APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Appleton’s annual Octoberfest started Friday for the 31st time with License to Cruise, a classic car show along College Ave. featuring 400 cars that are at least 20 years old.
There were the Corvettes, Camaros, GTs, Mustangs, and hundreds of other high-horsepower automobiles. But at the street corner across from Home Burger Bar sat a two-toned 1959 Rambler and Neenah resident Dave Beck.
“It was given to me by my grandparents in college,” he said. “I remember it growing up, they bought it when I was six. And driving in the backseat and them taking me camping in it, with the seats go down as the beds and we’d sleep in the backseat.”
It was his own car for four years, and then it was time to pass it along.
“When I got old enough to go to college they gave it to me and it was my first car,” he said. “Then I had to give it up and give it to my cousin.”
That was the last he saw of that car; the one he has now is a different one, but with just as deep a history.
“I’m told it belonged to the Wrigley’s,” he said. “I’d been looking for one for years, and finally I found this one. Along the side of the road, I had to turn around and stop to see if it was the same car and it was.”
Rusty, worn down, in disrepair and with 28,000 miles on it, Beck got to work on the car right after finding it in 2013.
“I’ve just been working on it constantly for 10 years,” he said. “This car’s been a long time coming.”
Now Beck knows all the ins and outs of his car, like the foot pump for windshield wiper fluid.
“If there was a leak, it could empty all the windshield washer down by your foot,” he said.
His wife, usually quiet about his tinkering hobby, could not but help notice the new chrome bumpers that Beck got, and wanted them inside the house.
“It was Christmas time, and she says, ‘Why don’t we put them up on the mantel for Christmas? And so we did,” he said.
Beck said that with age the car has risen in admiration.
“Well for them, this car, it wasn’t that special, it just got them from point A to point B,” he said. “Back in the day, this thing wasn’t a real special car. It was a low-cost car. But a lot of people had them, and they all disappeared. And now it’s become special because there are so few of them around.”
Even though there are plenty of other cooler, faster cars, Beck would not trade his for any other.
“That one looks really cool and turns a lot of heads, this one is a personal attachment,” he said. “Lots of memories. That’s what cars are for, memories.”