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Counts Car Show
By Molly Barari
When Don Oskey was about 10 years old, he rode his bike to the local hobby store in Appleton, Wisconsin and used his allowance to buy his first AMT model car kit. Oskey quickly became hooked, building as many model cars as his allowance would afford. Now, 60 years later, Oskey has a bigger allowance and bigger cars to work with. Most recently, he completely refurbished his beloved 1934 Ford roadster.
When he drives his classic Ford, Oskey receives lots of smiles and thumbs up. “However, it’s not a car for everybody,” he admitted. “It’s very simple. There are no bells and whistles. It has what we call a ‘smoothie look,’ meaning everything is stripped from the car and smoothed over. It’s perfect for me.”
Because Oskey loves classic cars, he serves as Vice President for the Counts of the Cobblestone Car Club in Rapid City. This year, the club hosts its 18th Annual Counts Car Show, which will be held at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center from February 17-19. Oskey’s 1934 Ford roadster is a featured car at this year’s show.
Oskey moved to the Black Hills about a year and a half ago from Kalispell, Montana. Before that, he’d spent about 40 years working as a kidney dialysis specialist for a healthcare company in California. After retiring, he moved to Montana seeking a change of scenery. With that came another life change: a divorce.
“One time, I made a pit stop in Rapid City on a road trip out of Kalispell,” said Oskey. “I liked the area, so I decided to move here after my divorce. This time, I made more than a pit stop – I was here to stay!”
Three months after moving to the Black Hills, Oskey became involved in the Counts of the Cobblestone Car Club. “They are really terrific guys,” said Oskey..
Counts Car Club member Jim Neuzil said Oskey has worked on everything from English sports cars to Corvettes to muscle cars and hot rods – but that Oskey has always gravitated back to hot rods. “To quote a phrase from Discovery Velocity host Barry Meguiar, Don Oskey is ‘car crazy,’” joked Neuzil.
Oskey doesn’t mind that label. A few years before his 1934 Ford, he refurbished a 1961 Ford Galaxy convertible. “It was too big and long for me,” he said. “I wanted to get back into street rods, so that’s when I bought the ’34 in Illinois.”
Oskey said the car he’s most passionate about is a 1932 Ford roadster, but he doesn’t fit well inside due to his height (he’s 6’1”). So the 1934 Ford roadster was second best. “I can drive it down the Interstate, and it’s functional,” explained Oskey. Although the ’34 was in great condition when he purchased it, it’s taken Oskey about a year to rebuild the classic car to his preferences.
The foundation includes a Bobby Alloway tube chassis with a Heidt’s Super Ride independent front suspension and Aldan coilovers. It has a Mustang rack and pinion steering and front disc brakes. Keeping it cool is a Walker Super Cobra radiator. The transmission is a GM Turbo 350 with a Trans Go shift kit and a Lokar shifter.
“The motivation behind the car is a 355ci small block Chevrolet, stuffed with all the good stuff inside,” said Neuzil, giving his take on the classic Ford.
Dyno Tech cut the drive shaft that is hooked to a 9-inch Ford rear end with 3:70 gears. This is hung in place four-bar style with Aldan coilover shocks for a smooth ride. The body is from Rats Glass with stretched doors, waterfall center console, bobbed rear fenders and gas tank cover. Valley Ford supplied the aluminum grille, and Pete Hagen bent up the three-piece hood with a Valley Ford latching system. A DuVall windshield was a must for this ’34. The body paint is a base/clear 1964 Camaro Cortez Silver. The frame was powder coated with the same Cortez Silver.
“I wanted to keep the inside real comfortable,” said Oskey. So the Fiero seats are covered in Red Altra vinyl, with a trunk done to match. The wrapped in red leather Lecarra steering wheel sits atop an ididit tilt column. For tunes, Oskey chose a Kenwood unit mounted on a swing down mount under the dash. To keep an eye on the vitals, a full set of AutoMeter gauges do the job.
Planting everything to the pavement are American Racing Hopster wheels, 15 x 6 in front and 17 x 8 in the rear. They are wrapped in Goodyear Eagle GT tires, making the 1934 roadster perfect for road trips to car shows.
Oskey participated in the Street Rodder Road Tour this past summer, and in 2017, he hopes to travel to Minnesota and Kentucky for car shows. He’ll also do the Black Hills Rod Run, planned for July 7-9 this year. Oskey feels honored to have his beloved ’34 roadster featured on the 2017 Black Hills Rod Run t-shirt.
When he’s not working on building cars, Oskey is a self-proclaimed extreme Green Bay Packers fan. “I even own shares in the Packers,” he said with a laugh. His family describes Uncle Don’s cars as “pretty cool.” And although Oskey is modest about his cars, he has to agree with that!
About The Event
WHEN: February 17-19 (Friday-Sunday)
WHERE: Rushmore Plaza Civic Center, Rapid City, SD
WHAT: Top-notch feature cars, along with many other street rods, classics, rat rods, muscle cars, sports cars, pickups, street machines, motorcycles and more. This year’s added attraction: a custom Radio Flyer wagon class for adults and kids.
WHO: There is something for all ages, including the 5th Annual Women’s Expo, Make-N-Take model car building, kids coloring contest and vendor seminars. On Saturday morning, the first 500 kids under age 10 receive a free Hot Wheels toy.
WHAT IS "TAKE A KID TO THE CAR SHOW"?: This program helps organizations that work with underprivileged children. It gives children the opportunity to attend a show and learn about cars. Donations to "Take a Kid to the Car Show" are being accepted at any time. Please contact the Counts of the Cobblestone
Car Club to make a donation.
For more information about Counts of the Cobblestone Car Club, contact Jim Neuzil at 605-390-2238 or visit countscarclub.com