Blue Ribbon Concours cars spilling out of their blue-roped parameters. Enough orange "for sale" signs calling from windshields to shame an orange grove. More pre-registered show cars than ever before. And more chicken dinners sold. Yes, preliminary reports show the Iola Old Car Show was bigger and better than ever.
Joan Schultz, executive director of the Iola Old Car Show, saw several reasons for the increased attendance and show car count at the event, held July 12-15 in Iola, Wis.
"We had a nice crowd here for the 35th anniversary display and presentation of a painting to Chet Krause," Schultz said, referring to a painted given to the Krause, the event's founder, in a ceremony that marked the 35th anniversary of the show.
Nine past Iola Old Car Show poster cars were circled around Krause for the ceremony, as were two vehicles that were part of the first car show held in Iola. One of those cars, a Model T owned by Cal Preuss, was not only at the first car show, but it was also a past poster vehicle.
Schultz also noted that having the Jess Ruffalo family's cars in the Blue Ribbon section of the show for the last time may have also created a draw. Among the 16 cars displayed by the Ruffalo collection were a 1961 Buick convertible, 1959 Dodge two-door hardtop, 1958 Dodge two-door hardtop and the event's poster car, a 1957 Chrysler New Yorker convertible. These flashy 1950s cars were angled on the front corner of the F+W Publications building lawn, just as they have been for years. Ruffalo passed away earlier this year, and his family intends to sell the cars in Mecum and Barrett-Jackson before the 2008 Iola event.
The gigantic, 4,400-space swap meet is also one of the Iola Old Car Show's big draws, but a special display of Dave and Marlese Lindsay's Duesenberg with Murphy convertible sedan coachwork and a gold-and-white 1957 Plymouth Belvedere two-door hardtop owned by the '57 Heaven museum in Branson, Mo., were circled with onlookers throughout the show. The Plymouth was brought to the show by Bob Schmidt, curator of '57 Heaven, and as a twin to the buried Tulsarama! Plymouth, was displayed next to the unearthed Plymouth at the Tulsarama festivities.
In addition to their Duesenberg, the Lindsay family also brought a selection of Packards to the Blue Ribbon Concours, including a 1934 Packard Super Eight convertible victoria, 1931 Packard dual-cowl phaeton and 1937 Packard Twelve sedan. Their cars were joined by several hundred other show-quality vehicles.
"The Blue Ribbon [Concours] was fantastic," Schultz said. "We were panicking for spots on Saturday."
To save your own space for the 2008 event, to be held July 10-13, call the Iola Old Car Show at 715-445-4000 or go to www.iolaoldcarshow.com. Sun lovers will love the 2008 event's roadsters, ragtops and rumble seats theme.