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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Auction and Douglas cruise highlight BlackTop Nationals

The Wichita Eagle

Like children peering into the windows of a candy store, adults peeked into the windows of Century II on Saturday to get a look at the cars and trucks up for auction at the BlackTop Nationals show.

Inside were some tasty treats: a 1957 Ford Thunderbird, a 1958 VW Beetle, a 1951 Henry J and Harold Funk’s 1970 gold Oldsmobile Cutlass with a white top.

Funk put the Cutlass up for auction this weekend to make room in the garage for his new toy: a 2008 Roush Mustang.

The Cutlass, a two-door hardtop with a 350 V8 rocket engine, was in good shape when Funk, of Moundridge, got his hands on it.

“But I’ve done a lot of work to it, added to it,” he said.

It sat shiny with 46,867 original miles.

Auctioneer Spanky Assiter was a whirlwind at the start of the live auction Saturday, adding a "ding ding!" when he sold his first car of the evening. Sales were a little slow, but unlike at other shows, there was a reserve.

Friday night’s auction included the sale of a 1927 Ford Roadster Zipper Track T.

The auction was just one highlight of the four-day show in its first year, which organizers hope will become an annual event.

“How about this crowd?” asked BlackTop Nationals president Rick Nuckolls on Saturday afternoon. “You can’t even walk on Douglas.”

The idea for the show came when Nuckolls, Steve Cooper and some other friends were sitting around eating pizza one night. They wanted to combine the best parts of other shows they’d been to into one event.

Ford was a major sponsor of the show, which continues today. Ford introduced its 2012 Mustang Boss 302 inside Century II.

Nuckolls joked that after taking a spin in a Shelby GT500 Mustang, there are five words you never want to say to a professional driver: “Is that all you got?”

Nuckolls said he planned to keep his hands on his knees during the ride but found himself soon gripping the door.

The evening ended on a slower note: a parade and cruise down Douglas Avenue.

“We’re trying to bring ‘American Graffiti’ back for a couple nights,” Nuckolls said.

Sunday’s show, which is free, continues until 3 p.m.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or

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