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Actor Steve McQueenALTON - The 21st edition of the annual All-Wheels Drive-In Car Show was special for a multitude of reasons, probably first it was the first time for car enthusiasts to gather again in Alton. There were also so many unique entries and large crowds.

However, perhaps the most unique automobile was showcased by Alton car collector Roger Lewis - a 1950 Hudson, previously owned by Hollywood great Steve McQueen.

McQueen, for those who don't know, was labeled "The King of Cool," in Hollywood and had a deep passion for automobiles and motorcycles. McQueen shot to fame with his rugged good looks in "The Great Escape," and "The Cincinnati Kid."

The Hudson Motor Car Company made Hudson and other branded autos in Detroit, Mich., from 1909 to 1954. Hudson merged with Nash-Kelvinator to form American General Motors in 1954. Hudson was continued through the 1957 model year, after which it was discontinued.

Lewis had a storyboard about McQueen's career, and he told the story about the vehicle once owned by "The King Of Cool” probably more times than he could count that day. Lewis told Riverbender.com the Hudson actually has a 1951 engine in it. Lewis said McQueen was fascinated by the engine in the 1951 Hudson model and exchanged it.

The shiny 1950s McQueen car is a beauty and stood out among all the entries Sunday in Alton.

“We were thrilled to bring out actor Steve McQueen’s Hudson and let everybody see it,” he said. “It was a constant flow of people there to view the car and reminisce. The vehicle had every possible factory option at that time, including power windows.”

A Pepsi Cola Express Volkswagen vehicle also captivated attention, along with many other unique entries.

This year’s All-Wheels theme was the Fabulous 1950’s and featured a pin-up contest at noon to celebrate the glamour, sophistication, and class of the good old days.

Guests also enjoyed 50’s rock music performed by the Smokin’ Oldies Band from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Sarah McGibany of Alton Main Street said this year’s event featured more than 200 different beautiful classics, hot rods, and street machines.

“This past year has been quite challenging when it is our job to bring the community together, and this is one of our first events back in action,” McGibany said. “It was a great event. All of our outdoor events for the 2021 year are going to go according to plan. We can tell by how people are coming out in droves, and they are really ready to get back out there.”

Check out local artist Michael Snider on Facebook @michael.snider.980

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