Car of the Month August 2015: Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of August, our  Car of the Month features Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse. Read Lynn’s story below and a quick interview about why she loves classic cars.

1990 Cadillac Hearse
Lynn Johansen’s 1990 Cadillac Hearse

Here’s Lynn’s story:

“You find yourself sitting at a red light unassumingly waiting for it to turn green. You don’t notice the car that stealthily pulls up next to you because your mind is wrapped up in either your destination or time constraints to arrive where you need to be. It is only upon the light turning green do you hear the rumble of a loud exhaust that catches your attention to your right. You hesitate for a moment and glance over to take in the source of the noise as it starts to pull away from you. It is then, that you do a double take at the sight of what appears to be a grandmother in a hot rod pulling away from the green light. As your eyes scan across every inch of the unusual length of the car, you see a beautiful, big blued eyed, blond-haired little girl peering at you from the backseat wearing a huge grin and waving at you. You slowly lift your hand to gesture back and you hesitate realizing this is no ordinary car, nor is it a car with a faulty exhaust. It is as you take in the little girl;s grin that has now turned into a giggle, that you realize she is smiling at you through the back passenger side curtains of a hearse. She is fully aware that the vehicle she is riding in is most definitely unique and she enjoys every minute of others responses to her actions.” This is how my daughter describes my Sunday afternoon drive with my granddaughter. Hearses and cemeteries have always fascinated me so when the opportunity arose, I could not pass up buying it. She began her “life” as a 1990 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham with a 350 cubic inch 5.7 litre V* engine that rolled off the assembly line in Arlington, Texas. Her next stop was at the S&S Coach Builders in Lima, Ohio. Abby was one of 17 built Sayers & Sill that year and she was one of 3 built for the Piser-Weinstein Funeral Home in Chicago, Illinois. I often go to car shows and sometimes get shunned by the other “classic” cars. I then explain that the hearse is a true custom car. You can’t go into a dealership and buy one. You go to a coach builder and order it to your specifications from the exterior color, the fabric of the curtains, ect, as well as the normal things such as make and exterior color. I am a member of two hearse clubs, one fairly new and the other is well established with over 500 members worldwide. Hearse owners love to show off their coaches. Last year at our annual hearse show we had about 60 hearses, flower cars, and ambulances on display. Among the many places we have been invited to display them are: Volo Auto Museum, Brookfield Zoo, Haunted Trails, Worth IL Annual Zombie Walk. This year, we participated in Palos Heights 4th of July parade and Berwyn’s Halloween parade. So the next time you are sitting at a light waiting for it to turn green and you glance over and see me and my 13-year-old granddaughter next to you, realize we are just as normal as you. Don’t stereotype us as freaks. We merely appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of owning a funeral coach, and if there is anything to ever be bothered about, remember more people die in ambulances.

Interview with Lynn:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve every owned?
Lynn: 1958 Pontiac Bonneville coupe, 2-tone green

R: When did you get your first collector car?
L: June 2010

R: What cars are in your garage now?
L: Just my 3 hearses

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
B: 
A 1960s Coupe DeFleur (flower car)

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
L: Both of my daughters are car crazy. When I was married back in the late 1960s, we owned a 1955 Orange Chevy that we used to race at Union Grove Drag Stip in Wisconsin. Currently, when we got o a show or a cruise, my eldest daughter drives the Olds hearse and my son-in-law drives the Lincoln hearse. I always drive my first and favorite, “The Beast”

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Car of the Month July 2015: Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of July, our  Car of the Month feature’s Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup. Read Bernard’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1953 Ford Pickup
Bernard Ashley’s 1953 Ford Pickup

Here’s Bernard’s story:

Little red started out as a rusted out, beat up junk that was left sitting in an old barn when we decided to buy her. 3 years later and lots and lots of hours of work, she now is a sexy, trophy winning, cool ride that anyone would appreciate.

Interview with Bernard:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Bernard: My first car was a 1968 Firebird 400 4 speed. Loved that car

R: When did you get your first collector car?
B: My first collector car was a 1927 Ford Roadster, had fun with that one.

R: What cars are in your garage now?
B: I just have my 1953 Ford Pickup now.

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
B: I would love to have a heavy Chevy SS package 71 or 72.

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
B: My wife Ginny shares my love and passion for collector cars.

