Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2013, 9:57 pm

Dreaming of the open road at RI car show

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By Jonathan Turner,

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Dan Anderson, of East Moline, takes a long look at a 1953 Chevy pickup truck during the Rod and Custom Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island on Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti
Classic muscle cars including Ford Mustangs and Chevy Camaros are on display at the Rod and Custom Show at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island.
ROCK ISLAND -- With a beer in hand, Mike Riendeau, of Davenport, sauntered through the gleaming classic cars on display Saturday at the QCCA Expo Center and lovingly recalled his youth.

"I want my very first car back," he said ofa 1969 Pontiac GTO he bought when he was 18, but sold within about three years. Mr. Riendeau snapped a photo of a white 1938 Chevy two-door sedan, similar to a 1939 Chevy owned by his father, who's a member of the Quad City Cruisers.

He also admired the ruby-red 1965 Mustang GT, one of dozens of restored vehicles on display at the 30th annual Rod and Custom Show."It's something to look at. Men love their toys," said Mr. Riendeau, who attended the show with a couple of friends. "It's something to do on a Saturday. I like older cars."

The colorful cars on display Saturday included a 1930 Ford Model A, 1932 Ford Roadster, 1961 Pontiac Catalina, 1964 yellow Chevy Nova, 1963 Triumph motorcycle and a 2007 Harley rebuilt and intricately repainted with a military theme. Among several flashy race cars was a GTO painted like a roaring tiger -- bright orange with black stripes.

There also was a 1957 Chevy convertible worth more than $200,000 and a 1940 Chevy truck picked up on the TV show "American Pickers," which co-host Mike Wolfe's brother Robby bought for him. A few vehicles at the show are for sale, including a 1935 Chevy master sedan street rod priced at $29,900.

Brian Furne, of Bettendorf, showed off his long and thin red race car, low to the ground and boasting an exposed engine, built in 2008 by Chassis Concepts, of Milan. He has raced at Cordova Dragway Park and has driven the car up to 190 mph at Bowling Green, Ky. It's "new-stalgia," he said of the speedster, built on the specifications of newer cars.

"You don't feel the speed, per se," Mr. Furne said of racing it. "Everything happens in the first 300 feet."

A much older car that goes considerably slower (but still runs) is a black 1923 Franklin, an air-cooled car without a radiator, made by a Syracuse, N.Y.-based manufacturer that went out of business in 1935, said owner Albin Elmore, of Davenport.

"It has a low-compression engine. In the '30s, they came out with V-8 engines, and they couldn't compete," he said of Franklin. Mr. Elmore has owned the car -- which has an ash-wood frame -- foreight years, since he got it in Washington state.

"A friend of mine got me involved in old cars," he said, noting he's driven the car at a Franklin collectors' meet in Ohio. He brought it to the Q-C auto show "because some people haven't seen a Franklin before. It's a unique car," Mr. Elmore said.

"It's really a rare car; it's really neat," saidAndrew Lamay, of Rock Island, who owns Stan's Ice Cream, of Milan, and is displaying his latest purchase at the show -- a 1967 white Good Humor truck. He owns 16 other ice-cream trucks and six other classic cars, dating from the 1920s to 1960s.

"Ever since I was a kid, I just liked old cars. Now, I can financially afford them," Mr. Lamay said.

"I like them all. Everything's different -- motorcycles, low riders. I'm just a car guy," saidDave Smith, of Buffalo, Iowa, a member of the Quad City Camaro Club. He said he enjoys "seeing the cars, getting out in the wintertime. Everybody's cooped up all winter. This is what we do every year to get out of the house."

Mr. Smith has owned a 1968 Camaro since 1970, and the Q-C club has a booth at the show, as do other area car clubs.

"It's something to do in the winter, kind of gets the guys geared up," said event coordinator Glenn Rohm, of Coal Valley, who's been organizing the show since its beginning. "It's good clean fun."

The show -- which has been at the Expo Center for the past six years --features more than 100 vehicles (cars, motorcycles and trucks) from within a 100-mile radius of the Quad-Cities and a wide variety of automotive supplies, merchandise, products and toys such as Hot Wheels and Pixar "Cars" cars.

"We're trying to appeal to a wide range of people, so it's interesting," Mr. Rohm said. In theNorth Hall, there's a display of rustier, not as well restored vehicles,promoting the Torque Fest (May 3-4) in Dubuque. That event shows owning classic cars doesn't have to be that expensive, said Mr. Rohm, who owns a couple of 1965 Impalas. "You don't need to have all the chrome."

"I like to work on them," he said of old cars. Today's cars are "more fuel-efficient; they run better; they last longer. But the classic ones are just down to earth," Mr. Rohm added. "A lot of our classics are getting shipped overseas. There's a huge market in Japan."

This weekend's show is promoting related events later this year, such as the late June Antique Automobile Club of America show at John Deere Commons, Moline, and the re-named Rally on the River (formerly Sturgis and Mississippi River Motorcycle Rally), which will be back on the river this Father's Day weekend, in Davenport's Centennial Park.

"We're real excited about the Kansas City Barbeque Society; they will have their third annual competition," Mr. Rohm said of an event scheduled for June 22-23 in Davenport's LeClaire Park. It will feature barbecue teams and craft brewers, and will be combined with the Great American Race of classic cars making its first overnight stop and show in Davenport on June 23.

That race will start in St. Paul, Minn., and end in Mobile, Ala.

Mr. Rohm estimated the Rod and Custom Show will bring in between 6,000 and 7,000 people this weekend. This is the second year the show is offering free admission for past and present military families with military ID.

If you go

-- What: 30th annual Rod and Custom Show.
-- When: Continues from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.
-- Where: QCCA Expo Center, 2621 4th Ave., Rock Island.
-- Admission: $7, free for ages 6 and younger and people with military IDs. Part of the proceeds will go to the Children's Therapy Center of the Quad Cities.