Severe weather destroys 6 classic cars in Verona
Collector kept cars pristine as part of history
VERONA, Wis. — Verona continues to pick up the pieces after an EF3 tornado tore through town early Tuesday morning.
No one was seriously injured, but the emotional journey is just beginning for some.
John Mathews has been storing six of his classic cars on the corner of Cross Country and Nine Mound roads in Verona for over 30 years. Tuesday’s storm changed everything.
“This is just heartbreaking,” Mathews said.
For Mathews, collecting and fixing up classic cars isn’t just a hobby, it’s a passion.
“The thing about these cars, there was nothing altered, I kept them pristine because it’s a part of history. They don’t make these no more,” Mathews said.
Tuesday’s tornado damaged all six of the cars he had in storage, and Mathews is wondering what can be saved, if anything.
“Like this car here. There is nothing on the shell or the body of this car that is salvageable. You have to understand this car went through some hellish force because the steering wheel is missing,” Mathews said.
Jane Knudsen owns the house and the property where the barn that stored the cars once stood. She watched the storm from inside her house, and she said she will never forget the image of the cars flying in the air. She hopes to rebuild the barn she loved.
“I was actually crying because the barn was gifted to me. The owner of it gave me the barn and I just cried. I cried a lot because I loved that barn because at heart I am a farmer’s daughter,” Knudsen said.
This setback has not stopped Mathews from loving classic cars.
“The way I believe is that the car should be the way it came from the factory,” Mathews said.
Mathews said he lives about 2 miles away from his storage garage, and he still has two classic cars at his house that were not damaged.
He is very grateful that no one was hurt during the storms. He said he plans to have the fields cleaned up over the next few days.