Autofest showcases classic cars

NEW ULM – Autofest added a new wrinkle this year with a free drive-in movie-“American Graffiti” showing at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, June 28 in the Maday Motors and Joe’s Campers lots.

New Ulm Autofest Vice Chairman Paul Maday said a club member came up with the idea of showing the movie Saturday night. “People will be able to listen to movie audio by dialing to a spot on FM radios,” Maday said. “We’re recommending people use portable radios to avoid dead vehicle batteries from using radios for the movie.”

Movie-goers are asked to bring their car or lawn chairs and a portable radio to listen to the movie. Hot dogs, popcorn, pop and water will be available.

Set in 1962 Modesto, Calif., the film of a study of the cruising and rock ‘n’ roll cultures popular among the post-World War II baby boom generation.

Several hundred vehicles are expected for the Sunday car and motorcycle show. The show features free registration and admission, food and refreshments, a model car contest, music and a swap meet of automotive items.

Jerry Carlson of New Ulm bought his 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 brand new and stored it for many years before having a recent frame-off restoration done.

“It’s all stock, with no power steering,” Carlson said. “Whenever I drive it, kids challenge me to race them. I don’t do that. The car is fast enough, but it’s more of a thrill to me for people to just smile or give me a thumbs-up when they see the car.”

Roy Janni of New Ulm was 21 in 1969, serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam when he began saving money to buy a new 1970 Chevelle SS 396 when he returned to the states. Janni said American car makers had sales representatives in Vietnam that sold military members car that could be picked up when they returned home.

After serving in Vietnam, Janni, a Purple Heart Medal recipient, served the final 18 months of his Army enlistment in Fort Eustis, Va. and Fort Meade, Md. On Thanksgiving weekend 1971, Janni was driving his Chevelle in Mankato when he was rear-ended by a semi truck, heavily damaging the car. Because the frame wasn’t bent, he repaired it.

Janni put the car into storage in 1977 with 89,000 miles on it. He drove it on occasion before doing a frame-off restoration in 1992, then storing the car again before it was completely reassembled.

In the late 1990s, Janni had the restoration completed. He now drives the Chevelle SS to shows, parades and local cruise-ins.

For more information, visit

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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