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Car lovers cruise into Gus’ Show

Gus' Car Show, Owatonna, car show near me
Steele County Historical Society board treasurer Jerry Garfield, who is also a volunteer tour guide at the Village of Yesteryear, manned the Gus’ Station table at Saturday’s car show. His “uniform” includes a Standard uniform shirt from eBay and his old Army hat, with a Standard sticker applied. Staff photo by Joni Hubred
Joni Hubred, News Editor

Gary Miller of Owatonna has put less than 1,000 miles on his 1964 Corvette, and it shows.

The bright red vehicle sparkled in the sunlight during the Gus’ Station Car Show, held Saturday at the Steele County Historical Society on Austin Road. Miller said he spends a few hours polishing it up before local car shows.

“I go out in the garage and look at it a lot,” he said. “I drive to breakfast in the morning once in a while and to Kwik Trip.”

Miller said the original owners “apparently bought it for speed,” because the vehicle has the biggest engine available and no power accessories or anything that would drag it down. The car is in pristine shape; he typically addresses a small issue each year “just due to age.”

“I had two Corvettes when I was younger, and I said when my kids were all out of the house, I was going to get another Corvette,” he said. “I really, really like it, but it’s an investment. As long as it’s in this condition, it’ll never go down in price.”

Blooming Prairie native Dale Jacobson brought two restored vehicles to the show.

One replicates the 1966 GT350 Mustang, a high-performance version of the Ford Mustang built by Shelby-American. The vehicles that typically cross the auction block for upwards of $200,000.

After finding a rust-free body years ago, Jacobson started collecting parts to complete a very “faithful, accurate” recreation.

"I’ve had actual GTE350 owners look at it and say, if it weren’t for the fact that the serial number was six digits higher than the last one they made, we’d swear it was real,” he said.

Jacobson traces his appreciation for the vehicle back to his childhood and a copy of “Sports Cars of the World” received from his uncle. He thought the Shelby Mustang was cool.

“It just stuck with me all these years, so I finally got one,” he said.

Jacobson ordered his second restored vehicle, a 1977 Pinto Cruising Wagon, new in 1976; it arrived in March of 1977.

“We drove it for the first few years as our everyday car,” he said.

That lasted until the 1980s, when everything “70s” became uncool. Finally, his wife, Barbara, refused to be seen in it. The couple now lives in Owatonna.

“She told me to sell it, get some money out of it, do something with it,” he said. “I just had a feeling about this car, so I said no… One of our first arguments.”

Instead, Jacobson put the car up on blocks, with the seats and other less sturdy elements carefully preserved in heavy plastic so mice couldn’t get to them. After collecting parts for many years, he completed the total “nut and bolt” restoration.

Vehicles lined the parking lot behind the Steele County History Center, with a few spilling out onto the street. Gus’ Station Car Show, in its eighth year, typically draws over 100 entries.

The event celebrates the history of an iconic Ellendale gas station built in 1931 and closed 50 years later. A community fund drive raised enough to move the building to the Steele County Historical Society’s Village of Yesteryear in 2012.


Gus’ Car Show Winners

  • Best in Show – 1929 Buick Sport Phaeton owned by Dave Seykora of Owatonna
  • Best Interior – 1931 Ford Tudor Sedan owned by Rick and Kathy Ahrens, Owatonna
  • Mayor’s Choice – 1964 Chevy Corvette owned by Gary Miller of Owatonna
  • Best Motorcycle – 1996 Honda GL 1500 SE owned by Martin Weis of Brooklyn Center
  • Best Wheels – 1961 Chevy Impala owned by Don Hagen of Eagle Lake
  • Best Pickup – 1953 Ford F-100 owned by Gene and Mikki Hillesheim of Mankato
  • Best Engine – 1966 Chevy C-10 owned by Randy Winter of Owatonna
  • Best Paint – 1950 Chevy Pickup owned by Dennis Malecha of Waseca
  • Best Modern – 2005 Cadillac CTS-V owned by Dallas Loken of New Richland


Owners of the top 15 vehicles voted on by participants received event t-shirts: 

  • Rod Brown, Blooming Prairie – 1970 Oldsmobile 442 W30
  • Wayne Larson, Claremont – 1969 Dodge Charger
  • Rick Bliss, Austin – 1946 Chevy Pickup
  • Dale Jacobson, Owatonna – 1977 Ford Pinto Cruising Wagon
  • Dennis Kieffer, Rochester – 1966 Chevy Chevelle
  • Mike Lockie, Austin – 1965 Plymouth Satellite
  • Christopher Iverson, Austin – 1928 Ford Model A “Evilyn”
  • John Erickson, Kasson – 1963 Chevy Impala 409
  • Tim Johnson, Owatonna – 1912 Ford Model T
  • Chad Helmers, Montgomery – 1967 Pontiac LeMans
  • Gary Johnson, Ellendale – 1958 Chevy Impala
  • Daryl Johnson, Owatonna – 1957 Chevy Belair
  • Dana Christiansen, Hartland – 1972 Plymouth Cuda
  • James Hlavac, Faribault – 1966 Ford Mustang Fastback
  • Tom Harnack, Austin – 1970 Ford Mach I Mustang

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