Crusin' the Coast 2020
Crusin' the Coast 2020 has wrapped up! Here are some of the best classics from the 24th annual event!
What is Crusin' the Coast?
For the last 24 years, Crusin' the Coast has brought in hundreds upon thousands of classic car owners from all over the world. Every October since 1996, classic American beauties have lined the streets of Highway 90 along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Mississippi might not sound like the classic car capital that you would expect, but for the last decade or so, it has hosted the largest gathering of classic cars in the United States. If you are a classic car collector or enthusiast in the U.S and have not been to Crusin' yet, you are truly missing out. The atmosphere during the event is like nothing else in the world. The classic Southern hospitality, amazing food, breathtaking views, and legendary automobiles makes for a truly unique event every single year. Also, if you are bored of looking at millions of dollars worth of retro cars, there is a casino/resort about every block... so there is that too. I took a trip down to Gulfport (which was "Cruise Central" for that particular day) and Biloxi to take in the country's largest classic car meet.
1956 Chevrolet 3100 (Correct me if I'm wrong, please).
1956 Chevrolet 3100
Starting off the day, after making it through the horrible CTC traffic, I spotted this perfect 1956 Chevy 3100 pickup. The amount of restoration put into this beauty was truly staggering. It looked like it had just rolled off the assembly line that very day! As we move through these I will be grading these wonderful pieces of automotive history on a scale of one out of five stars, as well as if I would purchase this particular car if possible. Restorations and retro pickup designs do not get much better than this, a very easy five-star. I have a soft spot for old pickups like this one, so if I was made out of money, I would definitely take this one home.
1969 Corvette Stingray (I'm not great with years, so please correct me if I'm incorrect).
1969 Corvette Stingray
The second car of the day and it was certainly one of the best of the lot! An impeccably restored 1969 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that certainly was not out of place at Centennial Plaza. Another car that looked like it had just rolled off the assembly line, it is readily deserving of a five-star rating. If you love American classics, you have to love a classic 'Vette! With that in mind, I would not turn down living with this beautiful machine.
McLaren 650S. (No clue on the model year)
While 95% of the vehicles that show up on the Gulf Coast are full-blooded American classics, some European and Asian rarities wriggle their way to the casino-lined streets of Highway 90. This McLaren 650S that came over from Louisiana along with its expensive brethren certainly fits that bill. Also in this pack of swamp-dwelling supercars was a Lamborgini Huracán Performante, Porsche 911 Turbo S, McLaren 600LT, Ferrari 430 Convertible, an Aston Martin Vantage, and a few other European beauties. None of these I had ever seen before, and it was truly incredible to see these on a beautiful October evening. To answer the, "Would I buy it?" question... Who on Earth would say no to a McLaren?! Well, maybe Carlos Sainz.
From left to right: 1972 Mercury Cougar, 1966 or 1967 Pontiac GTO, and a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle Convertible.
'72 Cougar, GTO, and '72 Chevelle
Talk about a lineup! On the east side of the plaza sat these three American icons. The Cougar, GTO, and Chevelle are undoubtedly some of the best muscle cars ever built. This was the only Cougar I was able to capture on the day, and sadly it was one of the least appealing model years (in my opinion). If I could take one in particular home with me, it would have to be the good ol' GTO. Not my favorite style of the legendary car, but certainly the one I would take. The restorations on the Mercury and Chevy were not as thorough as others I had seen on the day. So, for the first time in this list, they get a four-star rating. Sorry GTO.
1968 Oldsmobile 442.
1968 Oldsmobile 442
4. 4. 2. What more is there to say about this late 60's beast? The 442 was the car, and still is in most cases, that Oldsmobile was known for. Called the 4-4-2 due to its four-barrel carburetor, four-speed manual transmission, and dual exhausts it was Old's greatest achievement. The 442 was produced from 1964 to its discontinuation in 1980. The successor to this blockbuster car would come in 1994... in the form of the Oldsmobile Aurora. Yes, one of the greatest muscle cars of all-time was replaced by the Aurora. Moving on from that depressing fact, this particular 442 seemed like a barn find, or a car that had been passed down through the generations. The restoration was minimal from the looks of it, but it still looked and sounded tremendous with all of that taken into account. The Olds 442 has always been one of my favorite American classics, so I would be more than happy to be a future owner of a 442.
