On Saturday evening, I traveled 30 miles to the next Cruise-In on my list. Held on the 2nd Saturday of the month from April to September & hosted by the Gearheads Car Club, this Cruise-In has one of the larger attendance numbers for a local Cruise-In, in the area. Despite 90+ degree heat, about 50 vehicles where on scene when I arrived. I attended about 4 of these events last year and this Cruise has a pretty diverse group of vehicles & enthusiasts. This week lets take a short look at 4 types of vehicles that are pretty regular types for my area:
Street Machines are mainly common '60's & '70's cars. These were the Toyota Camrys of their day, mass produced daily transportation. Engines are usually V8's that came with the cars when new. Carburetors are common equipment, however, Holley & Edelbrock EFI units are becoming more widely used. Overdrive transmissions (4-speed automatics) are pretty universal, backed up with posi traction rear ends. New heating and air conditioning units are pretty standard & recently the trend for dark paint colors dominates. LS engines, Coyote engines, manual transmissions (over 4 speeds) & air ride suspensions are seen, but are not common place. I'll also add that occasionally you will see a '80's car that fits into this category, but they are rare. 1990's style Billet aluminum 15 inch wheels, have given way to modern style wheels in somewhat larger sizes. Suspension lowering & raking is a standard practice as well.
Antique or Stock Cars
These are pretty self explanatory. Any automobile that is presented, as it would have looked when it rolled off of the manufactures assembly line. Traditionally, this only included cars manufactured prior to the late 1960's, but increasingly '70's, '80's & even some '90's cars are shown & appreciated. As good a thing as newer year automobiles entering into acceptance is, the Antique (stock) car genre is suffering a noticeable absence. Automobiles, manufactured prior to the 1950's, are becoming a rare sight in my area. The common consensus has to do with the age of their owners & goes something like this: The owners of these older cars are too aged themselves to bring their cars out in the hot temperatures, high humidity & ever present possibility of rain. The problems do not stop there. Most of these owners are apprehensive at the thought of selling these type of vehicles. Mainly, because there isn't a demand for pre 1950's autos & that would result in a low cash amount being paid for them. To be clear, I'm not talking about pre war Duesenbergs or Auburn Boattail Speedsters, I'm talking about Ford Model T's, Model A's & other mass produced vehicles. The whole situation is kind of bleak & that's a shame, because I miss seeing them. Also, this leads to a lot of beautiful cars being ruined, due to neglect. The worst thing you can do to a car is let it set. (Hence my constant urging to Keep on Cruisin')
DISCLAIMER: I am a Street Rodder & Kustom car guy. For me it was Street Rods & Kustoms in the beginning. It's Street Rods & Kustoms for me now. It will be Street Rods & Kustoms at the end. I am biased. With that said, I still do appreciate the hard work that goes into the owning & maintaining of any type of vehicle. I firmly believe that there will always be enough room for all kinds of autos in the vehicle appreciation world. Admittedly, I do still have difficulty understanding people's love of drifting, Jeeps & 4X4 trucks...
Anyway, Street Rods are automobiles manufactured in 1948 & earlier, that have "modern'" suspensions, steering, brakes, engines, transmissions, wiring & usually include multiple aftermarket comfort features like heating & air conditioning. Street Rods are not to be confused with Hot Rods. The main difference between the two is a Street Rod emphasizes driver & passenger safety. Safety is paramount when talking about a Street Rod. Hydraulic disk brakes, at least front disk brakes, are a requirement. Properly installed wiring, exhaust pipes & safety glass are a must. Fully boxed frame rails are also standard along with V8 engines & overdrive transmissions. The idea of Street Rodding was born in the 1970's after the end of the U.S. muscle car era.. Detroit wasn't doing anything exciting, no one could afford or wanted European sports cars, so auto enthusiasts took the horsepower that had been born in the '60's & stuffed it into, primarily mass produced pre-war domestic cars. They remembered the unsafe Hot Rods of the 1950's & early 1960's & made sure they put as much care in safety, as in speed. Once safety & speed had been achieved, comfort was the next logical step.
The term Beater has always been around the automotive community. Usually referring to cars that are used for daily transportation and therefore are not pristine examples of Street Machines or Street Rods, but at the same time, do not contain enough original parts to qualify as Antique (stock) cars. Due to their daily use they tend to be rather mechanically sounds cars that show signs of their wear in paint, chrome, stainless trim & interior. Increasingly, people are building Beaters on purpose so they have a spare auto that has some character. Beaters are commonly where people start their journey in the car enthusiasts world.
No Mandatory Mustang Picture this week, instead, enjoy this yellow Camaro & maroon Monte Carlo.
These four types of autos are not the only ones common to my area, but I was able to show you some excellent examples of these four varieties from this Cruise-In. Most people in my area have had one of these type of cars at some point & appreciate each variety. What kind of cars will be at the next Cruise-In? Come back next week & I'll show you! If you attented any local shows or Cruise-In's this weekend put some pictures in the comments. If you didn't, try and find one this week end. In the meantime, Keep on Cruisin'!