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The Best of the 2012 Iola Old Car Show

This past weekend, Gold Eagle stopped by the 40th annual Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet in Iola, Wisconsin, for four days of classic cars, seminars and family-friendly fun. Our own Matt Banach was on hand at the event’s education tent where experts from the automotive industry discussed everything from rear quarter panel replacement to continuing shop class education in high schools.

According to Matt, the event gave him the chance to speak to more than 500 attendees over the four days of presentations about a wide range of topics including how drivers can best store their fuel and use Gold Eagle products like STA-BIL fuel stabilizer.

“I pretty much lost my voice by the last day in the booth just from talking to so many people there and at the show field,” Matt said after the show.

Despite his personal fatigue, Matt says that all those talks were worth it, as everyone he spoke to was very engaged. Still, he’s not above picking favorites: Though he saw a lot of classic cars, rare trucks and creative customs at the event, a few stood above the others.

Here are Matt’s picks for the best cars by category from the 2012 Iola Old Car Show.

Best ’40s Car – 1949 HudsonWith a smooth bronze paint job and closed rear wheels, this 1949 Hudson caught Matt’s eye for its finer details. While Matt saw a number of great ’40s models at the show, he says this rare sight was the most interesting, as it showcased a more modern design for the times that saw a lot of action on the NASCAR circuit.

Best ’50s Car – 1959 Chrysler 300
In addition to epic tail fins, great styling and quality interior luxury, the 1959 Chrysler 300 was a powerful muscle model in its day. The ’59 300 was the first to use a wedge motor (marking an end to the HEMI), and it featured a 413 engine with two four-barrel carbs, making it a sight to behold.

And since 1959 was a slow sales year for the company, finding this model in pristine condition has become exceptionally rare, another factor that helped this jet black beauty really standout.

Best ’60s car – Black 1967 Firebird Convertible
While the Firebird line has ended, it’s sure to live on if car collectors continue to treat these models like this black ’67 model. And it seems that some judges have a soft spot for these ‘birds as well. Matt says that since Camaros tend to dominate auto shows, he picked the Firebird as it’s a bit more rare but just as powerful.

Best ’70s Car – 1979 Dodge Little Red ExpressWith a 360ci V-8 motor, the “Little Red Express” had power and personality. As one of the more unique models the company has produced, the Dodge is coveted by collectors and a rare find, even for those who frequent event circuits.

Matt chose this car as it represented an interesting point in automotive history, marking the first time a major auto company had decided to incorporate the look of an aftermarket custom into a factory-build model. He also notes it had the same motor as the police cars of the day and featured real wood in its bed.

Gold Eagle’s Choice – 1966 Dodge ChargerWhat’s a competition without a little bias? Matt says he picked this pristine first-year Charger fastback, well, because it was his personal favorite.

To pick your favorite model, you can view more pictured of cars at the event, click here.

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