Classics Around the Courthouse Square

Minden, Nebraska, hosted a car show around the town square this weekend, and it was a beautiful setting for the gathered classics. Minden is the county seat for the area in which my family homesteaded after immigrating from Germany in the late 1800s, and it has a stately courthouse, a beautifully restored 1891 opera house and other interesting architecture. The gorgeous automobiles posed in front of the buildings just make them look that much better!

1936 Ford with the Kearney County Courthouse in the background. This picture doesn’t do justice to the deep burgundy paint job!

1949 Mercury with suicide doors (courthouse in the background).

1976 Bronco in front of the “Clearman” building.

1964 Chevelle camped out in front of the Opera House.

This 1936 Dodge four-door sedan was hands down my favorite entry. In ’36, the Dodge was powered by an 87-hp six-cylinder L-head and was touted as “The Beauty Winner of 1936.”

Jet Fighter Hood Ornament Designed By Lucian Ring

I have noticed many reproductions lately based upon the above hood ornament. The jet fighter ornament pictured is part of my own collection, and it is an original. The manufacturer was Univex and a patent was granted on the design of this hood ornament in 1948:

Mine has some other markings on the wing, and I was once told that the inventor, Lucian Ring, put his initials on the ornament in a similar fashion to pin-up artist George Petty whose name appears on the wing of the flying goddess hood ornament he designed for Nash. To be perfectly honest, however, I can clearly see the “L” but I’m not certain it is followed by an “R”.

I am also not too clear on who Lucian Ring was, exactly, I found a short obituary from 1957 that stated he had died at the too-young age of 55 . He lived in Detroit for most of his adult life and was a die cast engineer. There were a number of other patents related to die cast equipment granted to him in the 1940s and 1950s, but the jet fighter was the only hood ornament. It was an aftermarket ornament that could be purchased from vendors like the one in this 1949 advertisement for Economy Auto Stores:

It was advertised as fitting a 1946 Ford and could be purchased for the low, low, low price of $2.49:

An original, like mine, is marked with the manufacturer’s name, Univex, and the patent number 149,443.

A beautiful remnant from the dawn of the jet age, originals are currently selling for around $100 (but beware the reproductions)!

Central Auto Electric Building in Kearney, Nebraska

I was driving past the Central Auto Electric building in Kearney the other day and just had to stop and snap a photo of this ’62 Chevy sitting out front and completing a striking tableau:

This building is just about my favorite in all of Kearney and, thankfully, it remains unmolested with ugly “updates”. It was built in 1946 by Bierman’s Auto Electric, and they moved into this building, their new location, the following year. The business handled GM parts, and this incredible double-sided United Motors Service sign still hangs out front.

Bierman’s didn’t just service GM products per this 1945 advertisement with an emphasis on Studebaker:

Bierman’s advertised their shop as the place to take your car if you wanted “action in your battery, pep in your plugs and power in your engine.” Who doesn’t want those things?

1941 Buick