All posts by 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.

SVRA’s Spring Vintage Festival revs up Road America

A 1969 Z28 Camaro ready to take on the Mustangs | William Hall photos
A 1969 Z28 Camaro ready to take on the Mustangs | William Hall photos

The unique thing about race tracks is that they combine the many interests of the classic car hobby all in one place. There are the sights, smells and sounds of competition cars being utilized to their maximum potential. There is a flurry of fascinating mechanical activity taking place in the paddock. And there is an interesting variety of amazing street cars in the parking lot. It’s one-stop shopping for classic car nirvana.

SVRA’s Spring Vintage Festival races at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, traditionally signals the start of the vintage racing season in the upper Midwest. Despite a practice session of unseasonably cold and wet weather, entrant attendance indicated continued enthusiasm for the classic car hobby and amateur racing. Continue reading

Swiss hillclimb recreated as Das Kurze Klausenrennen

A Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and others line up to tackle the course | William Hall photos
A Pebble Beach-winning Ferrari 212 Export was among the cars that tackled the course  | William Hall

In the age of social media and the internet, there are very few secrets. But for nearly the past three decades, a group of sports car enthusiasts have quietly gathered each May to stage a vintage hillclimb in a small town in southern Wisconsin without fanfare or paparazzi.

Das Kurze Klausenrennen (“The Short Klausen Run”), a.k.a. The New Glarus Hillclimb, is inspired by the famous Klausenrennen hillclimb that took place at Klausen Pass in the canton of Glarus, Switzerland, from 1922-1934. Continue reading

Impermanence and the art of automobile maintenance

Author Robert Pirsig with his son Chris on their famed motorcycle trek | Robert Pirsig archive photo
Author Robert Pirsig with his son Chris on their famed motorcycle trek | Robert Pirsig archive photo

I take it as a point of pride that I do much of my own work on all my old cars. It is an extension of the richer understanding of the machine, and an additional source of enjoyment (most of the time) in the ownership experience.

Most of us go through life not fully understanding the how, let alone the why, of what makes our world work. These days, it seems there is precious little curiosity about such things. Continue reading

Georgia military academy hosts inaugural Champions and Heroes

The Champions and Heroes Time Trials will highlight the weekend | William Hall
The Champions and Heroes Time Trials will highlight the weekend | William Hall

(Editor’s note: The Riverside Military Academy Champions and Heroes event has been postponed until June 2018 because of massive traffic jams created by the fire and collapse of a section of Interstate 85 in Atlanta.)

Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, will host on June 2 to 4 the inaugural Champions and Heroes, a vintage car weekend consisting of a rally, time trials and concours d’elegance, in the small lakeside town one hour northeast of Atlanta.

The venue on the 206-acre campus of the military prep academy aims to approximate in setting and style the European-estate feel of such events as the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England. Continue reading

Green Bay’s Motorama packs in a little of everything

Vintage cars are only part of the scene at the NEW Motorama | William Hall photos
Vintage cars are only part of the scene at the NEW Motorama | William Hall photos

Green Bay, Wisconsin, is the smallest town to hold an NFL Football franchise, but it has one of the highest percentage of fans per capita. One could apply that same measure to the region’s car enthusiasts, who turned out in droves for the third annual NEW (North East Wisconsin) Motorama held at the Brown County Arena in the shadow of the Green Bay Packer’s Lambeau Field.

So, what is the difference between an “autorama” and a “motorama?” Apparently, a motorama celebrates anything with a motor in it, which in the Upper Midwest means classic cars, trucks, hot rods, dirt-track racers, motorcycles, snowmobiles, golf karts, tractors, trikes and a few things you just had to see to believe. Continue reading

Historic racing motorcycles take over Harley museum

The exhibit includes (from left) a Harley XRTT road racer, a XR750 flat tracker and an MX-250 motocrosser | WIlliam Hall photos
The exhibit includes (from left) a Harley XRTT road racer, a XR750 flat tracker and an MX-250 motocrosser | WIlliam Hall photos

Harley-Davidson is known more for its traditionally styled boulevard cruisers than for competition motorcycles. However, a trip to the new exhibition, “Racing Machines: From the KR to the XR,” at Milwaukee’s Harley-Davidson Museum offers an eye-opening look at the American motorcycle manufacturer’s remarkable racing efforts.

On display are the historical artifacts from their motocross, road-racing, flat-track, short-track and land-speed record efforts. Continue reading

Family affair keeps the Gurney Eagles flying

The restored Penske  Racing Team transporter with the 1972 Mark Donahue Sunoco AAR Eagle race car | William Hall
The restored Penske Racing Team transporter with the 1972 Mark Donahue Sunoco AAR Eagle race car | William Hall

Rick Dresang was a broke teenager living in Plymouth, Wisconsin when he snuck into nearby Road America in the trunk of his buddy’s car to watch Mark Donohue’s record-setting 1973 SCCA Can-Am race. A confirmed gearhead, the young race fan’s dreams that night were undoubtedly colored Penske blue and yellow. Continue reading

Car condos bring motorsports, collector car culture home

Some car Condos offer space for collectors to entertain | Iron Gate Motor Condos.
Some car Condos offer space for collectors to entertain | Iron Gate Motor Condos.

Nearly every car collector longs for more garage space to house their precious vehicles. Specialized condo developments now cater to those who want to fully embrace the collector car lifestyle.

New communities are springing up around the country that not only store cars but offer owners inclusion in a fraternity of passionate automotive enthusiasts. Some condos are purpose-built around track activities. Others target parking solutions for urban enthusiasts with a social-club setting. Continue reading

Mama Tried – and succeeds – at being a unique motorcycle show

A rigid-frame Harley-Davidson stands like a curated work of art | William Hall photos
A rigid-frame Harley-Davidson stands like a curated work of art | William Hall photos

Unlike the hapless subject of Merle Haggard’s wistful honky-tonk classic from which it derives its name, Milwaukee’s Mama Tried Motorcycle Show has proven to be a standout success among vintage and custom motorcycle shows.

Held each February in a century-old urban industrial warehouse in the shadow of main-sponsor Harley-Davidson, the event celebrates the art of the motorcycle in a hip, fresh exhibition of more than 100 invited builders and collectors from around the country. Continue reading

After 104 years, Badger Motor Car Co. back in business… sort of

Custom cars and motorcycles belly up to the old factory housing the micro-brew pub | Badger Motorcar Company photos
Custom cars and motorcycles belly up to the old factory housing the motor-themed tavern | Badger Motorcar Company photos

At the turn of the century, hundreds of wannabe industrialists jumped into the burgeoning horseless-carriage industry. One such startup, the Badger Motor Car Company, began production of its 1910 30-horsepower, 4-cylinder, 3-speed-transmission car in the rural Midwestern town of Columbus, Wisconsin. Continue reading