The 2015 Iola Old Car Show will be held July 9-11 in Iola, Wis. For this year’s event, show organizers have assembled a slate of great displays and new activities to keep the show exciting. Here are just a few of the highlights of the show, which complement the enormous swap meet Iola is also known for.
‘Counting Cars’ TV star at Iola
Ryan Evans, the senior airbrush artist at Count’s Kustoms and a star on the History Channel’s hit TV show “Counting Cars” will be visiting the Iola Old Car Show. Evans will be attending the show courtesy of Vintage Works, a hobbyist’s source for professional services such as sandblasting, powder coating, machining and metal fabrication.
1973 Chrysler Newport giveaway car
A big, beautiful 1973 Chrysler Newport will be given away during the Iola Old Car Show’s new “Super Saturday” activities. The Chrysler will be presented to one winning attendee by its donor, the non-profit Rawhide Boys Ranch of New London, Wis. The Chrysler is a one-owner car with two build sheets. Iola Old Car Show visitors will have a chance to win the Chrysler by simply completing an entry form in the “Teamed to Learn” exhibit tent during the show.
There’s more! Several additional supporters of the Iola Old Car Show have partnered to give away a host of other great prizes, as well. Coker Tire, the S.S. Badger, Ho-Chunk Casino, Miller Electric, General Beer and Mitsubishi and Shoemaker Electric have each donated prizes to be given away after the Old Cars Weekly and IOLA ’15 Pass-in-Review parade, which begins at 3 p.m.
Don ‘Big Daddy’ Garlits & Swamp Rat
Don “Big Daddy” Garlits is a living and still-racing legend. The world-famous drag racer innovated from behind the wheel, and one of those cars to sport his innovations is Swamp Rat 12-A. This dragster was built in 1967 with a 137-inch-wheelbase chassis as an experiment. Garlits admitted it was a failure on the track. He sold it, then bought it back in 1987. Again, it then sat. In 2007, “MoPar called me to see if I would like to build a 6.4 (liter), late-model Hemi blown-fuel engine. I did and installed it into Swamp Rat 12-A,” Garlits said.
Garlits will be on hand with his Swamp Rat 12-A dragster, which he’ll fire up multiple times on Friday and Saturday during the show. It will lead several “cackstarts” with other period dragsters during the Iola Old Car Show from its place near the “Theme Tent.”
Pace Cars & Race Cars Display
Given Wisconsin’s huge role in racing, the “Pace & Race” was a natural idea for the gigantic event. Dozens of race cars and dozens of pace cars pre-registered for the Theme Area of IOLA ’15. Among the race cars, look for a 1914 Indian board track racer, a 1923 Packard Indy 500 racer, a 1970 Buick GS State 2 race car, a 1952 Cunningham C3 race car and many other restored racers. There will also be a small display of “barn find” period race cars that still show the battle scars from their heyday on the track.
The pace car display includes many cars that actually paced the race at the Indianapolis 500, plus a huge selection of Indy 500 pace car replicas. There will also be a unique Corvair pace car used on a racetrack back in the day.
11-mile 1963 Chevrolet Impala
When Gary Leidich bought his 1963 Chevrolet Impala in September 2013, a thick layer of dust and dirt belied the fact it had just 11 miles on the odometer. The Janesville, Wis.-built Impala was one of 50 unsold new Chevrolets stashed by Pierce, Neb., car dealer Ray Lambrecht beginning in the 1950s.
Lambrecht’s collection of “new old” Chevrolets was auctioned in September 2013, and since buying the car at that auction, Leidich has thoroughly cleaned the Impala and made it run. He looks forward to sharing the car at the 2015 Iola Old Car Show and learning more about it from show attendees who may have had a hand in building the car at the Janesville assembly plant.
60-mile 1973 Ford Mustang
When Ford announced it would stop building Mustang convertibles at the end of the 1973 model year, a Wisconsin Mustang convertible owner ran out and ordered a new one as back up to her 1966 and 1968 Mustang convertibles. She never needed the 1973 Mustang convertible — she’s still driving her 1968 droptop. In 2014, she sold her unused 1973 Mustang convertible with 37 miles on the odometer. The new Wisconsin owner has since accumulated a couple dozen more miles on the odometer, and it now reads 60 miles. The unrestored 1973 Mustang will be featured next to the low-mileage 1963 Impala convertible in the “Teamed to Learn” tent.
A prototype from America’s newest car company will debut to Iola Old Car Show attendees.
The Elio P4 prototype will be displayed at the Iola Old Car Show near the “Teamed to Learn” tent by Jerome Vassallo, vice president of sales for Elio Motors of Phoenix, Ariz. Vassallo will be passing out information and answering questions while allowing show attendees to try on the Elio prototype for size.
In association with the Iola Old Car Show, Old Cars Weekly will present a Pass-in-Review parade at 3 p.m. on Saturday during the event. The parade will feature many of the show cars in the Blue Ribbon Concours, Theme Tent and other areas of the show. Many of the cars to be featured in the Pass-in-Review are previous Old Cars Weekly cover cars, or will be soon.
The Pass-in-Review will be held between the Iola Old Car Show Activity Center and the Old Cars Weekly office building, adjacent to the “Theme Tent.”
‘Class of ’64’ factory lightweight drag cars
Star quarterbacks from the MoPar and Ford campuses will be part of a special “Class of ’64” display in the “Pace & Race” Theme Tent of IOLA ’15. Seth Rohde will be bringing two MoPar factory drag cars — a 1964 Plymouth drag raced as “The Hairbender” and a 1965 Dodge originally raced as “The High and Mighty.” Both cars are very rare and sport the new-for-1964 Hemi performance engine.
Jack Hazelgren will be bringing “The Little Rattler,” a 1964 Ford Thunderbolt. The coupe packs a 427-cid Ford V-8 and represents the mid-size factory Ford lightweight race cars that tore up racetracks across the country in ’64, sometimes competing with the Hemi lightweights like those owned by Rohde.