For some classic car enthusiasts, the pinnacle of the automotive hobby is taking their polished, rolling gem to the nearest judged show for all to see and admire. While most enjoy this more passive side of the sport, there are some owners that simply want to find the nearest open stretch of highway asphalt and cruise the back roads, using their vintage machine in the manner it was intended for. This simple carefree joy of having a full tank and hearing nothing but the engine rumbling behind you has motivated groups of car enthusiasts for generations to engage in the pastime known merely as ‘cruising’.
One such group is the Illinois Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America. They use the 1896 ‘Run to Brighton, England’ as inspiration for their 51-year running annual cruise from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to Brighton, Wisconsin.
The pastime of cruising the backroads in a classic or antique vehicle is as old as the automobile itself. Its roots can be traced back to 1896 to England when a group of car lovers cruised to the seaside resort of Brighton. After years of oppressive laws imposed by the massive railroad industry, these celebrating enthusiasts took their first step in motoring freedom with the passing of a new law, helping to reduce that outside interference.
While its been over 100 years since, Dick Murray, of the Antique Automobile Club of America explains how the Illinois Region is still keeping that same motoring spirit alive with their annual cruise to Brighton, Wisconsin.
Any discussion of performance automobiles has to include the name Carroll Shelby. Arguably no other man has changed the face of factory performance vehicles more than this Texan race car driver. When health issues forced him off the track in 1960, Carroll turned to designing those high-performance machines that he loved so much. His first effort resulted in the AC Cobra – a lightweight two-seat roadster body powered by a Ford-sourced V8 engine. Impressive race success prompted Ford to approach Carroll in August 1964 about developing a badder version of their fastback Mustang. The result was the 1965 Shelby GT350. Out of the gate, this muscled-up pony hit the ground running, gobbling up track victories and going on to cement Shelby’s name as synonymous with successful race-ready machines. To this day you can still find his name emblazoned on the back of souped-up Mustangs in your local Ford dealership, a testament to a strong heritage of continuing to deliver a high-performance product that delivers on, and off, the track.
It was this date, January 27th, in 1965 that the Shelby GT350 was launched and even now, nearly five decades later, is still one of the most sought-after four-wheeled treasures for collectors everywhere.
For more information on the man Carroll Shelby, head over to www.carrollshelby.comand to learn more about his machines, check out www.shelbyautos.com.
Around his local car club, the Voodoo Kings, Milo Igelsias is known as the ‘Flamethrower Guru’. He’s earned that impressive title by building such extreme setups like the one found on the exhausts of his 1946 Ford Custom Coupe. Not only does his ride spit out tongues of fire, but the wild machine also packs an airbagged suspension, a grafted in Cadillac grille and power Lincoln Continental seats.
Want to know how this build came together? Read our feature story on the Daily Herald.
When Milo Iglesias builds a custom, he goes all out. It may have started off as a rough, primered shell, but now his 1946 Ford Coupe packs a full airbagged suspension, custom pinstriping by Voodoo Larry and wild flame throwers in the exhaust.
With the Mid West preparing for another round of heavy snow, it seemed like the perfect time to be thinking, and dreaming, about all those special places where our favorite classic cruisers get parked to wait out the arctic winter months. One such garage-mahal belongs to classic-car enthusiast John Petras. This is where he keeps his drool-worthy rides, such as a ’66 Candy Apple Red Ford Thunderbird, a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 1957 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight. While he’s waiting for that sweet spring thaw, he cranks up Oldies music on his vintage jukebox (a key element of any great garage) and wastes away those dark winter months until he’s back behind the wheel and hitting the open highway.
Want more details on his vintage auto retreat? Read the special in the Daily Herald.
Our feature story this week is a trick 1946 Ford two-door coupe. Before it was the cool airbagged, flame-throwing custom it is today, it started off as a tired, flat-black shell, stored in a rural Indiana barn. It lacked an engine and full interior but it proved to be just the perfect canvass for hot rod builder Milo Iglesias to work his magic.
Check back to see the full transformation.
