A member of the Dalton Gang was in town Saturday. But he wasn’t armed and dangerous.
Dutch Dice was here to show his 1969 Chevrolet Impala convertible at the Allen County Fair Car Show.
“We’re a good bunch of boys,” said Dice, 85, of the Coffeyville car club, whose members call themselves, initially at Dice’s urging, the Dalton Gang.
His shiny, red Impala was among vehicles spanning many decades of American motordom that began showing up in Riverside Park by 7 a.m. A late morning shower took some of the glitz off the proceedings, but the car fanciers, a resilient lot, paid little mind to the rain. They just huddled a little closer under portable shelters and then went to wiping away beaded rain drops when the clouds moved on.
DICE HAD several older cars before acquiring the 1969 convertible three years ago.
He didn’t have to do much with the exterior — other than keep it spiffy — but he did go through the engine and bring the 350-cubic-inch powerplant, fueled by a four-barrel carburetor, up to just-off-the-showroom standards.
“Got some get up and go,” someone asked, as Dice explained what propelled the car.
“Plenty enough for an old man,” he answered with a chuckle, and applauded the engine’s condition: “I think you could drive it to the coast and back and not worry.”
Dice has “fooled with old cars for 20 to 25 years,” from about the time he retired from managing the elevator of Wilson County Grain in his hometown, Fredonia.
The biggest share of his maintenance these days is “rubbing (with polish cloth) to keep the car looking good,” he said.
“I do quite a few shows, although less this summer because of the heat,” he said, and often goes home with trophies, although that isn’t his motivation — ”I have a roomful.” Mainly he enjoys visiting with friends he’s made and new ones that surface at each show.
Allen County Fair’s car show is one of his favorites and he was in Iola “a week ago (Saturday) because I got the wrong date.”
Dice drives the 42-year-old Chevy to shows and takes it for spins every now and then.
“I’d rather drive it than my family car,” he said. “The older cars really handle better.”