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Classics already lining up for car club show Sunday

Some classics will be out front while their owners work behind-the-scenes.

They'll join the impressive display of vintage vehicles provided by organizers of this Sunday's Beldenville Old Car Club Show. The 29th annual show on the Pierce County Fairgrounds in Ellsworth begins at 8 a.m.

"We usually get anywhere from 500 to 750 cars and trucks," John Losgaard of the club said Wednesday.

A preview sampling of the attractions the public can expect during the show appeared outside the car club's building at the fairgrounds last week, supplied by those working members and arranged by Losgaard. The variety ranged from his own 1929 Model A Roadster replica to a 1972 Chevrolet Impala.

To carry a collector's plate, a vehicle has to be at least 20-years-old, he said; for an antique plate, it must be at least 30. Under the special plate on his 1929 Shay as part of the holder is a "car graveyard marker" engraved with Losgaard and wife Barb's names, made by Lowell Bystrom.

But the Shay has plenty of life left in it. He said the replica built by Ford 26 years ago carries 5,500 original miles. It features all the old-time accessories, including a rumble seat, plus several new ones, such as turn signals and four-wheel disc brakes.

Although the car was sold through Ford dealerships, he bought this one from a private owner, Losgaard said. It had been cared for by the late Bill Carr of Ellsworth, whose wife Ann agreed to sell it to him after her husband died.

"I'd been trying to buy it for four years," he said, adding he thought the purchase made an ideal gift for he and his spouse's 39th wedding anniversary.

The Shay's fiberglass contrasted with the all-steel body of a 1930 Ford Model A two-door sedan parked next to it, owned by Doug Stockwell. No replica, this set of historic wheels with a four-cylinder engine above has 63,000 original miles. Stockwell said an admirer who'd climbed underneath the restored '30 to take a closer look told him everything on it is "correct."

The present owner knew the Sebion boys drove it when it was much newer.

"I rode in it when I was 13- or 14-years-old," he remembered, showing a looped device on the headliner George Sebion had used as a "hat rack."

Since then, Jerry Radkey bought it in 1961 or '62, Stockwell said. A couple of years ago, he got it from Butch Gilbertson.

The 1949 Studebaker Commander shown by John Geister nearby represents a departure for its owner. Geister's mostly been into Chevys when it comes to classics, having a '57 Chev ever since he graduated from high school and also owning a '58.

He got the Studebaker five years ago in Osseo, from a young man who'd originally bought it for his father, said the 35-year club veteran. The whitewall-tired Commander is nonetheless a common man's car, powered by a flathead six. Appointments from the past include suicide doors and a visor over the windshield.

A blend of the old and new is embodied by Dick Dukakis' 1954 Ford pickup. Shortly after he got it at an estate sale in the Twin Cities five years ago, he had it repainted light yellow. Then, the former Marine had symbols of the Corps added, including the official seal, the legend "Semper Fi" and the Stars and Stripes.

"I drive it all the time," he said, noting he has a 1963-1/2 Ford Galaxie at home, too. "I take them to parades."

The mechanical work had already been done on the street cam, according to its present owner. All stock, the stepside pickup contains a straight six with a split manifold that gives it a quiet running sound, he said, aware it will do up to 80 mph. It's outfitted with a hand choke and a hood scoop, among other extras.

The newest in the lineup was driven by Bill Leonard of Plum City. The white-over-red '72 Chevy Impala came from one of Leonard's friends in Iowa County 10 years ago, he said. A cousin's boy did the body work, for which new panels were bought. A 350 engine is under the hood.

"It's a nice cruisin' car," he said.

Leonard, who's responsible for the swap spot during the car club show, owns several classics. He also has a '31 Chevy, a '50 Studebaker and a '61 Thunderbird.

Sunday's show will offer 15 classes and 78 trophies. Besides cars and trucks from the past, there will be an antique tractor display and farm toy show.

New this year to the array of refreshments will be homemade ice cream by Jerry Van Heukelom; returning favorites are Al's Kettle Corn, Stockwell's Maple Treats, plus roast pork sandwiches, lunch and beverages. Breakfast will be available Sunday morning.

For more information, phone 273-5552, 273-5864 or 1-800-4-Pierce.