Every year on the weekend of Father’s Day, the town of Gering, Nebraska hosts a huge classic car show. The show, in recent years, has attracted car clubs and enthusiasts from around the region with some coming as from as far away as Southern Colorado, Western Montana, and even Ohio and Kansas.
Cars being shown range from rat rods to customized old cars to fully original classics. I usually focus on the classics being shown, the originals that haven’t seen much modification outside of maybe some paint and interior work. I don’t mind the other categories, they just aren’t my thing. This year, about 400 cars were on display at the show and the parking lot yielded a dozen or so more as well. Here are highlight photos from my annual Father’s Day trek to check out what’s being shown in Nebraska.
With wife and kids in tow, satiated by giant snow cones, we walked the aisles of classics and talked with the owners who brought them. These photos are fairly raw, since I took them with my phone rather than a professional camera, but they came out well enough to use here. All photos are downsized here, but you can click them to enlarge to 1200px wide. Enjoy!
Here’s my girls as we looked over a 1920 Ford Model A panel truck. This is far from original, of course, but the engine, chassis, and most of the details (lighting and such) are from that era of truck. It’s beautiful and it’s a working model that the guy sometimes uses to deliver parts around town.
This 1979 Dodge may not be a “classic” in some’s eyes and it has been modified, of course – at least with the exhaust pipes and Mopar additions, but the engine and body are all original to the truck with the exception of the wheels. It’s another great example of a beautiful working machine that serves the purpose of getting the job done, but still looks good while doing it.
This 1966 Chevrolet Corvair Convertible is a great example of one of the most underrated cars of all time. Jay Leno did a great spot on a version of this car. A few years ago, I wrote about this generation of Corvair when I saw one at another local car show.
The interior of this one was particularly well-restored. Amazingly, a couple of rows over, I saw another Corvair, this time a coupe.
As you can see by the front fenders, this Corvair is of the first-generation (1960-1964) when the name “Monza” was often added to the Corvair name. The owner of this one drove it up from Colorado Springs, Colorado for the show and said the only problem it has is that the “55 mile an hour air conditioning” is not always adequate. He is currently hunting original wheels or wheel covers and a few interior details to finish his restoration.
Made in the year I was born, this ’73 Mercury Cougar is, like me, made up entirely of original parts. It also features some very cool wheel covers.
As opposed to myself, of course, who often am wearing only sandals if I’m wearing any shoes at all.
Although technically a modified car (the engine is not original), this Nomad is one of my favorite models ever made. On my bucket list of “cars I wanna own,” the Nomad of the 1950s is a really cool machine and shows that family hauling doesn’t have to be mundane.
Feast your eyes on this beaut. This 1970 Chevelle has its number-matching engine block. The paint is gorgeous, though not factory original. Everyone loves these cars and the number that have been preserved is amazing, though they all seem to be the coupe version rather than the four-door, which was a popular derby car back in the day (explaining why so few still exist).
This second-generation Chevelle has the much-coveted 396 V8 from the top-line SS model. Finding one of these with matching numbers is much more rare.
Jumping back a couple of years, we can see that things in the automotive industry at the time were changing quickly. This 1958 Impala was contemporary to the Chevelle above, but has a far different, much more ’50s look to it. Purchased and owned in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, right next to Gering where the show is located, this car is a family-owned original with nothing but love added to it. The engine is immaculate.
As you can see, a lot of time is spent polishing this one. That’s love, folks.
Now to one of the show-stoppers of the day. This 1970 Shelby is a seriously awesome sports car. There are Mustangs and there are Shelbys. This one shows the difference.
What’s even more awesome is that this car is a clean, one owner. The display proudly shows the owner’s original paperwork along with some history of this beautiful machine.
In general, I’m not really a muscle car fan. I enjoy them as much as the next guy and like driving fast once in a while, but truth be told, I don’t really dream of owning a muscle or supercar. With two exceptions. This is one of them. We’ll see the other one shortly.
Beautiful machinery and fun performance are always enjoyable.
