Wright City

The hot rods were hotter than the weather at Wright City car show

By Jason Koch, Editor
Posted 8/3/23

The eighth annual Fat Heads Car Show drew a huge crowd of people and cars this year.

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Wright City

The hot rods were hotter than the weather at Wright City car show


It was hot Saturday at Diekroeger Park in Wright City.

But not as hot as the hot rods and other cars on display during the eighth annual Fatheads Car Show.

Even with temperatures approaching 100 degrees, scores of car owners from Warren County and beyond brought out their vehicles to show off.

“The turnout’s amazing, especially with the temperature,” Fat Heads Car Club founder Frank Ellis said. “Some of these cars are not built to roll in this kind of temperature. They’re not parade cars and stuff like that.”

This year the show brought out everything from Ellis’ 1928 Ford Sedan to Blue Thunder II, a 2019 Dodge Charger Scat Pack owned by Keith Fisher, of Hillsboro.

“We don’t care who wants to bring their car or truck here because the reason we’re here is to get money for the kids,” Ellis said.

Fisher, the owner of Blue Thunder II, decided Saturday morning to bring the car to the Wright City event, and he wasn’t deterred by the weather.

“I just wanted to go to a show where they hadn’t seen me before,” Fisher said. “I love showing the car, I love talking to people about the car.”

And talk about the car he could, eagerly demonstrating his love for the vehicle and cars in general.

“I call it a Scat Pack plus because I put a supercharger on it to make it even more fun,” Fisher said. “When I originally put it on, I just put it on top of the stock motor. When you do that, you can only run about five pounds of boost. It was still an impressive horsepower gain, but I decided I wanted more.”

He then detailed how they pulled the engine out, replaced the pistons, drive train and more, and now he’s using 15 pounds of boost.

“I’m quite proud of it,” Fisher said with a smile. “All the carbon fiber under the hood is real. The carbon fire front bumper piece is real. The diffuser in the rear is real and all the carbon fiber inside the car, it needed to be more thin than what real carbon fiber would be. So it’s fake, but it still looks good to me.”

Fisher’s love for his car was shared by every other owner attending the show.

“There’s just an immense amount of money invested in the cars that are here today,” Ellis said. “I would put this car show up against any around here.”

He said one aspect of the show is that it’s kid friendly and shows the bond between car people.

“People had a totally wrong idea about hot rods and they used to think that it was just a bunch of rough people, bad people and stuff like that,” Ellis said. “And that’s totally not true. It’s an amazing group.”

And that’s played a role in helping the show grow every year since the start as more and more car enthusiasts show their cars and trucks.

“And I think the reason it’s grown is because the people like what we’re doing. They know that we’re giving this money to the kids,” he said. 

Fat Heads donates the proceeds from the show to the Wright City R-II School District. “It’s helping these kids and the way the world is today, we can all use a little help,” Ellis said.

The donation includes a $2,000 scholarship for a Wright City student. The club also works with the school district to make sure they’re providing items that are needed.

“We like to know what they really need and then try to provide that,” Ellis said.

It’s something school district officials are happy to receive.

“The Fat Head Car Club is an example of how our community seeks to support kids in our community,” Superintendent Dr. Chris Berger said. “We thank them and all groups and individuals who support our students.”

Helping the school district is a big reason car owners come out.

“I like that,” Fisher said.

“It’s a wonderful idea, a great idea,” Ron Feldman said. Feldman brought his 1957 Chevy Nomad to show from his home in St. Peter’s and walked away from the event with first place in the best of show contest.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “Pays off all that hard work.”

Feldman’s Chevy had been completely restored. 

He did most of the work, and he said his mother helped restore the interior. The only thing he didn’t do himself was the bright red paint job.

For winning the top prize, he was able to select his own trophy from the three made by the club.

“We make it from scratch out of parts and people just appreciate them and respect them more,” Ellis said. “They treasure them. I have people all the time say ‘yeah, I got a trophy from your show from five years ago and it’s still on our mantle and my wife loves it.’”

Feldman chose the trophy designed to look like a stick figure holding its own head. 

The other trophies included a gear with a working clock and a smaller piece with two connected gears.

“We’re old school, you know, and that’s great,” Ellis said.

After awards were presented, many of the car owners quickly began to pack up as severe weather rapidly approached Warren County, but nothing could put a damper on the day.

“I really appreciate everybody coming out in the heat,” Ellis said. “I just want to thank all the people, some who probably don’t need to be out here in the sun and they still come out because they love the cars and they like what we’re doing and so that’s how the Fat Heads roll.”

Feldman, the champion of the show, summed up the day even more succinctly.

“Just can’t wait until next year,” he said. “I’ll be back for sure.”

About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at jason@warrencountyrecord.com

wright city, car, show, fat head, club