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Paul Bunyan Vintage Auto Club to host car show Sunday

For Bud Woodard, collecting classic cars is more than a hobby. It's a way for him to share with others his passion for automobiles from days past.

"I've always admired the transition between the horse-and-buggy days and the days of the modern automotive," Woodard said.

And with his vast collection and the Paul Bunyan Vintage Auto Club's upcoming 23rd annual Car Show, the Bemidji man will have much to share.

On Sunday, Woodward will showcase his black-and-red 1958 Edsel at the car show. Rain or shine, the show will be held from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bemidji High School. Spectator admission is $5. Children 12 and under may attend for free.

Also, spouses and children of deployed soldiers can attend the show for free by bringing their military identification. Deployed soldiers home on leave may also attend at no cost.

"Every year, we highlight a different model or brand or year of car," said Jerry Solheim, a club member who is helping organize the event. "This year, we're promoting orphan cars."

He said Woodard's 1958 Edsel will be the show's featured orphan car, which is a car that is no longer manufactured. And, he said, the car will be featured on the club's T-shirt this year.

Along with the colorful rows of classic cars, Sunday's car show will include seminars, car chats, a swap meet, food vendors, a car corral and arts and crafts. And starting at 11 a.m., KW & the Hubcaps will perform live '50s music and children's games will be held.

All seminars will be held in the BHS Lumberjack Room and are free with admission. Author and Master Gardener Becky Livermore will discuss tips from her book "Becky's Bloomers" at 11:30 a.m. Author and CPA Mark Elliot will present "Your Car Hobby: Records & Documents You Should Keep" at 12:45 p.m. And at 2 p.m., members of the Paul Bunyan Vintage Auto Club will present "Getting Started in the Car Hobby Without the Bucks."

Activities for car show participants will begin Friday, including a stop at Itasca State Park and a cruise on scenic country back roads to Bemidji. On Saturday, the activities planned for participants include garage tours in the afternoon and an evening cruise ending with a brat feed.

"For us, it's a nostalgic trip down memory lane," Solheim said of the weekend activities.

A trip back in time

Nostalgia is one of the reasons Woodard began collecting classic cars. Several of his cars are duplicates of the cars he once drove or owned as a young man.

"I have a copy of the first car I ever drove as a teenager," Woodard said. "I have a copy of the first car I ever owned."

He said the first car he drove as a teenager was a 1930 Model A Coupe and the first car he owned was a 1935 Ford Coupe.

Woodard said he started collecting classic cars primarily after he retired from the movie theater business.

"Right now, there's a total of 26 completed with two to go," he said. "Most of them have been completely restored to original condition."

But, he said, some of the cars in his collection are unrestored - and in show condition.

"One of the most interesting cars is a 1941 Cadillac owned originally by Al Capone's personal physician," noted Woodard, who is now the third owner of the dark blue car.

He added, "My favorite year ... of cars is 1941. Reason is due to the fact that on Dec. 7, 1941, Roosevelt declared no more automobiles to be manufactured for domestic production."

He noted that he owns a 1941 Lincoln Continental - one of only 850 manufactured.

"The original owner of the car had it shipped by air freight to Buenos Aires, Argentina, to participate in an automobile ... show," Woodard said.

The rarest car in his collection, he said, is a 1930 Marquette.

"The Marquette was made only one year by Buick Corporation and it was Buick's answer to the Depression," he said, noting that the car was a cheaper version of the Buick. "And they only made 2,397."

Woodard said the 1930 Marquette - boasting three shades of green - is the oldest car in his collection.

The newest car, he said, is also green - a 1966 Ford Mustang.

Cruising to car shows

Woodard said he travels around Minnesota showing his cars at classic cars shows. His wife, Gloria, also has her own classic car - a peacock blue 1956 Ford Thunderbird - that she occasionally brings along.

Besides showcasing his 1958 Edsel at Sunday's car show, Woodard said he also plans to bring along some of the other cars in his collection.

"I take different ones every year," he said.

Woodard, who has hired David Erickson to restore his classic cars, said the cars in his collection have come from the East Coast to the West Coast. And each one is special to him.

"I really can't come up with a favorite because they all have special meanings," he said.