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Car of the Month June 2015: Gary Stanek’s 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of June, our Car of the Month  feature’s Gary Stanek’s 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring. Read Gary’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring
Gary Stanek’s 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring

Here’s Gary’s story:

I have cloned this 1973 Plymouth Satellite Sebring Plus to be identical to the 1973 Roadrunner that I bought new in ’73. I bought this car 2 years ago. I walked into Country Classic Cars in Staunton, IL, and found it almost hidden against a far wall. I could see a little of the front and thought to myself that if it was a ’73 in not too bad shape, then I had to have it! The left rear had been struck or someone backed into something really hard. It caused damage to the fender, bumper, and caused the trunk bed to buckle and the seams to come apart. I still had to have it. Almost every option on this car was the same as my roadrunner: the rally red color, the white interior and buckets, sport dash with 150 mph speedometer and built in tach and 318 CI automatic A/C. In the last 2 years, I’ve had all the body work done and the car completely repainted. I have been working on the 360 CI and just need to finish a few minor things so we can drop it in. I found a floor console and converted the column shift to a slap stick on the floor like my roadrunner had. I replaced the carpets and head liner, which was badly torn and scrubbed the white interior until it shined. I found an original bulge hood and had the stripping installed and all the roadrunner emblems. New wheels and tires and bumpers straightened and re-chromed and new chrome mirrors and too many others to list. It has been my money pit and I’m very happy with the end result. I’ve been lucky to win a few trophies at local shows. I drive it every chance I get. It’s no trailer queen! I love to let kids sit in the car at shows and honk the roadrunner beep beep horn. It really excited them. If you can’t enjoy it, why have it? I hope to finish the engine in time to drive the car a couple of legs of the Power Tour as it passes through Illinois this summer.

Interview with Gary:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve every owned?
Gary: A 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury. I liked how it looked and saw it on a lot after I graduated from high school. 33 cubic engine, 4 speed transmission, I was instantly sold.

R: When did you get your first collector car?
G: I got my first collector car in 1971. It was a 1967 Plymouth GTX.

R: What cars are in your garage now?
G: 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner (cloned from 1973 Satellite Sebring), 2008 Chrysler Sebring hartop convertible, 2012 Ram 1500 Laramie Edition

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
G: Right now, it’s the new Dodge hellcat. My dream collector car would be a Plymouth 426 hemi-cuda

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
G: With some local friends that have collector cars. We like to get together and go to car shows in the general area together.

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Car of the Month May 2015: John Gottfried’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of May, our Car of the Month feature’s John Gottfried’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air Phantom. Read John’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1957 Chevy Bel Air Phantom
John Gottfried’s 1957 Chevy Bel Air Phantom

Here’s John’s story:

Owned for 50 years, 10 years raced at Oswego, 13 years did ISCA shows, now just cruise nights. Has a lot of 60’s look, straigh axle, 63 SS interior, Nickey motor, candy brandy wine paint and vinyl top.

Interview with John:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve every owned?
John: My first car was a ’54 Chevy

R: When did you get your first collector car?
J: I’ve owned collector cars for over 50 years, raced at Oswego for 10 years, showed ISCA for 12 years, and was featured on ESPN mother car show. I still do local shows and cruise nights now.

R: What cars are in your garage now?
J: I have 2 other 57s and had 2 new 64 SS 409’s. Both of them were stolen and then I bought my current car.

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
J: This is my dream car.

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
J: My family has always played a big part.

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Car of the Month April 2015: Garland Meyer’s 1994 AC Cobra Kit Car

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of April, our Car of the Month feature’s Garland Meyer’s 1994 AC Cobra Kit Car. Read Garland’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1994 AC Cobra Kit Car
Garland Meyer’s 1994 AC Cobra Kit Car

Here’s Garland’s story:

Driving it Home
I bought an AC Cobra kit car in May 2006. The car was located approximately 2 hours from where I lived. To save money, I decided to drive the Cobra home. It was my hope that the car would not have any problems. Soon after I began driving it home, I realized the amount of horsepower the car had. My wife rode along home in the Cobra. Not only did the Cobra have a lot of power, the ride was rather firm. Not a luxury riding car:-) We got the car home safely, but my wife decided that maybe next time she would not go for quite as long of a ride in the Cobra. Being a show car, we only took the car out occasionally locally. In 2011, my wife died from breast cancer. I still have the Cobra. Even when my wife was living, the Cobra is as much of a conversation piece as it is a car to take out on sunny days. This is a photo from a time when my wife and I took the Cobra out to a local restaurant where we had dinner. The photo is next to a church across the street from where the restaurant was located. I like the way the sun glistened next to the church in this photo. I have faith that I will see my wife again some day.

Interview with Garland:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Garland: The first car I purchased was a 1971 Chevrolet Vega. Unfortunately, those Vegas had the oil burning problem. Chevrolet should not have produced that motor without better testing. It was a bad mark on the company for many years. I was a Chevy die hard. I even bought a 1974 Chevrolet Vega.

