Iowa Car Shows: An Introduction

Iowans love just about any excuse for congregating into large crowds and milling about randomly, bumping into other people, looking at shiny things, and waving and smiling. It’s one of their most charming traits.

Farmers markets, county and state fairs, church services, Rotary meetings and state legislative sessions are all popular places for Iowans to bump into each other, wave, and smile — but if you really want to experience the pinnacle of human gridlock in pursuit of gawking, then go to an Iowa Car Show.

Seasoned Iowa Car Show veterans know that it’s not enough to just mill around randomly bumping into people and pointing at stuff. Nope, if you’re going to an Iowa Car Show, then you also need to carry a folding chair around with you, so you can randomly stop, sit, admire things, and obstruct the flow of human traffic like the true impediment you were born to be.

Another unique feature of Iowa Car Shows are barn finds, where people long ago bought cars and parked them in their barns — and then got so busy with farming and looking at things and waving and blocking traffic that they just plum forgot that they owned them! Then, as happens, one thing leads to another, and first it was the holidays, and then it was the Caucus, and then, wait, didn’t we used to own a barn? Oh well, no worries, look at the size of that acorn squash, will you?!

Fast forward a couple of generations, when the repossession company comes in, and you’ve got a barn find: an untouched classic car, just waiting for some fancy pants city person to swish in, buff its headlamps and speak French to it, while the descendants of the people who originally bought it wrestle through foreclosure proceedings brought on by 80 years of back taxes and penalties due on that stupid old barn and back acreage that everyone forgot about.

If you attend an Iowa Car Show in the year ahead, it’s always good to know the names of a few great cars that have emerged from recent Iowa barn finds, so you can plop down in your folding chair, and wax loudly and semi-knowledgeably while you point and smile at things. Here’s a list of some popular Iowa Car Show cars to get you started, grouped into the classes in which they are usually exhibited:


1970 Plymouth Testicula
1969 Chevrolet Mullet ZL-1
1967 Ford Chokehold 500
1967 Plymouth Mustache GTX
1971 Chevrolet Forcible Entry Convertible
1967 Chevrolet BAC .24
1964 Oldsmobile Area 51 Hemi
1967 Pontiac Grand Jury
1969 AMC $20 Hooker
1969 Ford Mongol Horde GTX


1943 DeSoto Douche Phaeton
1936 Hudson Harrumph
1967 Peugeot Pigpoker
1944 Nash Rash Sedan
1937 Studebaker Muffinstuffer
1943 Tucker Tuckus V-12
1964 Plymouth Plower
1910 Ford Model “A” Assmunch
1947 Packard Pucker
1951 Stutz-Bearcat Furrburger DeLuxe


1975 Oldsmobile Pratfall
1991 Dodge Punchline
1984 Honda Pupu Platter
1987 Pontiac Queef
1955 Ford Skidmark XL
1981 Renault Jerry Lewis
1969 Chrysler Heckle
1979 Volkswagon Pfehrt Diesel
1988 Yugo Yuk
1998 Toyota Tercel


1987 Yugo Hugo
1974 Saab Caak Turbo
1988 Pontiac GTO’Donnell
1977 Peugeot Spanx Hatchback
1991 Chevellen DiGenerous
1965 Volvo Monocoque
1963 Opel Cleavage 500
1974 Chevrolet Burt Convertible
1994 Pontiac Trans Ann Heche
1961 Cadillac Prince Rainier

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