Classics and Chrome Car Show April 21-22 in Machesney Park, Illinois

Machesney Park is a village located in Winnebago County, Illinois, United States.


By Gary Kohn

A 2008 Lamborghini Superleggera has a top speed of 202 mph. It can go 0 to 124 mph in 10 seconds. A 1951 Ferrari Testarossa goes 0 to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 187 mph. These are just two of more than 120 cars and motorcycles patrons will have a chance to see at the 2012 Classics and Chrome Car Show.

Scheduled for April 21-22 at the former Menards building in Machesney Park, 10253 N. Second St., and presented by State Farm Insurance, the Classics and Chrome Car Show is more than just the largest indoor show in northern Illinois, it’s a celebration for car enthusiasts.

It takes a certain type of person to modify or restore a hot rod, muscle car or classic car. It’s not just a car to them; it’s a lifetime commitment and a passion. Classics and Chrome 2012 will celebrate this passion by showcasing more than 100 years of automotive history. Expected classes to be on display include pre- and post-war classics, sports cars, muscle cars, hot-rod and custom cars, exotic and race cars, specialty cars and motorcycles.

“Classics and Chrome has grown into the premier car show in the Rockford region,” said Alan Gibby, head of Keith Country Day School. “We have cars coming from as far west as California and from as far east as New York.”

Organized as a benefit for Keith Country Day School, the two-day show will run from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, April 21, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sunday, April 22. Admission is $6 and children younger than 10 are free.


1932 Ford Coupe owned by Jorri and Laura Johnson of Beloit, Wis. (Photo provided)

Although the “heavy metal” is the main attraction, the Classics and Chrome raffle is one of the show’s most popular features. Attendees can buy raffle tickets for just $100 or buy five tickets and get the sixth one free. The grand prize of the raffle is $15,000 cash. Other prizes are $3,000 in cash for second prize and $2,000 in cash for third prize.

In addition to the rare vehicles on display, the event will also feature food provided by Der Rathskeller, guest appearances from the world-renowned Indianapolis 500 magician Bill Hunter, and free prize giveaways offered by some of the show vendor booths. In fact, patrons who stop by the State Farm booth will have a chance to win an iPad.

Tickets to the show can be purchased at the door, but raffle tickets are available for sale in advance of the show. Interested raffle buyers can call Keith Country Day School at (815) 399-8823, or raffle forms can be downloaded at

Some of this year’s featured cars include the following:

1931 Duesenberg Model J, owned by Dr. John Klein (Indianapolis) — This authentic Duesenberg was once owned by Ralph Pulitzer Jr., son of Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher who established the Pulitzer Prize. It is a Rollston convertible Victoria chassis No. 2460 with engine J472. It was used during World War II to power superchargers for airplane engines.

2008 Lamborghini Superleggera, owned by Randall McBain (Rockford) — In 2008, Lamborghini announced it would cease production on the Superleggera. Only 172 were produced. The Superleggera design pays tribute to the first Lamborghini production model, the famous 350 GT, designed and built by Carrozzeria Touring in Milan. This car has a top speed of 202 mph.

A different kind of wagon

There may not be a more unique car at this year’s show than the Western Flyer Rocket Wagon.

Built by Chuck Redding (St. Petersburg, Fla.), owner of Redding Autoshop in St. Petersburg, Fla., this “car” is a street-legal wagon, five times the size of the toy wagon it models.

The body is completely fiber glass, and the vehicle has all of the same features as your average car.

Redding built the wagon while recovering from prostate cancer. He said the project, which took eight months, took his mind off the recovery.

Redding is also bringing a very rare 1960 Nash Metropolitan to Classics and Chrome.

Movie cars

This year’s Classics and Chrome inventory has two cars with connections to Hollywood. Bob Haddad (Freeport) is bringing his 1949 Plymouth to the show. The car was driven by Robert Conrad (as G. Gordon Liddy) in the made-for-TV movie Will: G. Gordon Liddy. Rebecca Mueller (Rockton) is bringing her 1958 Plymouth Belvedere. Although this car has not been in an actual movie, the car is a clone of Stephen King’s Christine movie car.

A little muscle

Prior to press time, there were 12 muscle cars entered into the 2012 muscle class, including the 1967 Mercury Cougar XR7 owned by Ron Mahnke (Rockton) and the 1984 Chevy Monte Carlo SS owned by Rick Mueller.

The ’67 Mercury car has been restored to its original version. It was the Motor Trend magazine 1967 Car of the Year.

The ’84 Monte Carlo is an extremely rare car (only 250 ever made). It has won multiple awards, including the People’s Choice at the Monte Carlo Nationals and Best of Show at the Lena Fall Festival.

Key sponsors of the 2012 Classics and Chrome include State Farm Insurance, SwedishAmerican Hospital, Keith Country Day School, Pepsi, Rockford Linear Motion, Der Rathskeller, Alpine Bank, Mulford Dental, WIFR, Maverick Media and OReilly’s.

Proceeds from the 2012 Classics and Chrome Car Show will benefit Keith Country Day School.

Keith Country Day School is an independent, nonsectarian, college-preparatory school. On a 15-acre campus overlooking the Rock River, Keith serves students from age 3 through grade 12 from the northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin area. The school is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools and fully-accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States and the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools.

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