Back to Driving Force, Summer 2016



Heavy-Duty Car Collecting

Representative Josh Byrnes Is Catching the Bug...BIG TIME!

Representative Josh Byrnes was a political novice when he decided to run for a seat in the state legislature in 2009. “Our state was suffering due to bad budget decisions, and I made the decision to act and get involved,” he remembers. “I placed my name on the ballot and won! It has been a great experience, and I have met some wonderful people who are now lifelong friends.” Unfortunately, for the citizens in Iowa’s 51st district, he’s decided to retire from the legislature at the end of the current session. Car enthusiasts in his state will also lose a fierce advocate.

Josh grew up in Riceville, Iowa, and graduated from Luther College, earned a Master’s Degree from Winona State University, and is currently completing his doctoral work at Iowa State University. He was a high school teacher for several years and also served as a college administrator. He and his family currently reside in Mitchell County where they maintain a small cow herd, raise gourds and play ball on their diamond.

Over the years, Rep. Byrnes has been involved in several efforts to support auto hobbyists. This year, he was the driving force behind a bill to allow a single rear-mounted license plate. He’s also introduced legislation to support the use of nitrous-oxide systems and enable aftermarket exhaust systems.

“I grew up in a farm family where we used nothing but International Harvester tractors,” he says. “Given that background of red farm equipment, I started looking at all things International. Eight years ago I located my first International truck on a farm being sold. I purchased that first D-series truck for $100 and took the title and all the parts home—and the passion began. That truck led to two more D-series parts trucks to complete my first project. During that time I came across a ’59 Chevy Viking that we now use for hauling mulch and rock on our acreage. I recently came across a ’66 International pickup that has the original cattle sides and a factory hoist on the box.” His ’37 International has morphed into something special. It now has an ’07 Chevy LS engine (5.3L), automatic transmission, and disc brakes. Outside of the modernization of the powertrain, everything else is original and authentic.

He advises car enthusiasts to elect people that share their ideas and passion and to attend forums and ask questions of those who are already elected. “One of the biggest jobs constituents have outside of the electoral process is educating their elected officials on their issues. I think a great thing car enthusiasts can do to help promote their cause is to invite elected officials to events such as car shows, swap meets and anything else related to our hobby.”

Last year, he attended his first SEMA Show as a member of the State Automotive Enthusiast Leadership Caucus. “What a great group of people with an authentic passion for their hobby.” As he moves into the next phase of his life, he hopes to become more involved with SEMA and attend the SEMA Show at every opportunity.


The future of our prized cars and trucks is being threatened! Add your voice to our growing U.S. and Canadian forces united to advance our automotive freedoms. SAN members defend the hobby by responding to timely e-mail updates on vehicle-related legislation and regulations. No fees. No SPAM. No obligations. Great strength comes with great numbers. Can we count on you to help preserve the classics of today and tomorrow?

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