Nebraska, the 50th state!

I know; most history books list Hawaii as the 50th state (at least until the Texas School Board gets a hold of them and then anything’s possible). But for MCC, Nebraska was the only state in these great United States that we had not shot in. That situation was finally remedied a few weeks ago when we shot The Last Fling till Spring in West Point, Nebraska. It took me 15 seasons to stumble onto this show altho it’s been going on for 21 years.

West Point is a town of about 3,600 people situated roughly midway between Omaha and Sioux Falls, SD but somehow they manage to pull in 700+ really nice cars to the brick streets of the downtown for this one day show.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

One of the first vehicles to come rolling in on the morning of the show was a completely restored ’51 Oliver 77 tractor. (Hey, it’s Nebraska!) I ran out and flagged the guy down because this was the tractor I had grown up on. Ours was actually a ’53 Super 77, but they were virtually identical, except that ours never looked as good as this one. From a styling standpoint, these are really cool tractors (if you’re into tractors, that is). Strangely enough, the Oliver was followed by a ’47 John Deere B which was the other tractor we had on the farm. You can see that the woman driving the JD is operating the hand clutch with her right hand. Man did these take me back!

As for my gloves in this picture, I wasn’t doing my best Mickey Mouse impersonation; I was freezing! It was so cold that the cameraman was having trouble operating the camera so he ducked into a dollar store and scored a 3-pack of these goofy gloves. I took him up on it when he offered me a pair.

The weather got better as the day went on but not by much. I’m not sure it ever made it up to 50 degrees with overcast skies and a constant fine mist that you could barely see with your eye, but that was attracted to the camera lens as if it was a mist magnet. Considering the previous two days had been even worse tho with heavy rains, I wasn’t really complaining.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

The weather sure didn’t deter folks from bringing out some really interesting cars, like this chopped ’49 Merc wagon. Of course Merc never really made this car, but they should have. The front end was ’49 Merc, but the rest of the body was ’56 Ford wagon and the roof was from a ’57 Ford wagon. There were pieces from about six or seven other makes, models, and years in this build, and the Merc yellow from ’49 with subtle pinstriping made this an incredibly slick car.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

There was also the nicest ’64 Griffith I had ever seen in attendance. These cars were built in Long Island and utilized TVR fiberglass bodies from England. They weighed almost nothing and were typically powered by 289 Fords making them little screamers. This one had been upgraded to a built 302 which I’m sure made it a screamer plus!

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

In the “what-were-they-thinking?!?” category was a ’74 blown pro-street CJ5 Jeep. Still running an AMC engine but now pumping out over 1100 hp, I suspect that its wheelie bars come in handy at times.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

A car that I almost walked by at first was the Camaro above; not because it wasn’t a really nice car, but because I initially mistook it for a new Camaro. This baby was actually a ’67 and was one of the most elaborate resto-mods I have ever seen. It goes by the name, Scar, for all the cuts that were made in the body in the process of its transformation.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

There was also a single-cylinder 1908 Reo that had been in the same family since 1918. I’m always fascinated by the engineering in these early automobiles. The engine was under the seat and with a couple spins of the side crank, she fired right up.

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

I had been asked to make a “Dennis Gage pick” at the show, and I was so taken by that little Reo and its story that I made it my pick. This event is also known as The Home of the Monster Trophies, and the one that went to the owners of the Reo may have been the biggest one there. It was actually taller than the woman who received it, and boy was she thrilled!

My Classic Car - Nebraska, the 50th state

We’re always looking for a quirky way to close the show, and we found it in a Galaxy body shell that was mounted to a Roller Hoop rotisserie. Look closely; that’s me behind the wheel, and it gave a whole new meaning to taking a car for a spin.

Happy Motoring,

  1. Mike says:

    Dennis, I really enjoy the show, but my question is about mustache wax. I have a mustache much like yours, but am unable to find a suitable wax. What’s your secret?

  2. alan says:

    by the way 2.0 engines when did they come out and who make them
    where do i look for that

  3. alan says:

    2.0 engine in a s-15 pickup truck was the 2.0 engine put in any other
    auto or truck that you know of and how whould i find out about that
    1980″s years give or take in years thank you

  4. Jeanen France says:

    Love the article!! Love my monster trophy!! Have shared our experience with you with tons of people. Everyone is looking forward to the show – do we know when the West Point Last Fling Before Sping will be televised on the Speed Channel? Thank you!

  5. Tom Petersen says:

    Hi Dennis glad we could help you make MCC history, and get your 50th. state filmed. We enjoyed having you film our show, and showcase our community . I can’t wait to see which cars you showcased in this episode. Wished the weather could have been better, but it could have been worse. Glad we could take you back to you chilhood, back on the farm. Thanks for coming to Nebraska, Hope you had a great time in West Point, NE. Thank you. Tom Petersen

  6. Dennis,
    Congratulations on Madstache! Hope you recovered well from SEMA! Take care my friend.
    T

  7. Ben Stone says:

    “I know; most history books list Hawaii as the 50th state (at least until the Texas School Board gets a hold of them and then anything’s possible).”

    Oh man that hurts, but then I resemble that remark.

    Love the cars you feature on your show and congrats on the change to Mad Stash.

  8. Jim Zinkhan says:

    Now that you have covered all 50 states, how about all 10 Canadian Provinces? You haven’t been to Saskatchewan yet. We have two large shows, 700-800 cars in Saskatoon in August and 300-400 cars in Regina in September. I haven’t noticed you drive a Caterpillar yet. I have a late 30′s or early 40′s D6 that I would invite you to drive around on our farm. I also have some nice uniquely Canadian cars that you could drive, l959 Dodge Mayfair 2 dr hardtop, l959 Meteor Montcalm convertible, l958 Pontiac Laurentian four door sedan. Have several others, but not as unique to what you have already done. Have 80 driveable cars, all inside, about 20 showable for your show.

  9. Rod Bilderback says:

    I have the same question as Jeanen France. What episode will “The Last Fling Til Spring” be on? I browsed this upcoming season, but didn’t see any mentioning this event or West Point, NE.
    I was there for my first time. I even participated and love the trophy. It was a great show, even if this year was a little on the cool side.
    It was great seeing you and that you finally made it to Nebraska.

    You have an awesome show!

    • Rod Bilderback says:

      Never Mind my question… The last time I went through the 2011 season I couldn’t find ‘The Last Fling Til Spring’… I just went back & I see it is Episode 19… whoo hooo… I will be anxiosuly awaiting that one!

      Well thanks again for coming to NE.

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