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Friday, 23 June 2017 09:46

Delavan’s Cars Time Forgot: A road trip to the past

Written by  CSI Media staff
Cars Time Forgot car show co-chair Russ Hays works on the Best of Show trophy recently. Plans for the July 9 show are in high gear, with about 1,000 vehicles and roughly 10,000 spectators expected to gather at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. Cars Time Forgot car show co-chair Russ Hays works on the Best of Show trophy recently. Plans for the July 9 show are in high gear, with about 1,000 vehicles and roughly 10,000 spectators expected to gather at Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. Terry Mayer/staff

WALWORTH COUNTY SUNDAY -- Russ Hays has been busy. As co-chair of the Cars Time Forgot car show, he’s lined up vendors, recruited volunteers, answered innumerable questions from potential visitors and exhibitors and given interviews — heck, he even  built the show trophy.

He’ll see all his work come to fruition on Sunday, July 9, 2017 when more than 1,000 show cars, trucks, motorcycles and special interest vehicles are expected to cover the grounds of Lake Lawn Resort in Delavan. This is the sixth year the show has been at the resort after outgrowing its original location in downtown Delavan.

 "It’s a beautiful venue," said Sara Sekeres, executive director of the Delavan-Delavan Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

Sekeres said more than 10,000 spectators are expected to take in the sights of what is one of the best car shows in southern Wisconsin. Cars line up along the Delavan lakefront, offering spectators on land and water a great look at the collectible vehicles.

Camaro turns 50

Some of those attending the show last year got their first taste of Vince Miller’s Camaro collection. There will be even more to savor this year. In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the first Camaros produced in 1967, Vince and Sally Miller will display three of their Camaros at the show.

One of the cars Vince Miller is planning to display is the Dick Harrell SS wide-body version of Camaro named after 1960s drag racing kingpin Dick Harrell, who died in a crash in 1971. He’ll also bring a ZL-1 super car Camaro and his Year One Blackbird (Pontiac Trans Am).

"It’s a pretty cool show that we find interesting," Miller said.

Miller’s collection is up to 15.

"A friend of ours said to me recently that our collection was so neat because it includes at least one Camaro of every edition."

Miller can recite nearly every detail about changes, model updates, major events and history surrounding his beloved Chevys and the circumstances involved in obtaining them.

"I’ve just been a car nut most of my life," Miller said.

Check out the Mystery Machine

This year, there also will be a special showing of the Mystery Machine, the main transportation of Mystery Inc., a franchise introduced as an animated cartoon by Hanna-Barbera in 1969, hence the pop art, mod look to the van.

In this case, you might say the dog made the car special. Scooby Doo and his gang of Fred, Velma, Daphne and Shaggy have their paws all over the Mystery Machine, a 1960s-era panel van painted a medium blue with a distinctive horizontal green stripe and adorned with two orange flowers. Each side of the van has a painted green panel with "THE MYSTERY MACHINE" painted in orange.

The front of the van has a spare tire carrier, painted green, with one large orange flower located in the center. In some versions, (yes, there are more than one of these machines) roof racks protrude to secure further storage, and the van is equipped with green and orange or yellow and orange flowered wheels or hub caps.

Volo Auto Museum in Volo, Illinois, owns a couple of versions of the Mystery Machine, one of which will be at this year’s car show.

The museum’s focus is cars, of which it owns about 400 and buys and sells classic and collector vehicles. Its inventory features numerous exhibits, including cars of the rich and famous, TV and movie cars, antique vehicles, autos of the 1950s, hot rods and customs and muscle cars.

Brian Grams, museum director of entertainment and displays at the Volo Auto Museum, said the Mystery Machine is certainly one of their most iconic vehicles.

"It’s just a fun piece," Grams said.

Putting the fun in funny cars

Car show visitors also will meet funny car driver Barry Bartz, who can spin a funny yarn with the best storytellers.

He will bring that sense of humor and his love for drag racing and funny cars to the show, which has grown into one of the top showcases of classic vehicles in the Midwest.

"Cars Time Forgot is a great show," Bartz said. "The hospitality ... (of) the chamber of commerce, Russ (Hays) and all the organizers has been great. I feel honored and privileged to participate."

Bartz will bring one of his prized possessions, a 1973 Duster, which he calls Mr. Twister after the original Duster Twister that Plymouth introduced as its new trim package in ’71.

It also is the vehicle he has displayed in his appearances at the Cars Time Forgot show in Delavan the last two years, but it was mostly light green.

"I can’t wait to bring it down," the Clintonville resident said. "One of my goals always was to build a funny car but have two or three bodies to go with it. I’ve taken it to exhibit at drag races and people have no idea it’s the same car only with a different body."

This year it also will feature a much different color scheme to go with a new theme depicting the Red Barron, changes that make it fun for Bartz and others.

"The whole idea of having the name Mr. Twister, and now the Red Barron, is because you’re putting on a show for fans," Bartz said. "It gives the car an identity, a signature, and that’s what helps make it so fun."

Hot rod duo returns

Capt’n Bob & Arlo, those two motorheads from Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio, also make a return appearance at the show.

Capt’n Bob and Arlo said the strange and unusual bring new enthusiasts to the car shows, but it’s the combination of cars and people that keeps them interested. It’s the same for the radio show, which led to a website, WisconsinHotRodRadio.com, where the two hosts continue what they started on air. They post car shows and cars for sale or trade.

"It used to be you only heard about car shows when you went to a car show. People would go around with fliers and by the time you left, you’d have a stack," Arlo said. "We’d go through ’em and let people know about them." 

They receive more than 600,000 views per month on the website, with more than 1,000 events listed every year. The show’s website includes a podcast, "Hot Rod Adventures of Capt’n Bob and Arlo," with archived shows also available.

The duo goes on the road quite often during car show season, taking in as many shows as they can — from Detroit’s Autorama to Chicago’s World of Wheels and Horicon’s Motors on the Marsh to the Street Rod Nationals in Kentucky.

At the Cars Time Forgot show, they will be awarding the trophies, talking cars and meeting new friends.

Listen to Hot Rod Radio live from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturdays at WJYI Milwaukee AM-1340.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the show. Mark your calendar for their celebration on Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Wisconsin Automotive Museum in Hartford. Find more information online at WisconsinHotRodRadio.com.

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