In this day and age, its getting harder and harder to find families that keep and preserve special treasures that have endured and been passed on for generations. With the proliferation of Ebay and the multitude of other ways to liquidate those dusty and dirty heirlooms, the harsh reality is that they’re quickly finding their way to new homes and new owners.
Not so with the Byer family. When Henry Byers was a young man in late 1940, he went out to Rockford, Illinois, plunked down his hard-earned cash and purchased for himself a Navajo Blue an Apache Grey ’38 Indian Chief. Henry has since passed, but the ownership of his beloved commuter has been transferred to his brother, Irv, and his son, Al who restored the two-tone machine from the ground up. The father-son duo still ride and enjoy their vintage Indian motorcycle, which has now been cherished by their family for over 70 years. With their unbridled passion for the old cruiser, it’s not going to be leaving anytime soon.
For more details of the restoration and to read the rest of the this two-wheeler’s history, head over to our full story in the Daily Herald.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that jaw-dropping cars don’t just come together overnight and that’s definitely the case with Kevin Callahan’s killer 1970 Pontiac GTO Judge. We caught up with him, as well as Irving Park hot rod builder, Mark Klopack, of Hot Rod Auto Body, at the 2011 Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals, held this past November at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, in Rosemont, IL. We featured the restomod last winter and even included a video interview with both the car owner and builder, highlighting some of the trick components and bodywork on the car.
While the candied Planet Green Goat in its final form was a sure eye-catcher on the crowded show floor, the majority of those ogling spectators never had the chance to fully appreciate the year and a half’s worth of time, talents and energy that went into the labor intensive project.
Before Mark and Kevin ever rolled their polished creation into the packed convention center last fall, Classic Recollections had the chance to stop by Hot Rod Auto nearly a year before that weekend to check in on the progress of the custom Pontiac. When we laid our eyes on it, the still-primered body had been smoothed and prepped to go back into the paint booth but only the interior wore a coat of the mile-deep, glossy hue. Interior pieces and bucket seats of the donor 2005 Pontiac GTO had been fitted but not yet fixed in the cabin and the big block 455ci V8 was underhood, waiting to be started.
Fast forward twelve months and you get the amazing show-spectacle that stopped enthusiasts in their tracks.
We first approached Irv Byers after seeing his stately Navajo Blue and Apache Grey 1938 Indian Chief, later going on to publish a full feature and video on the history and restoration process of the handsome two-tone, two-wheeler. While conducting the photo and video shoot on a crisp Chicago fall day, Irv invited us into his personal garage to check out some of his other vintage engine-powered toys. As it turns out, his regal ’38 isn’t the only motorcycle that he and his gearhead son, Al, have restored, maintain and ride. It just happens to be one of several classic Indians that the wrench-turning guys have in their ever-growing collection. Seeing an opportunity too good to pass up, we quickly set up our cameras and let Irv give a brief overview of how his fleet came to be and some of the highlights found on each of his open-road motoring machines.
In the video, you’ll hear about Irv’s 1941 Sport Scout, 1932 Scout Pony and ultra-rare 1925 ‘wedge-tank’ Prince.
This two-wheeled heirloom has stayed within the Byers family since 1940, ever since the day it was purchased from a dealer in Rockford, Illinois. When its original owner, Henry, lost interest in it sometime during the ’50s, it was relegated to a far corner of the garage and left to languish away. After seeing it for year after year, his brother, Irv, and his young motorcycle-loving son, Al, decided enough was enough and asked Henry for permission to undertake the restoration process. The father-son duo hit the ground running, getting the vintage Indian back into its original condition. It now wears its factory Navajo Blue and Apache Grey two-tone paint scheme – a one year only option. Watch the video to see this machine action, as well as hear Irv detail the multi-year restoration process.
The snow and ice outside doesn’t mean we won’t still dig up the muscle machines tucked away in their warm Chicago-area garages. Keep an eye out for a full-blown feature, including video, in the very near future on this race-ready 1969 Camaro Z/28.
Hey classic car lovers, we’re undergoing some massive construction to make the best spot to catch up on all the restoration and rebuilding news. Check back soon!