Milwaukee Masterpiece Makes Masterful Move

C onquering 8 inches of rain that fell prior to their Aug. 25-26 show dates, the staff of Milwaukee’s “Masterpiece of Style & Speed” moved the classic cars to a new lakeside location and wound up with a concours d’elegance that lived up to its artistic-sounding name for the third year in a row.

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Former Corvette and Harley designer Al Wagner showed this ’63 “split window” coupe. Wagner now operates a Corvette business called An American Classic in a Delafield, Wis., building once owned by car collector Ed Gibes.

In 2005-’06, the cars at the invitational event were arranged in circles on the open grass at Veteran’s Park with the city skyline and Lake Michigan as backdrops. Since the grass was too soggy for traffic this year, the cars were set along an asphalt strip closer to the water, some angle-parked on the firmer grass along one edge and some lined up along a “sea wall” that borders the lake.

Visitors interviewed by Old Cars Weekly liked the change a lot. “The cars on the water side have a picture-postcard look when you photograph them,” said one man. The Milwaukee skyline and waterfront could still be seen to the south.

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The Masterpiece’s muscle car class included this ’69 AMC Hurst SC/Rambler owned by Jordan and Lanette Brill of Kiel, Wis. It has the so-called “B” paint scheme, one of three variations that AMC used on this built-for-dragging car.

The Masterpiece included an open-to-all car show on Saturday, which is called “Club Day,” and members of many collector organizations participated. The Daytona-Superbird and Wing Car Club had its national convention going on in Milwaukee and was invited to participate. The entrants ranged from a partly-in-primer ’68 Dodge Charger to fully-restored capital “C” Classics like Ron De Woskin’s 1930 La Salle Series 340 Fleetlands seven-passenger touring. Some of the Saturday cars were involved in the Sunday concours and some were not. Wisconsin Region Classic Car Club of America members did a luncheon tour and paraded their cars into the park just before the 3 p.m. People’s Choice awards.

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Owner Fred Berndt had a great time telling people that his 1938 Lagonda V-12 Drophead Coupe is actually named for an Indian word for a spring that flows through Springfield, Ohio. Berndt restored the car’s mechanicals.

The invitational event on Sunday had a number of themes, and the concepts behind them reflected a knowledge of automotive history and a passion for milestone designs. The 50th anniversary of the last two-seat T-Bird, the creations of Carroll Shelby and the space-age looks of a three-wheel car called the Fascination were among the styling advances in the spotlight.

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Biff Behr and Lynne Richmond of Bloomingdale, Ill., were the presenters of this 1928 Chevrolet station wagon. It features a Hayes Body Corp. wood-framed huckster-type body on a light-delivery truck chassis.

For genuine Classic car fans, there was a tribute to Gordon Buehrig’s Cord design legacy featuring a 1937 Cord phaeton, a prototype Graham Hollywood phaeton and a one-of-a-kind Hupp Skylark phaeton — three cars made from Cord body dies. In addition, more than a dozen Stutz and HCS cars participated in a “Splendid Stutz” exposition. (HCS was a car built by Harry C. Stutz after he left the company that built cars bearing his famous racing name.)

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Willard Brunkow of Alma,. Wis., brought his 1921 HCS Series II Touring to enter it in The Splendid Stutz event’s “early” class. The initials “HCS” (for Harry C. Stutz) were used on the car Harry built after being driven out of Stutz.

A seminar on collector car corrosion control was presented during The Masterpiece, and also scheduled were “Let me tell you about my car” sessions presented by car owners, who then answered questions. Both judged awards and People’s Choice awards were presented beginning at 2:30. Afterwards, show chairman Leon Flagg announced the Aug. 23-24 dates for the 2008 Masterpiece.

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“The Cord Legacy” featured three cars using the Cord 810/812 body dies. Dave Lindsay’s Burgundy 812 SC phaeton is seen with two prototypes, P. Kenneth Dunshire’s Graham Hollywood and Thomas Hinncz’s Hupp Skylark.