For those who love the artistic lines of a classic car or truck, vintage vehicles are nothing short of rolling sculptures. With that in mind, the Barton County Historical Society Museum and Village held an open house Saturday, and invited car buffs to display their collections.
Brock McPherson from Great Bend rolled out a 1937 Cord, while Jim Krebaum, also from Great Bend, caught viewers’ eyes with a 1962 Corvette.
Jay Leno noted in a Popular Mechanics article that the 1936 Cord 810/812 was “The Beautiful Baby Duesenberg that Never Caught on.” “The Cord factory made just under 3,000 cars before production ended in August 1937; about two-thirds survive.”
Cord innovations mentioned by Leno included hidden headlights that the driver unveiled with a hand crank.
“One of the things I admire about the Cord is that the stylists and the engineers used a lot of ingenuity. They had to,” Leno wrote. “The Cord was designed and built on a shoestring budget in the middle of the Depression. Here’s one example: Everyone admires the Cord’s wheels and hubcaps as pinnacles of art deco styling. But the simple, elegant look was a pragmatic solution to a problem. During a cross-country test drive, the brakes overheated. There was no money to develop better brakes, so the engineers later drilled holes in the full-size hubcaps to cool the brakes, and those hubcaps became one of the Cord’s most admired styling elements.”
Sometimes rolling sculpture can be a work in progress. Terry Allen from Lyons brought a rough 1950 GMC pickup that he has only recently acquired.
“It came out of the barn just four months ago, just a bare rolling chassis,” he said. Allen said it will be two or three more years before he’s ready to chose a color for a new paint job.
During the Rolling Sculpture Show, visitors had free access to the Historical Museum and Village. Beverly Komarek, executive director of the historical society, said there were more than two dozen vehicles on display. Thanks to the generosity of area businesses, many of the owners took home a door prize. Inside the museum, DVD’s showed activities from Great Bend’s drag strip in the 1950s. Outside, the village’s Little Train provided rides for children.