Wednesday, September 19, 2012

RIP Hunnert Car Pile-Up, Introducing The Iron Invasion!

I remember at a young age attending a funeral, my mother telling me that even when someone passes, new life springs forth to replace it. As in life, so shall it be with kick ass, pre-sixty-four events:

I’d first heard about the Hunnert Car Pile-Up around 2003, a few years after it had began and thought I’d like to attend an event like this. The way it was articulated to me was a no frills, no trophies, good old fashion get together car show with like-minded folks who enjoy the cars and not the california duster - mirrors under the cars kinda show. There are plenty of shows out there with folks boasting about having factory air in their tires with every nut and bolt clocked into picture perfect position (say that three times fast!)

After attending the first time in Morris in ’05, I fell in love with the show. Cars parked in animal barns. Everyone needed to come through the fresh mud in the deep tracks off the byway. It wasn’t pertinacious, it was real.

As years went on, occasionally I’d attend as a vendor and other times as a spectator and even come to drive my ’49 Ford the 650 mile round trip to Morris the last year it was there from Detroit. 

I think a little something was lost the last couple of years after it moved out of Morris, IL. As you all know, the show wasn’t born there, like a potted plant a show can only grow so big before there is no more room to grow. I think the Chrome Czars also knew that moving it from Morris was going to loose a little something. Morris was a cool, little town that seemingly let the hot rodders get away with flame shows in the streets and a good deal of freedom that came along with this home-grown show. 

After a 10 year run, the time came for a bow out for the show. I totally get why. Having worked on several shows in the past and present, there comes a time to end on a good note rather burn out and fizzle and still make room for someone else to reinvent the show with a fresh take and added events and features. 

Lets face it, this show was special to many of us. It was unique in the laid back aspects of it and won’t soon be forgotten by anyone who’s ever attended.  So knowing October is around the corner, I know many folks out there get the itch to start migrating toward Illinois for a show. Instead of showing up to Grundy County Fairgrounds with a funeral cut flowers to lay in the favorite parking spot in the shade, it’s time to get your ride ready for the natural successor to the Pile-up: The Iron Invasion!

John Wells, the creator of Vintage Torque Fest was past the torch (or rather given the blessing by the Chrome Czars) to the area and the date to bring new life to the eleven year old concept. If you haven’t attended Torque Fest in Iowa the last few years, you are really missing out. John’s approach to putting on a show is simple: Make it big, special and most importantly, make it MOVE!


John Wells approached me early on to get my impressions on the concept. Over the course of the last year we’ve shot calls, emails, texts and smoke signals back and forth about what we like in shows, and what’s gotta go by the wayside. John vends events around the globe so he’s really got the concepts together for what means success.

As I sit here I can not recall the original name that John Wells surmised for the event but it contained “Torque” ,“Vintage”, “Fest”  in some combination. I remember being on the phone with him as he was attempting to put it together and at the time I couldn’t nail it down in my head.  No sooner did I hang up the phone then I got some instant clarity on the title. I sent John a text with 5 different titles and he fell in love with “the Iron Invasion”. Quickly after giving the show the name, I was quested to come up with a definitive logo type for the show. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do. By combining the idea of a map compass to show people coming across the mid-west (and beyond) and an iron cross, the brand was established.

Where many folks out there where used to the drill of packing a cooler full of their favorite adult beverages and a lawn chair to plop their asses in, waiting for the select panel of judges to come by and possibly get an award, The Vintage Torque shows make this more than the casual viewer car show events with Dirt track laps, plenty of bands to fill the day, grass roots awards made and presented by attending car clubs to THEIR favorite pick, art show for the collectors, tons a great vendors from both coasts and lastly, all at a very VERY affordable price to attend.  

Because of these facts, The Iron Invasion is an event you will definitely want to be part of the first one, if for nothing else - bragging rights down the road. 

Here’s the breakdown of the show schedule:

  • Later that night - Bands at the Fairgrounds
  • 7 pm - Pearls Mahone
  • 8 pm - Adam Lee and the Dead Horse Sound Company
  • 9 pm - L'Assassins
  • Gates Open to Public at 8:00 am (Pre registered vehicles can get in 30 minutes early)
  • Retro Reel Cinema Building Starts at 9:00 am - this building will showcase vintage drag racing, b movie clips, and vintage stock car racing clips.
  • Childrens Vintage Fashion Parade 10:15am
  • Pin Up Contest 10:30 am
  • Drivers Meeting - 11:15 am
  • Do It Yourself Stunt Show  - 11:30 am (runs throughout the day)
  • Hot Rod Hucksters 11:30 am
  • Adam Lee & The Dead Horse Sound Company - 1:00 pm
  • Voodoo Kings Flame Show - 1:45 pm
  • Wayne "The Train" Hancock- 3:30 pm  
  • Merlin Award/Car Club Picks - 5:30 pm
  • Buildings Close at 6 pm
  • Voodoo Kings Flame Show Reprise - 6:15 pm
  • Afterdarks close out the show! 

Take a look at the promo video to get all the flavor

If you still feel you need to pack that lawn chair, I guess do it. But I’m tell you knowing what to expect from John and Vintage Torque Fest, you’ll only need the edge of that seat!

For further info, head on over to

Oct 5-6 McHenry County Fairgrounds 1050 Country Club Rd, Woodstock, IL 60098