50th Grinnell Show & Shine draws a record 279 vehicles

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J.O. Parker

Kristina Hoien’s  beautiful white 1966 Chevrolet Impala convertible wasn’t just any car at the 50thGrinnell Show & Shine Car Show held Saturday, Aug. 26 at Central Park, it had special meaning to her.

It was there in memory of her late husband, Tim, who passed away in January.

Perched in the front seat was a photo of Kristina and Tim.

“It was a project car,” said Kristina, who lives near Brooklyn. “I have the new interior in my basement.”

Kristina said being at the car show was special to her, but also bittersweet, since she lost her husband of 11 plus years. She is also selling the car.

“I’ve never done this by myself,” she said. “He (Tim) would be proud.”

Around the block was a 1914 Apperson Jack Rabbit Touring Car owned by brothers, Jay De Young of New Sharon and Lee of Chicago.

The car, which has been in the family since day one, was manufactured by the Apperson Bros. Automobile Company in Kokomo, Ind. It features the original six cylinder engine, interior and all-white spare tire on back. And it runs!

Jay, who spent part of the day polishing the Apperson, was more than happy to talk to onlookers and those curious enough to stop and ask about the car. It was the oldest car at the show, outside of the Grinnell Fire Department’s 1913 LeFrance Fire Engine.

“Let me tell you about this car,” Jay said as he smiled.

The touring car was originally purchased new by Jay and Lee’s father’s great uncle from the Shee Company in the Ottumwa/Oskaloosa area. When the great uncle passed away in the early 1930s, his two daughters took ownership of the Apperson.

“They kept it until World War II came along,” recalled Jay.

            The car almost ended up in the scrap heap during the war years, Jay said, but the sisters said no and kept the car. They later sold it to a cousin for what the scrap dealer offered.

            Jay and Lee’s dad took ownership of the car in 1950. Their dad got the Apperson from his brother and the boys’ uncle, who got it from the sister’s cousin.

That same year, the boys’ mother bought new Firestone tires and they are still on the vehicle 70 plus years later.

“The tread has the words “no skid” embedded in it,” said Jay.

            The tires that were replaced had overalls stuffed in the them instead of air.

            After the war, the boys’ dad and a friend rebuilt the engine in a corn crib. Everything else is all original.

            “Dad and I and my brother have been bringing the Apperson off and on to the Grinnell Show & Shine since 1976,” said Jay. The Apperson received the Best Original Car trophy at the show.

“The old girl is a lot of fun,” said Jay as he talked about the family heirloom.

The Grinnell Show & Shine featured all makes and models of cars. Some had been modified and others were in original condition. There were motorcycles, vans, trucks, convertibles, Model Ts, coups, all with a story to tell.

“What a nice turnout,” said Curt Jones of Newton, who brought his 1978 Ford Cobra Mustang II to the Grinnell Show & Shine.

“The car show is a good way to support the community and meet new people.”

“It’s one of the nicest car shows I’ve been at,” said Darryl Hull of Grinnell.

Mark and Marsha Patterson of Gillman had their 1965 Ford on display at the show and enjoyed meeting people and talking about the car.

“We are super impressed,” said Marsha of the car show. “The turnout is fantastic. The show celebrated its 50th year…how cool is that? It was very well organized and we were very happy to place in the Top 40 with our Mustang.”

Bill Hammen of Grinnell didn’t have a car at the show, but he was more than happy to talk about a Ford Model TT (ton truck) owned by Ken Knox, who was at the show.

The Model TT, which used a hand crank to start, was designed to haul one ton of grain.

“I got to learn to drive a Model T in this truck,” said Bill, as he explained that the truck was equipped with a hand brake and various other features.

“It’s like learning to drive all over.”

The Model TT will be on display at the Grinnell Ag Appreciation Day Celebration on Thursday, Aug. 31, also at Central Park.

Bill, who is on the Grinnell Historical Society Board, also talked about a 1931 Ford A400 convertible owned by Frank and Betty Haker that was at the show. The Ford is one of 138 registered in the United States. Also on display and of interest to Bill was a 1926 Ford Roadster that he enjoyed talking about.

Glen Tiedeman of Swisher enjoyed showcasing his 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda at the Grinnell Show & Shine. Glen, who bought the car 15 years ago, has attended around 20 car shows this year and was headed for a show in Dubuque the next day. The Cuda was one of the Top 40 at the car show.

“That’s not too bad out of 279 vehicles,” said Glen.

When asked, Glen said the Grinnell show is well run.

“There is a good variety of cars and a lot of high-dollar ones,” he said.

Also in attendance was Robert Latting of Grinnell. Robert was one of the four Grinnell residence and business owners who started the car club and show 50-years ago.

The others were the now late Don Matthews, Fred England and Art Wells.

“When we saw each other, we talked about cars, so we decided to form a club,” said Robert.

The four men held the club’s first car show in 1973 by the high school. There were seven or eight cars on display, all owned by club members.

“I’ve always said to people after 50-years, I’m going to retire,” said Robert, who was at the show with his son and family members. “I’m going to have to think about that.”