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‘Such great pedigree’

The interior and exterior of Dan Miles' 1958 Chrysler Imperial are covered in green. One of eight left in the world, this car took Best in Show Overall at Saturday's Vail Automotive Classic Wheels & Wings show.
Anthony Thornton | athornton@vaildaily.com |

GYPSUM — When kids vote for their favorite cars, there usually isn’t much nostalgia involved in their choices.

Dan Miles knows this first hand — recently his 1958 Chrysler Imperial was beat out by a Dodge van in a family-friendly car competition voted on by attendants.

On Saturday, Miles’ car competed once again, against a slew of gorgeous autos at the annual Vail Automotive Classic Wheels & Wings show. This time, however, after being reviewed by a panel of expert judges, the green convertible took home top honors, winning Best in Show Overall.



In addition to the experts’ eye for detail, Miles said he suspects an element of nostalgia also helped secure his car’s victory.

“You look at it, and you just want to go out, have a martini and drive around town — back when it was OK to do that,” Miles said with a laugh. “These were the first cars with fins, the first cars with power locks and the first cars with signal-search radio on the floor.”



It was the Denver resident’s first trip to the Wheels & Wings show.

“It’s nice they have an event judged by experts, as well as a people’s event,” Miles said. “The guys running it are really professional, really good.”

Among those running the event was director Ed Abramson. He said the great array of autos at this year’s competition made the decision difficult for the judges.



“There were cars that had such great pedigree,” Abramson said. “That were in perfect condition from the engines to the interior to the wheels and tires, everything that we try to judge by.”

Nevertheless, Abramson described Miles’ Imperial Crown Convertible as “a very big standout.”

“It’s an absolutely beautiful car,” he said.

Miles’ Imperial also won the Best in Show award for the American Classic category.

HOMECOMING

It was also Gina Moretto’s first trip to the Wheels & Wings show. The Castle Rock resident had been looking forward to the event for quite some time, though. She said she just purchased ’64 Thunderbird three weeks ago, and one of the motivating factors for her to buy it in August was she knew Wheels & Wings was coming up in early September.

“I named her ‘Sleeping Beauty,’” she said.

As of Saturday, Edwards resident Sonya Atkinson still had not chosen a name for her “Denver Gold” colored Pontiac GTO, but people had been asking.

“The first time somebody asked, just off the top of my head said ‘It’s Irene,” she said.

Atkinson purchased the vehicle at last year’s Wheels & Wings show and began restoring it after that. She described its arrival at this year’s show as “a homecoming.”

“I took it to Eagle Body Works, they did a great job,” she said. “Last week, I took it down to Grand Junction (the Western Colorado Classic Car Show) and I won my class, ’70 to ’79 stock.”

THE PORSCHE PORTION

Vail native Bob Ruder was a judge in the Porsche portion of Saturday’s car show. He was, however, forced to recuse himself from the Best in Show categories for Porsche 911 ’65 – ’88 and ’89 – ’99. His cars, a red ’96 911 and a brown ’73 911 ended up winning both categories.

“I bought the ’73 in the spring of ’74 for $9,700,” he said. “Similar cars have recently sold for over $200,000.”

Bob Ruder’s son Trent had the pleasure of driving the former race car to Saturday’s event.

“It’s really fun to drive,” Trent Ruder said. “There’s nothing electric or complicated, it’s just a pure car.”

Bob Ruder said if he were the only judge at Saturday’s event, Scott Seibold’s 1988 Porsche 959 would have driven away with a Best in Show Overall award in the front seat.

“That was the first Porsche supercar,” Ruder said.

Seibold’s car did end up winning Best in Show for the “Porsche – All Other Models” category. His son, 17-year-old Sam Seibold, drove the car in from Grand Junction just for the event.

“We never even been to one of these before,” he said. “Really fun.”


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