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'Counting Cars' stars bring big crowd to Toppers car show

WEST FARGO - For many people in the Fargo-Moorhead area, temperatures in the mid-50s Saturday was the first sign of spring. But for classic car enthusiasts, Toppers Car Club's annual car show is the official kickoff for the season.

Counting Cars
Jim and Fran Geisler, of Jamestown, N.D., admire a 1948 Chevy Fleetline named Purple Haze on Saturday at the Toppers Car Club show at the West Fargo Veterans Memorial Arena. The show runs through today, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dave Wallis / The Forum

WEST FARGO - For many people in the Fargo-Moorhead area, temperatures in the mid-50s Saturday was the first sign of spring. But for classic car enthusiasts, Toppers Car Club's annual car show is the official kickoff for the season.

More than 90 restored hot rods and classic cars and the stars of the History Channel's "Counting Cars" drew a large crowd Saturday to West Fargo's Veterans Memorial Arena for the Toppers 56th annual car show, which continues from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The car show is a fundraiser for the small club of local car enthusiasts, said Kurt Jankowski, one of the members. During their cruise nights over the summer, the group donates the proceeds to groups like the New Life Center and the Anne Carlsen Center.

Jankowski said attendance seemed higher than previous years due to the show's celebrity guests - Danny "The Count" Koker and Kevin Mack, who star in a reality show about Count's Kustoms, a Las Vegas shop specializing in customizing and restoring cars and motorcycles.

"The Count" himself gave high praise to Orrin Hanson's family for their restoration of his dad's 1955 Chevrolet 150.

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"To basically have an authority in the car world say your car is awesome ... It's very gratifying," said Hanson, of Alvarado, Minn.

They put the finishing touches on the car Thursday night just in time for the car show, which he said is the big kickoff for the season.

Indoor car shows are like an art gallery - Hanson said they attend to share their work with others, get reactions and admire other cars.

While part of the process is restoring cars to their original grandeur and bringing back a bit of the past, Hanson said there's also a lot of room for personal interpretation.

"When you build cars and customize them, you're basically saying 'This is who I am in car form.'"

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Cali Owings at (701) 241-5599

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