From brawn to beauty, the Midwest All-Truck Nationals hauls into Riverside
As the owner of an old truck, I always look forward to the Midwest All-Truck Nationals, which made its annual stop at the E.H. Young Riverfront Park in Riverside, Mo., over the weekend. This event is hosted by the Genuine Chevy/GMC Truck Club of Kansas City. How seriously do I take this show? Well, I usually take my truck to a real car wash and blast it with a high-pressure wand instead of just hosing it off in the driveway, and I climb into the bed and sweep it out with a broom. So yeah, it’s a pretty big deal.
On the other hand, there are other people that are much more serious about it than I am. They’re easy to spot, because they spend a good part of the weekend waxing, polishing, and dusting their rides. Take this guy right here. I believe it won the best of show award, and I’d say it was deserving. It has a ‘67/’68 Chevy grille, what appear to be cut-down, recovered, later-model Pontiac seats, and a ’55-’59 gauge cluster nestled within a custom molded dashboard. Everything about it, from the paint to the air suspension looked pretty sophisticated to me.
When I go to this show, I like to meet up with the Stovebolt.com crew. This is the most die-hard, knowledgeable group of old truck enthusiasts anywhere. The owner of the site, John Milliman, actually drove this big ’72 GMC 9500 semi in from Oak Ville, Maryland. The top-speed on this rig is governed at 62-mph, and there is nothing refined or comfortable about it. I guess it was worth the trip, though, because he picked up a ’53 Dodge while he was in Kansas City, which he can haul back on his flatbed trailer. Anyway, John and his wife Peggy come to this show every year, and their fun attitude always rubs off on the other members that also often travel great distances to see them.
Another Stovebolter, Leo Kuiperij, drove this 1953 Chevy panel here from Oakwood, Ontario Canada. Leo actually uses this truck some for his construction business. It still has the original-style, barely padded bucket seats, and a 261-c.i. inline six. Leo said he could drive this one at 70-mph, which is really hummin’ in one of these old Stovebolts. This was sort of a homecoming for his truck, because the factory in which it was built was in … Kansas City.
This 1939 GMC wrecker turns up at quite a few car shows around town. It’s owned by Calvin Lutz out of Topeka, Kan. It did pretty well at this show, taking the top awards for both best utility body and best GMC. Today, it’s more of a hot rod than a service vehicle. But people really like looking at it, and it is definitely different than another Deuce Coupe. It’s probably a little too nice to actually use to drag dead Tauruses to the police impound yard, though.
The KC Vanners Club typically brings out an interesting group to this show. This ’78 Ford belongs to Israel Perez from Topeka. The interior has a combination of parquet flooring, seat cushions, and pillows that reminds me of the inside of the bottle on I Dream of Jeannie. But the most obvious and radical modification to this thing is the chopped top. I can’t even imagine the work that had to go into cutting down the lid on a windowless cargo van like this. It’s nice work, too. Probably not a job that I would ever be willing to tackle, however.
I’m always a little sad each year when the truck show wraps up, although it was so hot this year that I wasn’t as sad as I could have been. But it’s still nice to get around a group of people that really seem to appreciate and enjoy old trucks. And as a whole, I have found old truck people to be among the nicest in the hobby. Of course, I like old trucks too, which is why there are 467 pictures in the slideshow below. Or, click this link for a nicer version.