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One-of-a-kind car makes the rounds


July 26, 2019

Jana Peterson

Pete Peterson talks with mechanic Tom Mattson Thursday when he filled up Peterson's classic car at the R.W. Lindholm Service Station last week. Peterson drove his one-of-a-kind 1939 Dodge Phaeton from Indiana last wee and enjoyed getting gas at the one-of-a-kind service station designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Indiana resident Pete Peterson drove his 1939 Dodge Phaeton from Indiana to Cloquet last Wednesday to visit family, but decided to enter his one-of-a-kind convertible in the Rendezvous car show Saturday.

He took first place.

(Full disclosure: Peterson is the father of this Pine Knot News writer.)

More importantly, Peterson said, he got to mingle with other car lovers.

Those included Cloquet's Norman Eastman, who parked his 1930 Model A next to Peterson's car and took second place at the show.

"I bought this car in 1968 and finished it in 2013," Eastman said with a chuckle. "I had pieces of it in my garage, my basement, even some parts in the dresser drawer."

There was a range of cars at the small car show, which was organized by Ryan Micke in about three weeks and invited all antique, classic, custom, street rods, low-riders and trucks to compete in the competitor-judged show. George Sabin brought his pristine and modified 1995 Chevrolet S10 Blazer, with its V8 engine. Esko junior Deegan Kiminski arrived in his 1964 Corvette Stingray convertible that his grandfather Richard Grayson bought right out of college in the 1970s and Kiminski fixed up after he got it about five years ago. Third place went to a 1949 Ford, which had a patina exterior and modern running gear, owned by Roger Rentola of Mahtowa.

Jana Peterson

George Sabin peers inside a 1930 Model A owned by Norman Eastman at Saturday's first Rendezvous car show.

Peterson bought his 1939 Dodge Phaeton in Florida last August, and drove it home on the backroads to Vincennes, Indiana. Peterson suspects the car was custom-made at the factory for a buyer in Arizona (where the previous owners bought it) to use in parades. When he bought it last year, the car was already modified with a late-model front end and 318 V8 engine with an automatic transmission but lacked "modern" amenities such as windshield wipers, decent headlights and air conditioning.

Peterson spent months working on it and making it safe enough to pass the National Street Rod Association's safety test, then decided it might be fun to drive north for a visit. It got approximately 11 mpg on the trip to Minnesota last week, so Peterson made plenty of stops along the way to fuel up on the 18-hour trip. While he was here, Peterson participated in two car shows and made a stop at the Carlton County Historical Society's vintage sale at the NorthEastern Saloon and Hotel.

The trip home to Indiana might be his last long road trip in the car, he said.

"It is fun to see people react to the car and wave and stare," Peterson said, "but that's a long trip to make in an old car."


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