R: When did you get your first collector car?
G: My first car after high school was a 1974 Chevrolet Z28 Camaro. Once again a Chevy die hard. Unfortunately, I found out a few years later that the motor had been swapped before I bought the car. The used car dealer should have picked up on that. I was young and didn’t know any better and trustworthy. When I bought that car, the Z28 was no longer in production and I thought it would go up in value. I ended up keeping that car even after marriage but it was in storage. So I owned the car for probably 25 years. It needed to be rebuilt but I lost interest in it. So I sold it to get a 1978 Pro Street Chevrolet Z28 Camaro. It was a nasty looking car and it sounded nasty. Unfortunately that car had starter alignment problems so I eventually sold that. A neighbor suggested getting a Cobra kit car. Unfortunately, that would mean switching to something with Ford products in it. I was getting older and it seemed like the Cobra kit car would be a good fit for my life as I was maturing and getting older. The car is a real head turner. Unfortunately, it has some heat issues with the motor. I should get a shroud and a bigger fan for it. Something about the Cobra turns heads.

R: What cars are in your garage now?
G: My daily driver is a 2010 Honda CRV. It was my father’s and he sold it to me. The CRV gets good test magazine results and has good resale. Plus it is 4 wheel drive. My job is on the road so I wanted something with 4 wheel drive. Prior to that I had a Saturn which had a nice drive train but was not good on snow. My other vehicle in the garage is the 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee that my wife used to drive. I kept that as a spare vehicle. Plus it is really good in snow.

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
G: I’m not sure what my ultimate dream car would be. I guess you would need to break that down into a show car that is not driven versus a car that is driven on the street. There are different vehicles for different uses that I would like to own. But for my age, a Cobra kit car is still a nice fit. Maybe get a Cobra with more horsepower.

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
G: I have a couple of buddies who enjoy my passion of cars. One is a Chevrolet die hard and the other is a Ford die hard. So I guess I fit somewhere in between. My fiancé likes the Cobra. It is almost as much of a conversation piece as it is a car to drive. People get excited talking about Cobra kit cars.

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Car of the Month March 2015: Kevin Ford’s 1982 Pontiac Firebird

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of March, our  Car of the Month feature’s Kevin Ford’s 1982 Pontiac Firebird. Read Kevin’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1982 Pontiac Firebird
Kevin Ford’s 1982 Pontiac Firebird

Here’s Kevin’s story:

This was my first car purchase. I was 18 and my Dad went with me. Initially, I have buyer’s remorse, thinking it was too much car for me. But then I was comforted by the realization that if my Dad was okay with it, it will all work out. Dad wouldn’t help me “make a mistake”. Today, I’m 43 and he’s almost 80 and the car is still something special that we both appreciate. And we both appreciate each other.

Interview with Kevin:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Kevin: My 1982 Firebird was the first car I ever owned.

R: When did you get your first collector car?
K: In 1990 when I bought the Firebird

R: What cars are in your garage now?
K: In my garage now is an Acura MDX and an Acura TL

R: What would be your ultimate dream car?
K: My ultimate dream would not be a car. If I could own any “dream form of transportation”, it would be a Boeing 707 in TWA livery.

R: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
K: I really don’t have a general passion for ONLY cars. I appreciate style and craftsmanship, whether it be an airplane, building, or automobile ect. I appreciate beauty in general.

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Car of the Month February 2015: Rob Paczkowski’s 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass

With every Classic Car comes a classic story…

For the month of February our Car of the Month feature’s Rob Paczkowski’s 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Read Rob’s story below and a quick interview about why he loves classic cars.

1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass
Rob Paczkowski’s 1968 Oldsmobile Cutlass

Here’s Rob’s story:

I have owned over 40 cars. None pristine or perfect but this was the first. I was not of the era of getting rid of SS Camaros, Boss Mustangs, or Hemi Cudas but every car I owned, I loved. This is mine that got away. I sold it in Elgin, IL, about 20+ years ago (let me know if you see it!). I presently have a 1979 Corvette that I have owned for 14 years, the car I wanted and was drawing while in high school driving my Cutlass. Now being in my 50s, the only one I miss is the first. To all you just starting out, enjoy every moment because what you get from your cars good or bad, it is a journey that you will never regret.

Rob sold this car in the late 80s to the mom of a gear head family in South Elgin near the Kellenberger Chiropractic Clinic. If anyone knows anything about what happened to his beloved Cutlass, get in contact with us! We want to help get Rob reunited with his car.

Interview with Rob:

Rally: What is the first car you’ve ever owned?
Rob: A 1968 Chevy Impala, 4 door

RI: When did you get your first collector car?
RP: When I was 17 in 1978. A 1964 Tr4a

RI: What cars are in your garage now?
RP: 1979 Corvette, 1973 Triumph Spitfire, 2007 Jeep Wrangler, 2008 Volvo XC70, 2000 Hot Wheels

RI: What would be your ultimate dream car?
RP: My 1968 Cutlass back

RI: Who do you share your passion of cars with?
RP: I have 3 boys who love the Corvette but won’t work or wash a car to save their lives. So I have 2 friends with similar interests. I am also a science teacher that started a car club at my school and I have dozens of ex-students that I still keep in touch with and we meet periodically to talk cars.

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