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163: John “Gunner” Gunnell, Automotive Author, Lecturer, Historian and Restoration Expert.

Show Date: 09/16/2017

Guests: John Gunnell and Dave Sarna

John “Gunner” Gunnell

Gunner’s Great Garage

The Waupaca County News reported January 2016 – John “Gunner” Gunnell purchased the building once known as a “Yellowstone Garage” constructed approximately 1909. The purchase has allowed the expansion of John’s Gunner’s Great Garage.

The Yellowstone Garage is named after the nation’s first transcontinental highway, the “Yellowstone Trail” which passed through the northern states.

In the early 1900’s the building housed a dealership selling Oldsmobiles and Oakland automobiles. This tradition of selling and working with cars lasted until early 2000s.

When John bought the building it still had the familiar layout of an old dealership. Including a tiny showroom where the new models were on display. To complete the restoration of the building he needed to display an original Oakland automobile. So, after a long search he found a 1917 Model 34 Oakland in Illinois and brought it home to Yellowstone Garage. Where he and his friends have been working to get the car ready for a long road trip.

Starting on Monday October 9th in Hudson, Wisconsin the Oakland will make its way across Wisconsin in 6 days. Using the steady hands of Dave Sarna the two will embark on a trip of a life time. They will relay on local car clubs and Lions Club members to assist and offer comfort. Dave has been working on the huge task of getting the old Oakland road ready – even with Dave’s years of experience as an automotive instructor at Fox Valley Technical College.

John has been a major contributing to the auto publishing since 1972. Articles in many popular magazines like the Old Cars Weekly, Engine Builder Magazine, The Shop, Racing Junk News and hundreds more. He has published several books including The Story of Camaro, Standard Catalog of Pontiac and Ford – even the Tow Trucks A Photographic History. You can find more of his books on

He continues to lecture and hold demonstrations sharing his research with others.

Gunner’s Great Garage is located in Manawa Wisconsin. You can reach him at 715-281-5925 or

A quick bio:

John Gunnell — “Gunner” — is well known for the 85 automotive bokks he has written over the past 40 years They include many of the Standard Catalogs of American Cars. John originally hoped to be a mechanic, but his father steered him towards a high school with a unique industrial design program. In college he majored in many subjects including writing and history, before getting his degree in Fine Art from Richmond College in his hometown of Staten Island, New York In 1978, John  moved to Iola, Wisconsin to work for Old Cars Weekly. He became the editor and publisher of Old Cars Weekly. He lives in the sleepy village of Iola, and works hard to keep his “Gunner’s Great Garage” workshop in Manawa, Wisconsin filled with interesting projects. He currently has 14 cars and trucks and seven motorcycles in his personal collection. Gunner’s automotive tastes are a bit old-fashioned. His fleet includes three flathead Pontiacs and two early-‘50s T-Series MGs, plus a pair of ‘40 Indian motorcycles.

Dave Sarna

A quick bio:

Dave was an automotive instructor at Fox Valley Technical College, worked with Old Cars Weekly, did 5 tours with the National Guard in Iraq and Afganistan, participated in the Great Race and currently drives a Trans Am Bonneville car that hit 193 mph. He even was the mayor of the great city of Manawa, WI.