More than 80 vintage vehicles are cruising around southwest Iowa, visiting the scenes of several famous crimes. The 17th annual Motor Memories tour has already stopped in Villisca, where eight people were murdered with an axe 100 years ago this week. Tour organizer John Swanson says they’ve also stopped in Templeton where the lesson was in illegal, prohibition-era whiskey and mobster Al Capone.

Swanson says, “We finish up in Perry, Adel, Stuart and Adair where Bonnie and Clyde had their infamous shoot-out and where Jesse James robbed the train.” This spring’s tour is dubbed C-S-I, for Crime Scene Iowa. There are vehicles on the tour this year from 50 communities in Iowa and from six states. The only requirements are that the cars are street-legal, licensed and at least 25 years old.

“The majority of cars that participate are from the muscle car era, the late ’50s through the early ’70s,” Swanson says. “We’ll have a mix of Mustangs and Corvettes but ordinary cars, too. We’ll have a 1951 Kaiser, which is kind of unusual, more of a family-type sedan.”

The list of cars also includes a 1958 Rolls Royce, a Studebaker, several Packards and a ’78 V-W Microbus. Motor Memories holds two of these tours every year, with the next one headed for eastern Iowa in the fall.

“In October, we’ll be over in the Quad Cities,” Swanson says. “We’re focusing on the history of John Deere and the Rock Island Arsenal. We’re already working on themes for next year and we’re thinking of doing one on Iowa’s military heroes.”

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