Road Trip Destination: Karlock’s Cars In Hannibal, Missouri – Big Things In a Small Package

With everyone staying home these days, it seems only right to keep the road trip destinations coming – so long as I can keep finding my pictures.  Road trips are also on a (very wise) hiatus as reflected by traffic volumes in Missouri being down 40%, which is most likely similar to what has been experienced in other states.

I offer all this because if a person can’t do something themselves, they may as well live vicariously through others.  So today let us go around 100 miles northeast of me to the self-proclaimed “American’s Hometown” of Hannibal, Missouri, and visit “Karlock’s Kars”.

Karlock’s sits in an otherwise fairly nondescript building on Rt 79 on the southern edge of downtown.  Having lived in Hannibal from 2006 until 2012, Karlock’s has moved in since the time I left.  While the number of cars they have is not tremendous, they are of great quality and/or noteworthiness.

One such noteworthy car is this 1953 Kaiser.  Its having been converted into a pickup is unique by itself; add to this the claim it was used as the flower car at Henry Kaiser’s funeral in 1967, which ups the unique quotient.

The history of the Kaiser’s conversion is unknown although there is a tag on a door pillar that says “Barris Customs”.

Next to this semi-decapitated Kaiser was another Kaiser, this being a Darrin.

This picture can be upsized by clicking on it, but the story about this particular Darrin is compelling.  Powered by a 1954 Cadillac V8, this Darrin was claimed to have been found abandoned after Kaiser moved production to Argentina, awaiting the scrap heap.  Dutch Darrin didn’t want that outcome and brought this car, along with the other remaining Darrins, to his shop.

The Cadillac engine powering this Darrin has two, four-barrel carburetors sitting on its intake manifold.

In 1948, Hudson introduced an amazing new line of cars.  This is a 1949 Hudson two-door that has been retrofitted with Twin-H Power, which is two carburetors feeding its 308 cubic inch flathead six.

These Hudsons are a delight to see.

Even if you can only see part of it.

By and large, General Motors is the featured manufacturer with some of their best being on display.

Case in point is this 1961 Pontiac Ventura powered by the 421 cubic inch Super Duty V8.

Ford wasn’t the first to use the pulse quickening phrase of “Super Duty”.  They have, however, made a lot more hay from it than Pontiac ever did.

Also from the upper fringes of desirable 1961 Pontiacs is this Catalina convertible.

Coming from Philadelphia (presumably Pennsylvania although Philadelphia, Missouri is only about 20 miles from Hannibal), this Catalina has less than 30,000 miles.

The interior is unrestored.

Sitting near the Pontiac was this 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible.  Making itself more interesting is this convertible was endowed with a fuel-injected 283 cubic inch V8 from the factory.  It does have an automatic transmission and only 36,000 miles.

It is unknown how many miles are on this 1960 Buick Electra 225 convertible but we do know it had only one prior owner before coming to the museum.  It was originally purchased by a couple from Deadwood, South Dakota.  The went all out on the option list with power windows and seats, a console, and air conditioning.  It is powered by a 401 cubic inch V8.

Unique about the car is the owners later went shopping to replace their Electra.  Not liking anything on offer, they opted to restore the car they had.

With all these two-doors, let’s finish with something different.  So here’s a 1956 Buick Century wagon.  Once upon a time I was ambivalent about wagons but now I am rather intrigued with them.  Thankfully this wagon escaped being used as a donor for a two-door.  Wagons need to be appreciated and it seems that sentiment is now being shared by others.

I visited Karlock’s in May 2017 when these pictures were taken; it was still there as of November 2019.  Hannibal may seem like an unusual place for a car museum, but due to the ongoing influence of Mark Twain, Hannibal has an abundance of international tourists.

Karlock’s is well worth the stop.