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.

Daytona/Superbird Auto Club throws its annual wing-ding

Vintage speedway competitors gathered on the grass | William Hall photos
Vintage speedway competitors gathered on the grass | William Hall photos

Whether fastback or finback, the aerodynamic racers that roamed the NASCAR oval tracks during the 1969-1970 seasons were some of the most exciting cars ever built.

The buying public did not share the same enthusiasm for the powerful but ungainly cars, however, and the street models required for homologation sat unsold in dealers’ backlots at huge discounts when new. Now, they are amongst the most expensive and prized of all models from the muscle car era. Continue reading

Buick passion kept alive by dedicated enthusiasts

A 1948 Buick Super coupe and a 1933 panel delivery at the Buick meet | William Hall photos
A 1948 Buick Super coupe and a 1933 panel delivery at the Buick meet | William Hall photos

Just about all of us knew a nice old lady or fellow who lived down the street with a well-kept classic Buick. Now imagine if all of those ladies and gentlemen decided to converge on one spot at the same time every year. Well, then you would have the Buick Club of America’s National Meet.

This year’s 51st annual Buick meet brought about 360 registered Buicks of all years to Brookfield, Wisconsin, for a mid-summer convention held from July 5-8. Continue reading

Millers at Milwaukee provides mile of smiles in vintage Indy cars

Early Indy race cars on the track at the Milwaukee Mile | William Hall photos
Early Indy race cars on the track at the Milwaukee Mile | William Hall photos

The recipe for a good motorsports event comes down to great cars in a historic venue with true enthusiasts. For 23 years, the Harry A. Miller Club has delivered that and more at its annual Millers at Milwaukee vintage Indy car event at the Wisconsin State Fair Park’s “Milwaukee Mile” oval track.

The club was founded by Schlitz brewery scion and car collector David V. Uihlein, Sr. who was challenged to form the organization by the former chairman of Rolls-Royce. The British auto executive was astonished that no one was honoring the creations of one of America’s greatest open-wheel racecar designers. Uihlein and fellow collectors took inspiration and banded together to celebrate Wisconsin-native Miller. The club continues today after Uihlein’s passing under the guiding hand of club president and auction-company owner Dana Mecum. Continue reading

Life on two – or three – wheels celebrated at Vintage Motofest

Racer Chris Dietz (right) focusing before his race | William Hall photos
Racer Chris Dietz (right) focusing before the race for vintage Hondas | William Hall photos

Classic motorcycling in all its forms was celebrated at the Vintage Motofest recently at the Road America racetrack in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The event encompassed vintage road racing, an off-road hare scramble, stunt-riding shows, a swap meet, live bands, a microbrew tasting event and the Rockerbox motorcycle show.

The weekend’s main draw was the 14th annual Rockerbox bike show hosted by Motorcycle Classics magazine. Formerly held in downtown Milwaukee, the event outgrew the urban setting and paired up with the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association’s vintage races and swap meet four years ago. Continue reading

Harley-Davidson Museum celebrates The Race of Gentlemen

Hot rods from The Race of Gentlemen on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum | William Hall
Hot rods from The Race of Gentlemen on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum | William Hall

When Jim Nelson and friends returned home from World War II to Carlsbad, California, they had two things on their minds – girls and speed. In 1945, they formed a club to pursue the latter, and The Oilers Car Club was born.

Their exploits might have been lost to time if not for their inclusion in the award-winning 2003 book, The Birth of Hot Rodding: The Dry Lakes Era by Robert Genat and Don Cox. A lifetime away on the opposite coast, Mel Stultz and friends obsessed over the book’s images of the early days of post-war hot-rodding, reaching out to author Genat who put them in touch with the original Oilers. Continue reading

Bookshelf: Rainy day memories with the Davidsons

A vintage Harley-Davidson parked in the rain at the family get-together | William Hall photos
A vintage Harley-Davidson parked in the rain at the family get-together | William Hall photos

Every now and again, weather interjects itself into the best-laid plans of the vintage motorcyclist. Experienced riders know to take the hint; oftentimes the universe is aligning a different experience, and a sudden downpour is merely the suggestion that one should be open to the unexpected.

Such was the case while attending a recent event held by the Badger Heritage Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. Heavy rain was predicted all day, but I still obligingly attended because I knew the organizers would be there working hard, rain or shine. Besides, most antique motorcyclists are a plucky bunch (“Weather? Hell, that’s the least of my worries.”) Continue reading

Classic car show honors famed NASCAR champion

A Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Coronet R/T both look great in blue
A Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Coronet R/T both look great in blue | William Hall photos

When 1986 NASCAR Rookie-Of-The-Year driver Alan Kulwicki arrived in Charlotte, North Carolina, he had a borrowed pickup truck and little else. A devout Roman Catholic Polish-American from the Upper Midwest with an engineering degree, he stood in stark contrast from the Good Ol’ Boy image prevalent in stock-car oval racing at the time.

Known to walk the pits carrying a briefcase, he applied scientific principle and determination to become the 1992 Winston Cup Champion. He died the following year in a light-aircraft crash in Tennessee at the age of 38, cutting short a promising career but setting a new standard for driver professionalism and preparation in NASCAR. Continue reading

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