Winterfest of Wheels 2013

 The 5th Annual Winterfest of Wheels event is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday February 8, 9, and 10, 2013 at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. This premier event is a mid-winter oasis for people to gather and view a unique assortment of cars, trucks and bikes. Many of these vehicles are rarely seen, are national award winners or are being debuted at this show. The key components to the success of this show are recruiting the best cars from around the country, having entertainment for everyone in the family and mixing it up with great vendors & sponsors.
This year’s theme is based on a “Drive-In Diner”. It features memorabilia from Marv Spomer’s Museum in Worthington, Minnesota. J & L Harley-Davidson will feature some custom new and pre-owned Harley-Davidson Motorcycles as well as a Service Technician working on a bike throughout the event. Dakota Digital will show their award winning VHX Series Hybrid Analog/Digital Gauges in a vehicle that not only won the Muscle Machine of the Year award, but also received the coveted “Mother’s SHINE Award” at SEMA. They will also show a wide range of digital instrumentation and specialty electronics. There will be cars coming here from across the country.
A vehicle sure to attract attention at this year’s show is a 1957 Ford Ranchero, from Lincoln, Nebraska. This unique and rare vehicle is one of only 15 produced. Carl Dean Switzer, aka Alfalfa from the “Our Gang” show, originally ordered it new. He was part owner of a Ford dealership in California and the car was ordered through that dealership. Switzer was originally from Kansas and that is how the car ended up back in the Midwest. He was killed in 1959 but the car stayed in the area and ended up in Denton, Nebraska (near Lincoln). One of the oldest Ford dealerships in the nation, Swanson Ford in Ceresco, Nebraska located and purchased the car.  They wanted someone to own the vehicle that appreciated the rarity of it. That is when Pete Klucas and Top End Engineering came in. “We wanted to bring it back to original,” according to Pete, who’s restoration business has been around for 20 years. “1957 was the first year of the Ranchero. We have every service manual there was for this vehicle. We also have manuals on every mechanical piece of the car. This car is loaded with options, which was a problem because there was a lot of equipment to research and restore. The car was a little rusty and had been sitting for a long time when we got it. It was a basket case. Another shop started on the bodywork before it came to our shop. We went through it top to bottom. It has power windows and seats, dual spotlights and a dual carb AT engine, which was also found in the e-code ’57 Thunderbird. These were very rare. A regular Ranchero had a smaller engine in it. We had it for about a year and a half before we finished it this past December. I have never seen one for sale ever. You just do not see them. This car is very rare. Nobody even really knows about it yet so Winterfest will be the first exposure for the vehicle. Everything that can be correct is correct, even the underside is beautifully painted. All the pieces that went into the car were restored. We are pretty proud of this restoration. It is Concours quality. We worked with the owner closely to find the correct pieces for the restoration. We all enjoyed working together on the car. We know 15 of these cars were made but we do not know how many exist today. It was hard to find information on the vehicle because it was so rare but the appeal for me was because of the rarity of the car.“
“Top End Engineering is focused mainly on street rods and we have finished a couple cars for Jessie James. We are known for our metal work. I am proud to say that this car shows the quality work we produce. We will take it to some shows and I hope people will enjoy the car as much as we do.”
The national celebrity who will appear this year will be Frank Fritz of the popular TV show “American Pickers”. The event will also feature local celebrities along with several childhood cancer survivors (HEROES). Again this year there will be an expanded “Ditch Your Man” room for those interested in shopping, along with a “Little Cruiser’s Garage” for shopping for those not able to reach the pedal yet. There will be a coloring contest, zoo animals, other youth entertainment and a model car contest.  A “Man Cave” will feature swap meet type items. Many automotive related vendors from parts manufacturers to builders and performance engine vendors will have displays.
As it has been from the events inception, all profits from the Winterfest of Wheels Show go to the Cure Kids Cancer charity. To maximize the amount of money donated to the charity, all of the committee member’s work is strictly volunteer. “Cancer in children is a tragedy for the entire family and helping the families affected by this terrible disease is very satisfying,” says Karen, the shows coordinator. Last year we were able to donate $25,283.00 and we would like to see those numbers grow every year. Tickets for the show are available at the door or receive a discount by buying them at J & L Harley-Davidson. Meet your friends for a great time and enjoy the fellowship of other enthusiasts while raising money for a great cause. Hours for the show are Friday 5 p.m. – 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $9 with kids 12 and under being free when accompanied by an adult. There are also weekend passes available for $15 so you can come and go when you like. Save the date and make plans to attend!
You can view updates on the website WinterfestOfWheels.com or follow us on Twitter @wintrfestwheels. This year’s sponsors include: J&L Harley Davidson, Dakota Digital, Straightlines Custom Restorations, and Sanford Health.   TMM

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