Now we roll back the clock again. For me, classic cars are rolling works of art. This 1956 Mercury Monte Claire is a great example of that. Beautiful lines mark this great looker, which also featured some of the most ergonomic, daily driver excellence available in its time.
And seriously, get a load of those awesome wheel covers, which were an expensive option back in the day.
Going back even further, we see this 1941 Ford Tudor, which is all kinds of authentic. A lovely rendition of what cars at that time were like, this one has had only two upgrades: disc brakes and modern wheels, both for safety because the owner enjoys driving it “all the time” rather than just in parades.
Nothing says “authentic” better than a broom handle hood prop.
Underneath is an engine which drinks as much oil as it does gasoline, the owner admits. But it runs like a champ regardless.
Speaking of authentic, this 1965 Thunderbird is completely original and has been owned by a couple from Colorado since the day her father passed it on to them a few years after he’d purchased it new. Can’t think of a better family hand-me-down than this.
Now we come to on of my favorite cars of the show. This 1955 Ford Crown Victoria Glass Top is an extreme rarity and one of the most beautiful cars ever built. The executive’s executive car, this car has “must own a garage” built into its provenance.
What’s more, the lines and curves of this Ford are like great artwork and can be stared at all day with different details jumping out each time you blink.
This is one of my dream trucks and something I’ve always wanted to own. This 1946 Studebaker M-16 (no kidding, that’s its name) tow truck is easily one of the coolest rides around. This is the first time I’ve seen it at the Gering show and I hope it’s not the last. As you can see behind it, a few other Studebakers were on hand as well. Nebraska is firm ‘baker country with a huge club of owners and enthusiasts.
Of course, the most well-known of the Studebakers is the Hawk. This one is a Packard Hawk from 1958, one of several Studebaker models rebadged as Packards. This was the last year that the car was made under the Packard name before the company went under. This is one of the rarest of the Hawk cars and is highly collectible. A lot of history here.
Earlier, I said there was only one other muscle car I’ve ever wanted to own. Here it is. There were two renditions of the car at the Gering show that were still in all-original condition. The 1970 Dodge Charger, made famous by the Dukes of Hazzard television show, is, to me, beauty on wheels. It’s a meld of form and function wherein the muscle under the hood translates to a strong, but not overstated muscular exterior.
Of course, the R/T model is the most coveted of the 1970 Chargers. This one is a 1970 Dodge Charger R/T SE that’s being lovingly kept in Alliance, Nebraska.
The rear pillars restrict visibility greatly in these cars, but since everyone behind you is losing anyway, who cares. Right?
Speaking of baddassery on four wheels, this 1969 Pontiac Bonneville Station Wagon personifies what fun family hauling is all about. Finding one is exceedingly difficult now, as those that are around are lovingly kept and the rest went the way of the crashup derby years ago.
The front end is what really makes these wagons so sinister. A look that the Chrysler family used regularly and on several models at the time.
Now we jump back again, this time to 1950 with this Chevrolet Deluxe Coup. An unofficial club of friends and family in Scottsbluff have several classics they enjoy showing whenever they can. A few of them sport these original period air conditioner units, which the group purchased as a lot several years ago and worked hard to restore for their early-50s era cars.
The A/C units are extremely rare, especially in working condition. A very cool find.
Another great thing about this 1950 Chevy is that it’s an excellent example of the changes that marked the transition from the 1940s to the 1950s. The early 1950s cars saw their grille and front ends becoming more sleek with a lot less curvature and an absence of the pronounced bulges that marked the mid- and late-1940s. As you can see here, some of those bulges remain while others have been dampened. Compare this front end to the Ford Tudor above and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
This was a surprise entry as seeing a Saab in Nebraska is pretty rare in and of itself, let alone a fully original 1969 96.
This totally original car features an innovative (for the time) four-cylinder engine and some classic bodywork.
This is a popular Saab for European collectors, but a rarity in the States. Read more about it here.
No car show is complete without a fully-original, lovingly maintained 1955 Ford Thunderbird. Arguably one of the best-looking cars ever made. A great car to close out our quickie tour of the Gering Father’s Day Classic car show for 2015.