Louver It

Greetings Fellow Travelers,

As you have seen from my previous tales, you meet many an interesting character while traveling this great nation of ours. Today I am here to tell you about another one of these fellow travelers, Mr. Nick Gentry and his Louver Machine.

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I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gentry at a car show in Jefferson, Iowa, where he was driving a fine machine he had fashioned himself, a traditional-built hod rod Ford pickup. While looking over this well-made vehicle, I noted that his hood had louvers and asked him about where he had these put in. Mr. Gentry then informed me that these louvers were his own handiwork, and he had the pleasure of owning his own machine. As we continued speaking, I asked him if he would be interested in adding louvers to one of my own hot rods, the hood for my 1951 Chevy Sports Coupe.

After agreeing to my request, I transported myself and my hood to Rockwell City, Iowa, where Mr. Gentry kept his own shop and his louver machine. Once there, I had the pleasure to meet the man who imparted some of his knowledge to Nick, his father, Dale Gentry. I spent the afternoon in their company, learning more about the Gentry shop and the other body shop he worked for in town.

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A little ways down the road, I saw Mr. Gentry and his machine again at one of my favorite stops I have previously written about, Torque Fest. Nick greeted me as an old friend, and I watched as he took the hoods and other articles from ready-paying patrons and added louvers to it all.

If you are ever in need of a new hole and happen to be by the North-Central Iowa town of Rockwell City, stop by and say hi to Nick while he adds a louver or two.

From the Open Road,

Lincoln Highway Johnny

Torque Fest 2017

Greetings Fellow Travelers,

The open road has been a bumpy one of late, which delayed some of my travels.  But I have returned and would like to talk about an “Alternative Style” car show I visited over the last weekend.

Near the Mississippi River in the Eastern Iowa town of Dubuque, Torque Fest happens every year.  I have been attending this event every year since its inception, where it started in Farley, IA and moved around until it landed finally in Dubuque.  Torque Fest is a celebration of the early creation of the American Hot Rod and all the culture that comes with it. While traversing the grounds, Bettys are plenty with rock-a-billy setting the soundtrack to the day.  The word of event is No-Billet, meaning no fancy bells and whistles.

john wells touqe festMost of the proceeds of the event go to a medical fund called Helping Hannah, who is the daughter of the founder, Mr. John Wells.  Mr. Wells, the featured man in my drawing today, founded this fest.  When I first met him, he was a purveyor of classic car films, using those funds to help his daughter.  Now he has graduated to hosting Torque Fest once a year and Iron Invasion, a car show much the same as this event, in Woolstock, IL.

This show has a flavor for all tastes, with old time races ranging from automobiles to motorcycles to chain races, to a swap meet where you can find treasures from a bygone era.  Every year in the early days of May, Torque Fest roars and rocks into Iowa, so if you should ever find yourself on the ol’ Mississippi during that time of the year, stop by and find out what this celebration of the past can give to you.

So thank you, Mr. John Wells for another successful celebration.  The cars and the Bettys were a sight for sore eyes, with the weather and the soundtrack setting the atmosphere needed to celebrate the contraptions inspired by the past.

From the Open Road,

Lincoln Highway Johnny

To learn more about Torque Fest, visit Vintage Torque Fest.