This year's event saw a larger number of vehicles than in past
years, and a good turn out of spectators. The weather was perfect,
and it seemed that everyone was happy to be there, to see the cars,
and to show off the cars.
Geoff Ladd of the Mill said that he knew there were cars there from
northern regions of the state, which was something he was quite
In addition to the vehicles, there was live music throughout the
day, pizza available at lunch time, Route 66 items on sale, and a
The entry fee for the cars at the show was only $5.00, and the
entire amount was given to the Mill on 66 for the restoration
project that is ongoing. The Mill is expected to open as a Route 66
museum in the spring/summer of 2017.
Among a large number of cars on hand, there were quite a few classic
and antique automobiles, including some Ford Model A's that have
been carefully restored.
Classic cars included those of distinctive of the 1960's and a
decade or two on either side. Many enjoyed checking out the muscle
cars such as the Dodge Challenger parked in the shadow of the Mill.
When it comes to classics and antiques, the devil is in the details,
and several enjoyed checking out the original engines, perfect
upholstery, and the chrome that embellished many a vehicle in the
Resto-mods and Rat Rods draw plenty of attention
Among the vehicles on hand Saturday at the Railsplitter Cruise-in at
the Mill was a cherry red 1950's era pickup truck that was certainly
a "cherry" in every way. The owners of the vehicle are from the quad
cities area. The couple explained that as a welding teacher at a
high school in the Quad Cities, the husband had taken his truck body
to class, and his welding class created the resto-mod vehicle as
part of a class project.
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The truck featured a custom made truck bed and tailgate, had been
"lowered" slightly from its original body style, and sported one
very slick looking set of chrome wheels.
Rat Rods also ruled the day at the car show, with several showing up to show
off. The story goes, Rat rods are a throwback to the 1950's and 60's right after
World War II. Young men had come home from the war with a new lease on life.
They wanted excitement, and one means of getting it was with cool cars and drag
It was not uncommon for kids to line country roads, if they could find a good
smooth, flat area, and pair off for drag races that were totally illegal, but
The best challenges came when someone would show up with an old farm truck or
car that looked like it would be better off in the junkyard. The challenge was,
one never knew, at least for the first race or two, just what was under the
hood. Often the secret under the hood was a souped up, overcharged engine that
left the finest looking car shaking off the dust.
On Saturday afternoon, finding fellas standing around a car and remembering the
drag races they participated in with their own version of the rat rod, or the
classy car that went up against it, was not uncommon all around the grassy area
of the Mill.
One rat rod in particular that drew a lot of attention was a late arrival. She
was a hoodless model, stretched out a bit in the front, with air hydraulics that
would set the frame squarely on the ground when parked for the show. As folks
gathered around the car for a first-hand look, the owner enjoyed demonstrating
the hydraulics, raising the vehicle to a driveable height, then dropping the
body back down on the ground.
Almost all of the cars at the show on Saturday were reminiscent of the vehicles
that would have traveled the famed "Mother Road" in its hay-day.
The day brought fond memories for those who lived in that era, and gave
inspiration to those who did not to learn more.