Home Uncategorized Not fade away: Milwaukee festival celebrates '50s car culture

Not fade away: Milwaukee festival celebrates ’50s car culture


Hot rods and customs roll in for the foutth annual Blue Ribbon Beer Run in Milwaukee | William Hall photos
Hot rods and customs roll in for the foutth annual Blue Ribbon Beer Run in Milwaukee | William Hall photos

Midwestern hot-rod lifestylers convened on the old Pabst Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to celebrate everything Fifties at the fourth-annual Blue Ribbon Beer Run on June 8. Hundreds of greasers and pin-up girls reclaimed the music, look and culture of their grandparents in an open-air festival to America’s golden age.

Entrants were limited to pre-1964 traditional hot rods, customs, and vintage motorcycles. All proceeds went to benefit the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Founding member of The Cheaters car club Carl Urbaniak sneaks a smooch with fiancé Marlene Ridgway. Carl just finished his ’29 Ford Model A Roadster pickup, built on a ’32 frame with a flathead ’51 Mercury V8. The Cheaters are a Milwaukee car club that started in 1994 amongst friends who met skateboarding at the local skate park in the 1980s.2016-07-09 14.55.40-1 (2)
Not too hard to guess the favorite beer of Dodgeville, Wisconsin’s Trevor Cooper. Trevor built this rod starting with a rotted 1937 Chevy Master sedan delivery, widening it by 12 inches and grafting on a 1955 Panel Truck roof. A home-made chassis and Chevy small-block round out the package. Think it’s not a runner? Trevor just completed 3,434 miles in the car on the 2016 Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour.2016-07-09 11.26.07
Confused by your choices this election year? We know who we’re voting for. Miss Beddie Munster poses in front of Dave Newcomer’s 1937 Plymouth sedan delivery. Dave drove the 3-deuce carbureted, Chevy-powered rod 850 miles from East Berlin, Pennsylvania.2016-07-09 13.10.58
Sal Valerio of The Viejito’s (The Oldies) car club of Chicago drove the whole family 2 ½ hours for the event...with the top down. Sal’s son refers to the family’s 1953 Chevy Bel Air Convertible as “The Bomb” for the rounded appearance of its nose and fenders.
Cutting a classy figure was Vanessa Stowell of Hillsboro, Wisconsin, and her striking 1960 Buick Invicta, powered by the venerable 401 Nailhead motor. Her husband drives a 1966 Ford F100 truck, but her name is on the title of this beauty.
So you’re at a car show, and a reality TV show breaks out. This one’s concept seems similar to “The Amazing Race,” but it’s called “The Runner” and is produced by actors Ben Affleck and Matt Damon. This challenge involved searching amongst thousands of cans of beer for a clue and running off and – at least in one case – chugging a 16-ounce can of the warm barley pop. One thing is for sure; this episode will have a lot of cool cars in it.
A 1929 Packard Victoria Coupe is not everyone’s choice for a hot rod, but purists need not fret; Dan and Stephanie Hennes rescued this one from a rusted hulk. Dan knew the car growing up in Jackson, Wisconsin, as a friend’s father had bought the car for $50. The body was placed on a wooden cart and dragged out into the woods to rot; but the complete chassis, engine and running gear were left inside a barn. All good, until the barn burned down. Against all odds, Hennes, a commercial bodyman, put five years of work into the car and ended up with a stunner.
Matt Backhaus and C.C. Gregory with one of Matt’s creations, a gasser-rod that started life as a 1948 Ford Truck. Matt operates Streetworks Hot Rods in Waukesha, Wisconsin, and has had some of his Italian car restorations on the lawn at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Miss BeBe Bordeaux after competing in the Miss Blue Ribbon Beer Run Pin-Up competition. BeBe is standing next to a 1958 Edsel Station Wagon.
Miss Donna Lee and Miss Lacy McGillicuddy stand next to an early Hemi powered rail dragster.

Photos by William Hall

William Hall
William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

Recent Posts