A Mission in Missouri

A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Missouri with the C.A.R.S. club. The club is an on campus club made up of of old car enthusiasts, who like to go to events and put on the yearly car show at the college. Our goal for this trip was to view two collections. The first one being in Branson, which was one of the world’s largest collections of outboard motors, (with some cars sprinkled in) and another near Evergreen, which amounted to about 525 cars, most of which were convertibles.

There were about 15 members of the club on this adventure. We rented two vans and left the college at 6:00 in the morning on Saturday. The trip over was enjoyable, mainly because our van wasn’t terribly packed so most of us had our own bench to sprawl out on, and nap. We made stops for breakfast and lunch along the way, but yours truly was feeling really cheap, (no surprise there) so I took some granola and milk from the cafeteria for breakfast, and made two tuna sandwiches for lunch. I’m thrifty. I am pretty sure it has something to do with having a Scottish/German Ancestry.

After a fairly enjoyable trip, and a slight detour, we arrived at our first stop, the Outboard motor collection in Branson. The fellow who showed us around the place was very knowledgeable and very nice. When we first walked in the door there were about 10 motors siting there, and he gave us a short history lesson on the beginnings of the outboard motor, and the early companies associate such as Evinrude and Elto. The collection of outboard motors was astounding, not only by sheer quantity, but to see such a wide range, as well as some of the original crates that they came in.

After telling us a little about those, we went onward to the heart of the collection. The first vehicle we saw in the building was a 1959 Edsel. This was no ordinary Edsel, and looked a little odd compared to the other vehicles around it. This one had original paint, dirt, and charm…and a window radiator mounted on the right passenger window, with a small generator mounted on the trunk and held on by straps. This was the owner’s driver. He explained that the radiator and generator were there so he could run them while he was out of the vehicle, so that when he returned, it was nice and cool.

I hate to say it, but I cannot remember this gentleman’s name, therefore I have and will keep referring to him as , “him” and “he”. I promise I will edit this later to give due credit, but am so far behind I wanted to get this updated. His car collection had a good amount of variety, including such beauties as a 37 Cord 810, 37 Packard Roadster, a 1950 Oldsmobile, and few other cars. There was an interesting story to go along with his 1950 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 four door sedan. The owner had one just like it but had to get rid of it many years ago, something that has happened to many people. So the owner wanted another one later, just like the one he had, but he had trouble finding a four door. A friend of his called him and said he knew somebody who had a  50 Rocket 88, so he ended up buying it without even seeing it. It turns out that when he got the vehicle, it was the same one he had sold all those years ago. Some things are just meant to be. Were you wondering which was my favorite? That’s easy, it was the 1953 Kaiser. I know I’m weird. I could have picked a  Coffin Nose Cord, a Packard, a Cadillac, and my favorite was the Kaiser. That’s me, old faithful.

After a good thorough tour, and many question later we left his collection and drove to Evergreen Ranch to see Rex’s Uncle’s personal collection, (Rex being one of the students of the auto program and a member of the club). After ascending a grade of at least 22% we made it to the top of the hill and into the collection, which is when it started to snow. I guess we arrived just in time. Not to long after we heard the rumble of something coming in the distance, and there came Rex’s uncle in his red Chevy truck. It was obviously not completely stock, definitely lifted, maybe straight piped as well as a few other personalizations. He certainly made an entrance! After introductions the door opened and the tour began.

The first car we saw was a 1929 L’29 Cord. His collection was primarily convertibles, since they are worth more, and were quite impressive to see. There was a large assortment of brands that were divided primarily by buildings and sections. I was most drawn to the Mopar section of course (remember faithful). He had an un-restored 42 Plymouth convertible, 41 Chrysler, 59 Plymouth, Kaiser Darrin Convertible, an Apperson Jackrabbit, and a DeLorean. I could go into a giant list of what he had, but that would be very lengthy. A few more honorable mentions would be two coffin nose Cord Convertibles, the first V-16 Cadillac ever produced, a one off 1939 Sharknose Grahm, and of course a couple of Dussies.

I wish that I could share pictures  from the collections, but the owners of both collections respectfully asked that the pictures not go up on the internet. Some of those cars were really slick, especially a picture of me and the Kaiser at the outboard collection, but you will just have to take my word for it.

After the grand tour, we were all invited to overnight at the “lodge” that he owned, which is on sixteen square miles. This lodge had a complete kitchen, a fire place, a large common room with a pool table, hunting mounts all over the walls, two floors with approximately 20 beds among many floors, and finally a long dinner table with seating for about 25. I don’t know how, but I ended up in a room  to myself with a queen sized bed and a bathroom.Now that may not sound exciting, but having lived in a dorm since last August, and sharing a bedroom and a bathroom, this was heaven. I might want to add that among the hunting mounts was an albino deer, which apparently there are at least 4 known on the property.

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It was nice to have a home cooked meal as well, the cafeteria can not be a substitute for a good home cooked meal. After a night of fun and games, we all headed to bed and made ready for the trip home the next day.


Not much happened on the way back. For lunch we stopped by a fast food joint called Culver’s, which was very good. Their specialty is their frozen custard, which I did try, as well as some cheese curds. We made a quick stop at the first Bass Pro Shop in Springfield Missouri. There was an awesome firearm museum inside, put on by the NRA. I made two purchases, a nice $10 flannel and a couple of Moon Pies, in keeping with the Smeltzer family tradition of always buying Moon Pies when going to Bass Pro.

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I almost forget, (not really) about a very easy $10 bet that  I was able to win off of my friend Tyler Henning for guessing what year Ford we spotted. There we were, cruising along the highway when we spotted a 1957 Fairlane. Tyler said it was a 56, and I said a 57 ( I have a knack for knowing vehicle years). The best part of this bet was that it was his friends’s dad car. He was so cocksure that it was a 56.  He texted his friend still adamant that it was a 56 asking what year it was. I am $10 richer.

Both collections were very good and I am thankful that we were all able to see and appreciate such amazing acquisitions. I am most definitely looking forward to more adventures with the C.A.R.S. club.


About mecklin21

I'm a Southern California kid who ended up in the middle of McPherson Kansas pursuing a degree in Automotive Restoration at McPherson College. I own a 1940 Plymouth Pickup, which I am restoring, and enjoy adventures, writing, & photography.
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