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One of my all-time favorite fin cars is the 1960 Dodge Polara, or in this case, the nearly identical, one-step-down Matador. The owner of this example upgraded his Matador with Polara trim which included the super slim red taillights at the trailing edge of those great fins! This thing looks supersonic even standing still! Standing next to me is Pablo’s nephew, Lou Hernandez, one of my TKCS-STL volunteers, and ‘survivor’ of over 100 shows from 2011 to 2019! He is presently Lance Corporal Luis Hernandez and was recently deployed to Kuwait and soon after stationed in Saudi Arabia.

For those of you who may be new to the Old Car Column, I have been writing this column for nearly 18 years, starting in October of 2003. Fast forward seven years to 2010 when I started local promotion of SEMA’s Take a Kid to a Car Show, a program which dates back to the late ‘90s. The mission of the program is to promote interest in the special interest car hobby with kids in their formative years so that the hobby will continue to thrive for generations to come.

On Easter Sunday, 2010, with a pop up tent borrowed from the St. Louis Jaguar Association, Pablo Rodriguez and I set up the first TKCS-STL booth at the Horseless Carriage Club of Missouri’s Concours d’Elegance on the upper lot of the Muny in Forest Park. Since that first year, along with volunteers, I have done nearly 200 car shows and cruises.

In 2011, we adopted lovable, laughable Roy the wonder dog at a Kiwanis car show in Columbia, Illinois. It was a Cinderella story for sure. Roy quickly became the TKCS-STL mascot and was loved by all who encountered him. As of 2019, Roy had attended more than 70 car shows and cruises!

2015 saw the introduction of Breakfast with the Fin Man – breakfast meetings with Old Car Column readers and Fin Man fans, where guests often bring special cars to display at local fast food eateries in the metro area.

In 2017, I introduced Rollin’ with the Fin Man, with a bus tour which drew 300 people, filling six Vandalia Bus Line, luxury motor coaches – headed to Springfield, Illinois, for lunch and to view an amazing private collection of cars, motorcycles and Cessna business jets! Two similar local tours on a smaller scale followed.

It’s been one heck of a ride, and while COVID-19 put shows on a hold last year, we’re anticipating slowly getting the ball rolling again for 2021.

Rollin’ with the Fin Man, Lite! We’re on the road again! Saturday, May 15. Meet me at the Flying J Truck Stop in Pontoon Beach, Illinois. Look for the school bus, boarding from 8:30-9:00 a.m. We’ll travel to Carlyle, Illinois, have breakfast or lunch at the Old Route 50 Cafe (from a limited menu) and then go to see John Cook’s 15-car garage collection. We will return to the Flying J mid-to-late afternoon. Ticket prices are $40 per person and include breakfast or lunch items (from a limited menu) at the Old Route 50 Cafe in Carlyle, Illinois. I want this to be a fun-for-all day. ‘50s and ‘60s music will be playing on the bus, and TKCS-STL mascot, Roy (our very lovable basset hound), will be joining us. I have only three rules:

1. Your temperature will be taken upon boarding the bus.

2. Face masks must be worn while riding the bus.

3. Please leave your partisan, political opinions at home when you walk out the door!

We still have seats available, so join us for a fun day. Please mail your check, made out to Bruce Kunz, c/o St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 901 N. 10th St., St. Louis, MO 63101. If paying by check, I’ll need your check by Saturday, May 8. To purchase using a card, call me at 314-327-FINS (3467).

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Bruce Kunz is contributing automotive writer for Brand Ave. Studios

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