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Brass & Gas Club stops in Colfax

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Midwest Brass & Gas Club caused quite a stir in Colfax a week ago Monday on June 16.

Reporters for the Colfax Messenger received numerous telephone calls about the “old cars on Main Street.”

Several people stopped by the newspaper office to talk about the cars as well.

More than a dozen cars of various makes and models — Packard, Ford, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow, Buick, Rambler, Knox — and all 1912 or older — stopped in Colfax for a coffee break at Lynn’s Brewed Awakenings and to shop at the Colfax Arts and Antique Mall.

Members of the Brass & Gas Club were staying in Chippewa Falls, and Colfax happened to be part of their itinerary on June 16.

The Midwest Brass & Gas Club is out of Michigan, and club members hauled their cars to Chippewa Falls for a few days of touring the West Central Wisconsin countryside.

The cars started out from Chippewa Falls, traveled on county Highway B in Chippewa County, then headed over to Colfax on state Highway 40.

Each of the vehicles could easily be described as a work of art, restored to flawless perfection, with their brass fittings gleaming in the warm sunshine.

One passenger, 97-year-old Vern Hagenbring, was exceptionally proud of his car.

Hagenbring bought the car in 1952 and then restored it himself over a number of years.

He even carries a picture with him of what the car looked like when he bought it.

In years past, Hagenbring drove the car himself, but now he has someone else drive it for him.

When asked if they could possibly return for the Colfax Sesquicentennial in July, club members said, with regret in their voices, that they had another commitment or they would have surely been interested in being part of the Sesquicentennial parade.

One of the cars, a Packard, filled up with gasoline at Express Mart after most of the other vehicles had headed out of town.

Standing next to the car while it was running was an experience itself. Modern cars run quietly, but the Brass & Gas cars are like standing next to a tractor when it is running.

The lovely antique cars continued their journey south on Highway 40.

According to the directions they had with them, drivers were to follow Highway 40, turn on County Highway B, then turn on County Highway BB, and then take various back roads until they reached Pine Point Road. Their directions took them over to Tainter Lake to the Pioneer Bar and Grill for lunch.