I'm sure we've all attended a single day car show before. You get up at zero-dark thirty, load your chairs and cooler into the ride you spent the previous week cleaning and head out in the early morning dark to the event. Once there, you pay your entry fee and then either park where you want or are directed to park by those putting the show on. You spend the day looking at rides, talking to gearheads and maybe even checking out vendors and swap meet booths. You grab an overpriced hamburger at lunch and then head to a tent or stage area around 3:00PM to see the awards given out. Once the awards and door prizes are over everyone piles into their rides and scamper back home. Pretty standard stuff for a small one day only show.
All that cleaning and polishing for an 8 hour show has always bothered me, it seems like a ton of work for not much enjoyment. While it's great to see cars at the showgrounds, seeing them rolling down the street is even better. For the last few years the group that puts on the Back to the Strip car show in McMinnville, Tennessee has included an evening cruise. Not a "road trip" kind of cruise that a lot of larger shows put on now, but simply a good old fashioned cruise on the towns main "drag".
The Back to the Strip car show is a tale best told in two parts:
On Saturday morning the cars began pouring into McMinnville's downtown area. With ample parking and place enough for a few local vendors the show took on a street fair feel.
The above '57 Chevy is packing some serious drag car goodies.
Big and Little Cragars on a RS Camaro.
(ABOVE) Many different styles of cars were on display, including this survivor 1962 Corvette.
(ABOVE) This split bumper Camaro is a prime example of why these cars are increasing in popularity.
(ABOVE) What do you do when that Big Block engine isn't motivating your Chevelle as much as you'd like? Give it a dual shot of laughing gas!
(ABOVE) The popularity of C10 trucks can not be underestimated! It's easy to see why when you look at this blue stunner.
A black SS Chevelle with white racing stripes and raised white letter tires. That'll do nicely.
(ABOVE) "New" cars have started to become pretty normal at small shows these days. It's always nice to be able to get a long look at them. Make no mistake, it's good they are there. It means new gearheads are around to continue the hobby.
This yellow, Super Sport, 1966 Chevelle, with a 396 is one of the best looking examples I've ever seen.
(ABOVE) A '32 Ford two-door sedan is rare. A '32 Ford two-door sedan that wasn't turned into a Street Rod in the 1990s is unheard of! This is one rare, survivor.
Once I had gotten my fill of the show in downtown, I took the 20 minute ride home. I was able to recover from the heat, charge camera batteries and eat dinner. I then headed back to town for the second act.
The cruisin' happens on the main road in town. This harkens back to the days of teenagers cruising their car on a Saturday night. More cars participated in this second event than were at the actual show. The police are around, just to stop the burn outs and any red light shenanigans that might happen... so, in that respect, it is just like the old days.
This '55 Nomad wagon made more than a few trips around the stip.
One clean C10!
If you were going to be different, better bring something besides a Mustang. They were everywhere!
Windows down and the radio up!
Camaro's get a bad rap for being 'ugly". After seeing the lines of this one highlighted under the setting sun, I completely disagree.
A couple of English cars came out, also.
Regular cab, black and lowered this F150 shows just how cool a new truck can be.
Tubbed and primered, this was one angry sounding GOAT!
People always seem to be smiling in those 2nd gen Camaros.
A modern GTO.
This quad headlight Corvette was made for cruisin'!
Challenger, Camaro and a Trans Am. If that light pole hadn't blocked the flag, this picture would scream 'Merica!
The door on this early '70s Impala is about 6 feet long!
Late '90s Chevy trucks are still around and are either working or playing. This yellow 1/2 ton, with chrome wheels, was having a ball!
Looking classy in white, this Cobra sounded the part.
Let the top down on that 'Stang and cruise!
A super clean Corvette example.
Another group in a convertible Mustang with the right idea.
Trucks and Jeeps.
A early '50s Chevy truck, next to a pro touring styled Ford Falcon.
A different rat rodded early '50s Chevy truck. This one was packing turbo LS power.
A '52 Chevy four door. This thing must have been a blast to cruise around in.
Here comes The Judge!
What was all this for? Well it turns out the group that puts this show on raises money for the local Meals on Wheels charity. Meals on Wheels provides meals to elderly people and they bring the food to the people's houses. Since this is a very rural area, the help is appreciated. Judging by this check, this year was a success!
$31,381 for a very deserving charity. Car people have a ball at the event and people down on their luck get a helping hand. That's a win-win in my book!
Every year this event gets bigger and bigger! They had a small scare when the event had to be postponed earlier this year due to bad weather, but this weekend went off without any problems.
Keep on Cruisin'!
Art by: Chris Breeden
About the Author:
"Chris Breeden is a Social Media content creator for Custom & Hot Rod Life on DRIVETRIBE, YouTube and Facebook. After spending 5 years in Southern California, a.k.a. Hot Rod Heaven, while serving as a jet engine mechanic in the United States Marine Corps, he moved back home to Tennessee with an even greater love for Hot Rodded Vintage Tin. Since then he has worked in retail sales and the transportation and logistics industry. In 2018, seeing a gap in Hot Rod and Custom Car coverage on DRIVETRIBE, Chris began advocating for their inclusion on the platform. During the summer months, he can be found all over the Tennessee region covering car shows, meets, and cruise-ins. During the winter months, he can be found in the garage working on his custom 1949 Ford two-door sedan and 1954 F100 truck."