cadillac was king in the 1950s, and when Ford Motor Co. threatened it with an over-the-top-priced coupe, the Continental Mark II, Cadillac countered by bringing the Eldorado Brougham concept cars to market. In a time when an entry-level Cadillac was priced at $4,609, the Brougham was priced at $13,074 — about twice the price of a new Cadillac limousine or Eldorado Biarritz convertible! The price also dwarfed the astronomical $9,966 charged for a Mark II coupe.
A Brougham buyer received an industry-unique stainless-steel roof, a second set of doors and a host of accessories including a perfume container and shot glasses that fit in the glove box door.
Rick Payton is the owner of the exceptional 29,000-mile 1958 Brougham to be displayed at Iola. The car is thoroughly documented and wears just one repaint in its original color. Payton has safely stashed all of the car’s original accessories, which alone are worth tens of thousands of dollars today.
1966 Duesenberg II prototype
In an effort to revive the hallowed Duesenberg name, Fred “Fritz” Duesenberg, son of August and nephew of Fred, teamed up with investors in the mid 1960s to produce a new Duesenberg that was to be grander than the era in which it was built — large, powerful and custom-bodied, just like the original. The coachbuilder was to be Ghia of Italy, but just a prototype was built before the effort crumbled.
That single 1966 prototype for the Duesenberg revival remains in fine original condition, just as Ghia built it, and will take those who see it in Iola’s Teamed to Learn tent back to the mid 1960s when a new Duesenberg was a dream with potential to come true.
This car was featured in various issues of Old Cars Weekly preceding the 2007 indexing of issues.
1966 Dodge Hemi Coronet
Race cars and muscle cars usually have wild graphics or sponsor decals, a clever name or a racy acronym, a hot mill under the hood and two-doors. Usually. Sometimes, those cars are stripped down to be sly like a fox with a mundane exterior and a stripper “taxi” interior to hide the beast lurking beneath the hood. One of those rare examples is Seth Rohde’s 1966 Coronet four-door sedan.
If it wore any other color, the red sedan would look like a taxi or grandma’s go-to church car. Instead, it looks like a fire chief’s car, and with its 426-cid Hemi power, it would beat the fire to its own blaze.
This wolf in sheep’s clothing will be lurking under this year’s Theme Tent of the Iola Old Car Show.
This car was featured in the Aug. 11, 2011, issue of Old Cars Weekly.
1958 Chevrolet Nomad
Few remember that the Nomad line didn’t end with the 1957 model year; it caravan-ed on as a wagon into the 1970s, gaining two more doors and falling in trim level. For 1958, however, the four-door Nomad was the top-of-the-line Chevrolet wagon. Today, it’s an incredibly rare sight.
One of the few 1958 Nomad station wagon survivors — and a desirable one at that — will be returning to Iola ’14 courtesy of owner Gerald Moore of Green Bay, Wis.