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Potluck: Blast From the Past

Onawa, Iowa

Compiled by Carol Bodensteiner and Mary Gottschalk

Graffiti Night Car Show

Movies like American Graffiti, songs like “American Pie,” and DJs like Wolfman Jack celebrate America’s mid-20th-century love affair with cars. Iowans can relive that time of tail fins and muscle cars, cruising the strip, and “meetin’ at the drive-in” when car lovers congregate in Onawa in June.

“Onawa has been recognized as one of the top 10 cruising venues in the nation,” says Bill Wonder, founding member of the Classics Car Club, which has hosted the Graffiti Night Car Show for 28 years. The event attracts some 300 cars representing all years, makes, and models, including the muscle cars of today, says Wonder. “Onawa has the widest main street in the U.S., and the line of cars when we cruise is seven miles long.”

Wonder’s own passion — restoring cars — began in 1976, when he recovered the rusted-out hulk of a 1956 Ford 2-door station wagon from behind a corncrib, evicted the mice, and rebuilt the car into a showpiece. That project led to others. His current show rides are a ’70 Plymouth ’Cuda and a ’70 Plymouth ’Cuda convertible.

To join this blast from the past, pull on your bobby socks and saddle shoes, slick back your hair, roll the cigarettes up in your t-shirt sleeve, and meet at Michael’s Drive-In restaurant on June 16 (costumes not required). 

Steer your browser to and — C.B.

Photo courtesy of Bill Wonder. 


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