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Vinton teenager Dallas Kramer brought his very first car – a Mustang – to the Vinton Cruise.

Carroll Schlemmer of Marion brought his 47th classic vehicle– a 1966 Morris Minor.

The 30th annual Vinton Cruise brought more than 450 cars from throughout Iowa and beyond, and included cars that owners have had in their families for decades, and those which they had recently acquired.

For a few hours on Saturday, before parading throughout Vinton to allow hundreds of residents who lined the streets to admire those vehicles, the owners gathered around the courthouse, filling several city blocks, and discussing their cars with interested observers.

Along the way, many people learned something new about cars and car vocabulary.

Cabriolet, for example, is the French word for “convertible,” and was used for the earliest American vehicles of that type.

Saloon is the English word for “sedan.”

The drivers also eagerly shared the stories their cars inspired

Schlemmer, despite owning 46 cars at various times in his life, always wanted a Morris Minor.


His first car was an earlier Morris Model.

“My wife and I had our first date in this car,” says Schlemmer, holding up a black and white photo of his first Morris Minor.

While many Americans are not familiar with the name Morris, most know the initials of that company: Morris Garage, or MG.

Many of the cruise attendees stopped to notice that the Morris Minor has the steering wheel on the right side; Schlemmer bought it from a man who worked in Europe. They also could read the original registration, on which the word “saloon” appears.

Dale McClain, sitting behind the wheel of his 1929 Model A as the cruise was about to start, said he received that car – in its pre-restored condition – as payment for restoring a pick-up from the same era. He spent a couple years restoring the Model A, and now drives it in the cruise and other parades in the area.

The license plate on one of Iowa City resident David Corso’s classic car reads “Nov271984.” That, says Corso, is the day he bought the Chevy, which is now twice as old as it was when it became his. And yet, he says, with a new engine, it now runs better than it did in 1984.

Joe Vanek’s long red convertible contained the original bill of sale, completely listing all of the options and their price.

Other cars included photos taken pre-restoration, or photos showing the process it required to bring them to their current condition. License plates also contained information about the cars, the year they were made, the owners and other interesting facts.

Hayley Lawless of Marion brought her Nissan 350, which had an authentic Japanese license plate on the front. She and Josh Cox took a survey, asking passers-by which car they thought would be faster, the sleek-looking red Nissan or the Black Cadillac CTS. Surprisingly, they said, the Cadillac with a much larger engine can outrun the convertible.

Other owners discussed how they used Seran Wrap with a marbling paint to create a unique wrinkle or wave effect in their paint jobs, and why they chose a specific color for their car.

Some cars have special meaning inspired by tragedy.

Brittney Glime, 19, loved the Vinton Cruise and Ford Mustangs. The purple Mustang is the tribute of Brittney’s family, says her mother, Brenda Engelking of Keystone.

“Brittney died in an accident caused by a drunk driver seven years ago,” says Engelking. “We made this car three years ago.”

In addition to her favorite color, the car includes a butterfly – a reminder of the butterfly tattoo that Brittney loved.

Organizers say there were 387 paid entries.

Prize winners were:

Cobblestone Inn stay: Dave Jones, Cedar Rapids; Iowa Speedway tickets, Jason Rippel, Reinbeck and Ray Lough, Vinton; Hand-sewn quilt, Ora Hennessy, Dysart; Stihl string trimmer, Jacob Patrilla, Vinton.

See more photos HERE.

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