THE SHOP

February '17

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64 THE SHOP FEBRUARY 2017 HOT ROD & CUSTOMIZATION T he parking lot of the Milwaukee Sheraton in Brookfield, Wis- consin, is on a lower level than the highway in front of the high-rise hotel. Looking down into that lot on July 24, 2015, passing motorists saw an impres- sive sight—nearly 500 vintage Oldsmobile hoods raised toward the sunny blue sky. The Oldsmobile Club of America (www. oldsmobileclub.org) National Meet was in town. NICHE REFLECTS GROWING INTEREST According to Greg Rothe, an official with the OCA's Wisconsin chapter, the 2015 National Meet was "successful beyond our wildest dreams." The event fielded about 480 show cars and 540 people were regis- tered. Officials struggled to find places for people to park their classic Oldsmobiles and their car haulers. Stationed in front of the hotel was the oldest car attending the meet—a 1923 Model 43A roadster. When it was made, Oldsmobile was just 26 years old. Next to it, by contrast, was a 2001 Oldsmobile Aurora Indy 500 Official Car. The pre- and post-war cars at the meet ranged from bread-and-butter sedans to Holiday hardtops to Vista Cruiser station wagons. The show cars ran from early- 1930s models, to cars of the 1940s through early 2000s. While the Oldsmobile niche is wide, it also reflects growing interest in muscle cars such as big-engined Cutlass models, 4-4-2s and Hurst-Oldsmobiles. One-of-a-kind oddities like the Commotion Hurst/Olds drag racer built by Motion Products—a New York supercar builder of the '60s—are also sought after by Oldsmobile fans. The same is true of the unique Fournado displayed in the hotel lobby. It's a one-off Oldsmobile 4-4-2 with a Tornado front- wheel drive chassis. ROCKET SHIFT Since the brand disappeared, the Oldsmobile niche has shifted into overdrive. By John Gunnell The 455-pow- ered 1968 Hurst-Olds was a silver car with black graphics that was outsourced to Hurst Performance to sidestep a GM ban on big engines. Visitors to the Oldsmobile Club of America national meet in Brookfield, Wisconsin kept Fusick automo- tive busy all week long selling vintage Olds parts.

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