Showdown in I-Town: Ford versus Chevy

Iola Theme 2013

Phil Hall

"Showdown in I-Town: Ford versus Chevy" issues a challenge to the owners of America's two most popular brands to bring your best stuff to the feature display of the 2013 Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet, scheduled for July 11-14.

Past Iola shows have featured both the Chevrolet brand and its Ford counterpart in their own themes, but this is the first time the two will exclusively share the spotlight.
Instead of randomly placing examples of the two brands in the feature tent and area, efforts will be made to pair competing models for show goers to compare and pick their favorites. Cars as well as trucks from each are invited.

For example, expect to see a Ford Mustang next to a Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Fairlane vs. a Chevrolet Bel Air, Ford Torino vs. a Chevrolet Chevelle, Ford Ranchero vs. a Chevrolet El Camino, Ford Falcon vs. Chevrolet's get the picture.
Feature vehicles run up through 1983 models, but a few newer dazzlers will likely find their way in.

The 'Showdown' part if the title recalls the early drag racing commercials: "Sunday, Sunday, Sunday.... I-Town should be self explanatory.

With both Chevrolet and Ford entries capable of filling the entire feature area, the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of Automotive Historians, which reviews selections for the tent and surround display area have its work cut out to choose the best examples of each marque. It is best to get your entry in early for 2013. Contact the Iola Old Car Show at PO Box 1, Iola, WI 54945, 715-445-4000 or

Work is about to begin on selecting vehicles for 2013 Iola poster. It's wide open and the only guarantee is that each brand will be equally represented. Vehicles selected for the poster and display area must be stock with only period accessories. The poster photo shoot will be this fall.
Ford and Chevrolet histories are long and more or less parallel in the years they overlapped. Interestingly, both were assembled in Wisconsin at one time or another.
Ford got to the market first, under the guidance of Henry Ford. After unsuccessful tries, the Ford Motor Company was launched in 1903. That means 2013 will be the 110th anniversary for Ford.
Chevrolet, named after race car driver and engineer Louis Chevrolet, became a key component of William Crapo Durant's second effort to claim leadership of General Motors, which he put together in 1908 and lost thereafter.

Chevrolet Motor Company was put together in 1911 and the first 1912 models were sold that year. Chevrolet celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011, but apparently forgot its 50th anniversary doings in the 1962 model year.

Ford claimed early leadership in sales with its production line sourced Model T, which lasted from 1908 to 1927 with few changes. At that point Chevrolet challenged in the gap before the Ford Model A could get started.

Chevrolet fired a powerplant challenge with the 1929 overhead valve six (later known as the 'Stovebolt'). Ford retaliated with the 1932 V-8 (popularizing the 'Flathead' tag).
So on it went as the two battled in product and sales, both in cars and trucks.
About the only one-sided contest was in the 1950s and beyond sports car contest. Chevrolet launched the boulevard suited Corvette for 1953 and Ford countered with the two place Thunderbird for 1955. Chevy made a real sports car out of the 'Vette and Ford left the market after 1957.

Of course the Corvette is still with us and still on mission. Ford meanwhile has drawn on the Shelby Cobra, 2000s two-place 'Birds and the short-lived GT a couple of times, but still lacks a direct Corvette competitor.

Chevrolet and Ford have gone at it in many forms of auto racing and hot rodding. Each brand dove into economy, performance and luxury models. Each has had import sourced vehicles in their lineups at various times.

Now each will be competing for your attention come the 2013 Iola Old Car Show and Swap Meet.




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