For some families, vacations always mean multiple generations traveling together, making time for each other, enjoying activities together. Activities like a car show perhaps. Yup, just like a car show. A great example is Automotion, Wisconsin Dells’ annual tribute to chrome, cool paint jobs and incredible restorations of cars and trucks. At the 2011 show, it was a 1967 orange and black Camaro that caught our eye. Meet the owner, Jeff Noll, an engineer from west of Milwaukee by day and car enthusiast in his spare time, and hear about how this car show is a tradition for him, his father and his father-in-law.
Tell us how you and your dad got started restoring cars.
My dad and I restored a 1970 Chevy CST/10 pickup back in 1982 when I turned 16 and he passed it down to me. He had owned it since new so it was good to keep it in the family. It was my daily driver all through high school and college and I restored it a second time in 1988. We learned as we went.
How long have you and your dad been coming to Automotion?
About five years now. My father-in-law is also very involved in restoring cars and is actually the person that sparked my interest in doing my own car when he started on his 1969 Camaro. He is also the one who started going to Automation a few years earlier and invited me and my dad along. This year, my brother attended as did my mom, my mother-in-law and aunts, uncles and friends.
Describe the car you had on display at the 2011 show. Do you ever take it out for a spin?
The car on display at the show was a 1967 Camaro RS/SS. It is Chevy Hugger Orange with black SS stripes. It took me about four years to restore this car and basically every nut and bolt has been removed and either replaced or refurbished. I drive the car quite a bit - it is not a trailer queen. I actually prefer to drive the car somewhere than to sit at a car show all day long. That's what's nice about Automotion is that it is an entire weekend-long show. We make a road trip out of it and take off on Friday driving all the back roads to Wisconsin Dells. It's nice to actually take overnight trips and we look forward to the show every spring. I try to walk the entire show including the car corral and the vendor areas. I really appreciate the amount of time and money put into these show cars.
What’s your next big car project?
No projects of my own in the works right now. I am helping my dad restore his 1956 Chevy Bel Air and this will take up enough time for now. My next priorities are putting our three kids - ages 17, 14 and 11 - through college, so the projects may get cut short for a while.
Just out of curiosity - do you and your dad drive practical cars in your everyday life?
Yes, we both have Chevy Diesel pickup trucks for pulling trailers.
Finally, do you let your 17-year-old drive the Camaro?
Yes, I took my 17-year-old out to teach him how to drive stick in my Camaro. It went pretty well. He only stalled it two or three times and didn't hit anything. He had a blast. My kids are so involved in sports right now, but hopefully one day they will have the same enthusiasm for the car scene that I do.
Automotion 2012 is set for the weekend of May 19-20.