In 1980, Mark Wadzinski helped his brother restore a 1956 Chevrolet Two-Ten four-door sedan and the duo promptly drove it to the Iola Old Car Show. His brother hasn’t missed a show since with his ’56, and the experience left Wadzinski with an inkling to enjoy the Iola Old Car Show from behind the wheel of his own ’56 Chevy. In 2004, Wadzinski fulfilled his ambition to bring his own ’56 to the show in Iola, Wis., and he has done so three times since — even though he lives in Bellevue, Wash., which is more than 2,000 miles away!
“I purchased her on July 5, 2004, in Minot, N.D., and the first thing I did was drive her to Wisconsin for Iola,” Wadzinski recalled. “The evening we left for Iola, we came up to the garage to see that the radiator had burst. 30 minutes later, we had it changed.”
Wadzinski plans to participate in the “Four for ‘14” theme area of this year’s Iola Old Car Show, a journey that takes three days in one direction.
“I made the trip two years ago to Iola and put 5,200 miles round trip on the car,” he said. “That included a lot of cruising around in the Twin Cities and in Wisconsin for the three weeks I was back there.”
Whenever Wadzinski and his brother show up in their ’56s Chevys, they draw attention. The cars are slightly different — Wadzinski’s car is a Crocus Yellow and Laurel Green Two-Ten Sport Sedan and his brother’s is a red-and-white Two-Ten four-door sedan — yet the cars have earned the duo the good-natured nicknames of “Four-Door Freaks” and “Bug Screen Brothers” for the protective screens at the front of their cars.
Of the two 1956 Chevrolets, Wadzinski’s Sport Sedan (four-door hardtop) is the rarer of the pair. Just 20,021 were built that year compared to 283,125 of the Two-Ten four-door sedan, the number-one-selling Chevrolet in 1956.
“This was the first year for the Chevrolet and Pontiac versions of a four-door hardtop,” Wadzinski said. “The model (of my car) is a Two-Ten, which makes it really rare; most four-door hardtops were Bel Airs.”
Wadzinski was able to learn some of the history of his rarely seen ’56 Chevy. Chevrolet manufactured the car in January 1956 and it was used in Velva, N.D., after it was bought from Burgess Chevrolet in April 1956. It made its way to Minot, where Wadzniski bought it in 2004, about a week before that year’s Iola Old Car Show.
The car was well-optioned with a Power Pack 265-cid V-8 and Powerglide automatic transmission. It now carries 41 factory dealer-installed accessories and options, including Autronic-Eye, a continental kit, trim “birds” atop the front fenders, full rocker trim, outside rearview mirrors, wire wheel covers, bumper guards and many other “goodies.”
Many of those parts have been added in the decade Wadzinski has owned the car.
During the time he’s owned the car, Wadzinski has also improved the car’s outside and inside. All of the car’s components have been rebuilt, repolished or been re-chromed, he said, but the car has always been on the road during the car show season.
“I would do only what I could afford to do both time- and dollar-wise and still be able to drive it in the summer,” Wadzinski said.
Wadzinski will be showing off the car’s latest upgrades when the car is displayed in the Theme area of this year’s Iola Old Car Show. Look for the family’s cars near the Theme Tent, and be sure to lend a hand with de-bugging all those bugs from out west.