A 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle.
1972 Chevrolet Chevelle
My favorite car of the day had to be this pristine 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle. I am a Chevelle fanboy, and I'm not talking about the band (they're great too), so I might be a little bit biased here. Granted this is not my favorite model year of the Chevelle, but unlike the Cougar from earlier, I still love the looks to bits! The best part of this gorgeous machine, for me, has to be the color combination. The silver primary, mixed with the black stripes, and chrome detailing is just perfect in my book. The restoration on this Chevelle was probably the best out of all of the ones I took a gander at, which is saying quite a lot given the competition. I think I already answered the "buying" question here, so let's move on before I start looking at AutoTempest for a Chevelle.
1965 Ford Ranchero
1965 fORD RANCHERO
The Ford Ranchero was the El Camino before the El Camino ever existed! The 1965 version of the vehicle is, in my opinion, the best looking. In production from 1957 all the way up to 1979, the Ranchero may not have outlasted its GM rival, but they certainly outdid them in the styling department. Starting with the fifth generation of the Ford, however, the two vehicles became very similar, when it came to looks. This would be a trend that would last until the final Ranchero rolled off the assembly line, which would leave Chevrolet as the last man standing in the "American Ute" war. I personally prefer this Ranchero over the El Camino of the same time period. However, if you let me pick between a 1969 Ranchero and a 1969 El Camino SS... I would have to go with the Chevy. The car was nearly perfect, inside and out, so it receives a five-star rating from me.
1970 Dodge Charge R/T
1970 Dodge Charger R/t
When this mean, green, rumbling machine pulled into the plaza late in the afternoon, from afar, I thought it was an early 70's Challenger or Barracuda. It was not until I got closer were I saw the "Charger" chrome text on the grille of the car and realized my car-spotting failure. The Charger might not be as popular as its more well-known brother, the Challenger, but it certainly should be. As we know, both the Challenger and Charger are still going strong today... Unlike their bastardized step-sibling, the Dart. Seriously! Why bring back the Dart if you are going to ruin it? Rant out of the way, this was another beautifully restored beast that would certainly sit pretty in my dream garage.
1966 AC Cobra
1966 AC Cobra
I saved the best for, well, almost last. This is an original 1966 AC Cobra that, if I could, would get a six-star rating. When you see a non-replica Cobra, you just have to stop and stare. The Cobra is a global classic. Unlike some American classics, this car is loved and respected the world over. This was Carroll Shelby's masterwork, untouchable in its day. And since non-replicas still go for hundreds upon thousands of dollars at auctions, I would say they stand up pretty well today as well. When it comes to rating, how could I not give a Cobra five-stars?
Oh, hello once again Mr. Mach 1.
1971 Ford Mustang Mach 1
Okay, I might have lied when I said that the Chevelle was my favorite of the day. The original run of the Mustang Mach 1 is one of my favorite muscle cars of all-time, and certainly is my favorite Mustang of all-time. The reason behind my adoration for this vehicle comes down to the uniqueness of this beautiful American muscle. Even to this day, it is most likely the most recognizable Mustang model of all. Unlike the new "Mach 1" that is coming out in 2021, you can easily pick it out from a lineup of its fellow Mustangs from the same time frame. I am not saying that the new car will not be good, it will probably be a great Mustang, but it just does not have the same distinctive characteristics as its grandfather. This particular Mach 1 was, from what I could tell, all-original. From front to rear, everything is as it was nearly fifty years ago. Sadly, this was also apparent in the Louver on the back window. A few signs of wear were visible, as well as some minor rusting on the lower bumper area. Besides these minor nitpicks, this car was amazing! Even with my major bias towards this Mustang, I have to give it a four out of five for its current condition. In the context of buying it, of course I would! The Mach 1 will continue to be my favorite Mustang ever made, especially since they decided to name an electric vehicle a Mustang... C'mon Ford!
Even with masks and social distancing, it still felt like the classic Crusin' the Coast I have known and loved for the last decade and a half. Sure, there were fewer vehicles on the Gulf Coast than in years prior (thanks China), but there were still more than enough to keep the streets jammed. Hopefully by next October Crusin' will be back to normal, as well as the rest of the world. Until then, however, it is nice to go outside and enjoy some of the world's greatest classic cars. Thank you for reading, and I will see you all next time!