By Kathleen Hoersten Quirk, Special to ADAMM   Published May 19, 2019 at 7:01 PM

This content is presented in partnership with ADAMM.

Judith Burden was flipping through the pages of a scrapbook when she came across the picture of a 1967 yellow Mustang she’d owned when she was younger. 

"Boy, I’d like to get my old Mustang back," she said to her fiancé, Randy Ninneman.  

Say no more. 

Ninneman had introduced her to his car collecting hobby, and they’d become regulars at car shows.  

It took two years of patient pursuit through car shows and the internet, but the Hubertus couple found and bought a vintage yellow Mustang for Judith from an eBay seller in Florida who’d had it for 30 years. 

"One night, there was a ping on my phone at 9 or 10 at night," recalls Ninneman. He checked and found out that the online auction of a Mustang they were following was in its final minutes. After a flurry of bidding, the car was Burden’s at what they considered a pretty reasonable price. 

"We just took a chance it would be a decent car," Ninneman says. "It was way nicer than we anticipated: all original paint, no patch panels." Burden is only the fourth owner of the car, and the previous owner had meticulously logged every oil change. 

While the web and social media have made searching out and acquiring vehicles and parts easier, the ways people track down the car of their collecting dreams are as varied as the buyers. 

While it’s not as common as it once was, plenty of people still find their vintage vehicle in a barn. The 1950 Chevy pickup truck Chad Kallies is currently restoring had been sitting in his wife’s grandfather’s barn since 1985. 

"I’d seen that truck since I started dating my wife," says Kallies, who is parts director at Holz Motors and helps organize that dealership’s annual Fourth of July Classic and Antique Car Show in Hales Corners. He was able to buy the truck from the estate after the grandfather died, and it joined his 1967 Impala. That car was acquired the same way many proud owners of vintage vehicles get their favorite: just by keeping the first car they ever bought. 

His dad talked him into buying the Impala when he was 16, Kallies recalls, because it was large and sturdy. 

"At the time, I thought it was a boat – two tons of fun, but when you’re 16, you want something cool." After 28 years of tinkering, it’s now a classic, and he’s happy to take it to car shows.

"That’s my main car, my baby."

Sometimes buyers combine the pursuit of their hobby with their vacations. That’s how Gil and Bonnie Pierre of Sussex found and bought the 1949 Chevy they’re now proud to bring to local shows.  

Gil had been looking around online through a site called Spud’s Garage that helps individuals buy and sell classic and vintage vehicles. Since the couple was planning a trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, they took the opportunity for a side trip to Lake Havasu City to see the car. After some back and forth negotiation after they returned to Wisconsin, they bought it.  

Other buyers seek out cars both through word-of-mouth, through local car clubs and car club sites, through contacts with dealer personnel and at car shows. 

ADAMM runs a listing of car shows on its website every spring and summer, and local clubs hold smaller, informal rallies. The Pierres like the huge "Back to the ‘50s" show held in St. Paul, Minnesota, every spring that attracts approximately 12,000 vehicles, none younger than 1964.

"Monthly magazines, such as Hemming’s Motor News, list 20,000 cars of every possible description," advises Stan Johnson, a well-known local collector who organizes the annual Starry Nights Cruisin’ show at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts. 

Or, you can do as he’s done and build your own.

"That can be a great learning experience for the whole family," says Johnson. You can build the entire car yourself or get help with specialty work like welding or painting, he notes. 

"There is a real satisfaction in entering a car show of 200 to 400 cars knowing there will not be a duplicate of your car," he says. 

Another tip from Johnson for finding a vintage car: "Print a flyer stating your vehicle search and placing it on the front seat of cars in the shows is also effective – everyone in the shows has another car at home." 

Whether a buyer is looking for a car online or in person, local and national experts offer some tips:

  • Have a price in mind and stay within that range. That’s the advice of Kyle Oberdorf, a sales representative at Andrew Automotive, who runs that dealership’s annual classic car show and is himself the owner of four vintage cars: a 1960 Chevrolet Impala convertible, 1965 Impala Station wagon, 1984 Impala SS and a 2006 Impala SS. His wife has a 1984 Toyota Celica that she got from her dad. "Once you purchase these older cars, they always need some kind of work," says Oberdorf. "You can spend thousands on making it all correct and right. They’re never a cheap date, for sure."
  • Do your research on both the vehicle and the seller. Educate yourself by talking to other collectors at car shows and at local dealerships.
  • If you’re buying online, check out ratings or, like Pierre, deal with sites you’re familiar with. eBay is a good start, says Oberdorf, because buyers are rated on how customers are treated and how accurate the descriptions are of what is being sold, he adds. Other sites mentioned by those interviewed for this story include Craig’s List,, and The sites vary in policies, charges and services. Spud’s Garage, for example, has free postings, only charging when a vehicle is sold, according to Pierre. For an extra fee, the service will make a video for buyers, even including the sound of the engine running. eBay Motors charges a percentage when the car is sold so some sellers prefer to try other sites first, says Pierre.
  • Check the car out if possible. While Burden and Ninneman took a chance and bought the Mustang after only seeing the online photos, others, like Pierre, check out cars they find online in person. 
  • Having a good mechanic check over the car, if possible, can give a buyer more confidence in making an offer, says Oberdorf. 
  • Often, cars from warmer, drier Southern and western states are in better shape than Wisconsin cars that have been exposed to snow, rain, ice and road salt. 
  • Though rarity may add value, as with any type of collectible purchase, focus on buying what you love rather than speculating on future value. That’s the advice from a March 2017 Fortune Magazine. The article on buying classic cars focuses on multimillion dollar vehicles like McLarens and Bugattis, but also has some good general advice.

