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Lake Nebagamon revs up for classic car show

If you can remember how much fun it was to ride around in the rumble seat of your grandpa’s car, this story is for you. If you have never had a ride in a rumble seat, don’t despair, there are still some great cars with rumble seats around this area, along with many other classic vehicles. Their owners sometime refer to their classics as “vintage tin,” but those vehicles are alive and well in northern Wisconsin.  What’s more, they are really prized by their owners who love to show them off.

 There are more than 200 classic vehicles in this immediate northwest Wisconsin area. They are the pride and joy of members of the newly formed Classics by the Lake club and many of them will be on display next summer when the club holds “The Biggest Little Show of Classic Vehicles” in Wisconsin July 19 in downtown Lake Nebagamon. 

Neil Hensrud, one of the new club’s founding members, said the value of the vehicles to be displayed that day is estimated at several million dollars. A highlight of the day will be the displaying of Alice Cooper’s Ford Shelby Mustang valued at more than $150,000. This will be the eighth time Lake Nebagamon hosted an annual classic vehicle show. Last year there were 120 vehicles on display and this year’s event is expected to draw even more.

 Meanwhile, those great old classics and newer muscle cars are tucked in for the winter while their owners plan for the club’s show. Owners and lovers of all classic vehicles, including cycles, cars, trucks and even tractors, are invited to participate, according to Tom Maas, vice president of the newly formed club. Other officers are Dick Hutchinson, president; Connie Graden, secretary; Darrell Kyle, treasurer; and Dan Dulinski, show chairman. The club has nearly 50 members and still growing

 The show is being planned to attract whole families, Dulinski said. There will be vendors offering fun things, Lions Club Wiener Wagon along with other food vendors, and a Hot Wheels giveaway for kids.  “There will be a fifties style dinner and a dance that evening at the historic Lake Nebagamon Auditorium and University of Wisconsin-Superior alumni are planning an event that day, also,” Hensrud added.

 “We will be recreating the atmosphere in Lake Nebagamon that prevailed in the 50s and 60s, Dulinski said. He recalled coming to this northwest Wisconsin village when teens from around the whole area came to dance at the Auditorium. “There were long lines of kids from the auditorium to Finell’s, all waiting to be served at ‘Whitey’s’ sandwich shack.  Whitey’s was located next door to the Auditorium, in front of what is now the Lawn Beach Inn.

 “It was really remarkable. Whitey knew the names of everyone who came to the shack and exactly what they liked to order!”  Dulinski said. “It will be fun to try to bring back some of the nostalgic highlights of those teen dances, maybe even some poodle skirts and white buck shoes.”

 For information about the event contact Connie Graden at or 715-374-0688. Incidentally, a rumble seat is defined as “a seat recessed into the back of a coupe or roadster, covered by a hinged lid that opens to form the back of the seat when in use [1910–15]” and grandma and grandpa had a great time riding out there with the wind in their hair.  As one grandpa put it, “The hair might be gone, but the cars still run!”