2019 Car Show Calendar

  • Saturday, June 1 – Badger Region Cadillac & LaSalle Club Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Crest Cadillac, 12800 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield. Open to Cadillacs. Contact Bill Schneider, (262) 679-1516 or
  • Saturday, June 1 – Campus Classic Car Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at MATC  Oak Creek Campus, 6665 S. Howell Ave., with support from ADAMM and its members and PEAK Hot Rod Crew. All makes and models plus motorcycles are welcome. Proceeds support transportation servicing students at MATC. For information, email 
  • Saturday, June 15 – Summer All-Vehicle Car Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Griffin Chevrolet, 11100 W. Metro Auto Mall, Milwaukee. All makes and models, with an emphasis on Corvettes. With the Brew City Corvette Club. For information: (414) 687-7580 or the Griffin Chevrolet Facebook Page under "events."
  • Sunday, June 16 – 38th Annual British Car Field Day, co-sponsored by Fields Waukesha Jaguar Land Rover. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sussex Village Park on Main Street. Open to all British cars, trucks and motorcycles with 25 prize categories. Adults $2 and kids admitted free. The event is a benefit for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Boy Scouts of America. For information call John Stockinger, (262) 521-1072 or 
  • Sunday, June 23 – 21st Annual Classic Car Show, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Andrew Chevrolet, 1500 W. Silver Spring Dr., Glendale. With the Vintage Chevrolet Club of Wisconsin. Open to all makes and models of cars and motorcycles. Call Kyle at Andrew, (414) 228-6200. 
  • Sunday, June 30 – 36th annual All-Corvette Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Heiser Chevrolet, 10200 W. Arthur Ave., West Allis. Corvettes only, with the Badger State Vettes. For information, Partial proceeds from the event will be donated to the Pets for Vets companion animal program.
  • Thursday, July 4 – 37th Annual Antique and Classic Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Holz Motors, 5961 S. 108th Place, Hales Corners. All Corvettes and classic cars from 1989 and earlier. Call Chad Kallies at (414) 209-1300.
  • Sunday, July  7 – Allenton Lions 37th Annual Car Show at Veterans Park,  Highways 41 and 33, Allenton. 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. With Boucher Ford of West Bend. All makes and models, cars 25 years and older. Fundraiser for the Lions includes a pancake breakfast. Call Jim at (414) 881-5634.  
  • Friday, July 12 – 7th annual Starry Nights Cruisin’ at the Wilson Center for the Arts from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at the Wilson Center, 19805 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield. Free concert also planned with the Rockin’ Robins. Sponsored by Fields Land Rover Jaguar Volvo of Waukesha. Call (262) 781-9520, or go to
  • Sunday, July 21 – 37th Annual All-Ford Roundup at Soerens Ford, 18900 W. Capitol Drive, Brookfield, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the Wisconsin Ford Club. Ford-built vehicles only, including Mercury, Edsel and Lincoln. Call Russ Owens, (414) 861-9213,
  • Saturday, July 27 – Lake Geneva American Legion Classic Car Show from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lake Geneva Lanes, 192 E. Main St, Lake Geneva. Sponsored by Lake Geneva Chevrolet Buick GMC.
  • Sunday, Aug. 4 – 7th Annual Cruisin’ the Grove Car Show from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Watertown Plank Road in downtown Elm Grove. Sponsored by Uptown Ford Lincoln. Benefit for Team Up! With Families and Katy’s Kloset. Information: Cruisin’ the Grove Facebook page or
  • Saturday, Aug. 10 – 33rd annual All Buick Show at Matty’s Bar & Grille, 14460 W. College Ave., New Berlin, from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sponsored by Lynch GM Superstore with the Cream City Chapter of the Buick Club of America. Call (414) 719-5656.
  • Saturday, Aug. 10 – Holz Motors All Oldsmobile Show from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at Holz Motors Watertown, 1717 Utah St., Watertown. Oldsmobiles only.  With the Oldsmobile Club of Wisconsin. (414) 380-8566.
  • Friday, Aug. 16 – 37th Annual All Mopar Under the Lights Car Show from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at Schlossmann's Dodge City Chrysler Jeep, 19100 W. Capitol Dr., Brookfield. Open to MOPAR, Jeep, Ram, AMC and Nash cars. With the Wisconsin MOPAR Muscle Club. Details at the Wisconsin MOPAR Muscle Club page on Facebook.
  • Sunday, Aug. 18 – Ewald Chevrolet Buick of Oconomowoc’s 7th annual Highway 16 Car Show to benefit veterans. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the dealership, 36833 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. All makes and models. Contact Tracey Gunderson, (262) 567-5555.
  • Saturday, Aug. 24 – 28th Annual All-Car Show at Sindic Motorcars, S78 W18755 Janesville Road, Muskego, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the Muskego Corvette Club. Call (262) 352-9105,
  • Saturday, Aug. 24 - Sussex Area Service Club Big Engine Show from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at W244 N6125 Weaver Dr., Sussex. All makes and models, sponsored by Boucher Automotive Group. 
  • Sunday, Aug. 25 – Tichigan Lake Lions Car Show from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Waterford Town  Park, 8424 Big Bend Road, Waterford.  All makes and models. Sponsored by Frank Boucher Chevrolet Cadillac and Lynch Superstore Burlington. Proceeds help a local girl fighting brain cancer. More than 15 classes. Information at (262) 895-7430. 
  • Saturday, Sept. 7 – Wisconsin Corvette Club’s Corvettes for Charity Car Show at Holz Motors, 5961 S. 108th Place. Hales Corners, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.   Corvettes only, any year. Call Darlene at Holz, (414) 425-2400 or

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