On Saturday, about the time Jenson Button found himself 44 laps down in the 24 hours of Le Mans, I traveled 24 miles to a Cruise-In held on the downtown square in Sparta, TN. The weather was OPPRESSIVE! The mercury was elevated to 95 degrees, or 35 if you prefer your temps in Catholic, & about 65% humidity, I have no idea how the Pope measures humidity. Thankfully, this Inquisition of heat didn't dampen any of the attendees enthusiasm for the beautiful variety of autos on display.
Weighing Bumpers & Engine Blocks. Bonus: Who wore it better?
By my questimate I place 80 to 90 vehicles in attendance. The red/orange Dodge was a super clean example of a '60's era Antique(stock) car. A blue '30's Plymouth & a tan & brown Chevy Nova set side by side, nevermind the 40 year age difference. I bet the front bumper of the green/blue early '50's Oldsmobile probably weighed as much as the LS engine in the Little Red Corvette parked next to it. The red Chevy pick up truck wore the paint color as good, if not better, than the 'Vette.
Mopar's, Mercury's & another hood lead!
Next up another pair of Mopars. First a black '70's Plymouth & a maroon '30's Plymouth were looking good. The Plymouth is a excellent example of a pre war Antique(Stock) car, needless to say I was happy to see it and spent a minute thanking the owner for braving the excessive heat. The black Mercury Comet was a excellent example of a Street Machine. The grey '49 Ford Coupe was one of the nicest examples I've seen in a long time. A Antique(Stock) car at its core, the only thing not stock was a '52 Ford rear end from a automatic transmission car. The gearing combination allows the Flathead V8 engine and stock 3 speed manual transmission achieve higher speeds at lower RPMs. On a side note, I might be able to get another hood for my Showbox from the owner of the '49. In the 8+ years I've been looking for a better one I've had many such leads, this time I'm hopeful!
I give people a hard time about Mustangs, because they are everywhere. This Cruise-In even had a special place to park them & there were around 25 of them in attendance. Individuality people, I refuse to believe that we live in such conformist times! I could say the same thing about '60's Camaros. Both are beautiful cars & this Cruise had some excellent examples, but please stop with these things all ready. Start building Maverick's or Mustang 2's. '70's Camaros, Firebirds & Trans Ams are still easy to find & will make everyone at a show stop and look. Again, if you own one of these vehicle's thats cool. If you do not own one & are thinking about your first car, please stop and consider something different. Different is cool!
Odds & Ends:
This blue '60's Chevy stepside pick up was packing serious LS power. The silver GMC Cabover car hauler was setting on a late model 1 ton truck chassis & had plenty of power to pick up anything. The maroon & silver Corvair was a super clean car. Who knew they made fender skirts for Corvairs? The Pink Panther Ford truck Gasser (there's a never typed phrase) was a serious beast. Who needs mufflers when you can run 8 straight pipes, 4 on each side?
My picks for Best of Cruise-In runner ups.
My first pick is a Kustom '38 Ford 2-door sedan that has been chopped and had a hardtop conversion done to it. The stace was achieved with airbags. Next, this white '70 Dodge Challenger was a perfect example of the year. The black '68 Dodge Challenger was a nice change from the numerous Dukes of Hazzard General Lee's you'll see in the area. The chopped top '50 Mercury Coupe is a perfect Kustom. Nosed, decked, shaved door handles & louvered hood are perfect.
My pick for Best of Show:
This gold '66 Chevrolet Impala was absolutely perfect.
Other than the modern wheels the car was otherwise completely stock.
This gold '66 Chevy Impala was absolutely perfect. With factory A/C and small block power, this Impala would make one perfect daily driver. That's right, I said daily driver. To me that's the most important thing in a car. Super slick show cars are cool, but I don't want to own one. I want a car I'm not afraid to drive & I require them to be mechanically sound. This Impala fits all those requirements.
Apparently, this arm of the Illuminati like movies & '55 Chevy's. That's why I never say anything bad about tri-five's!
Another hot evening is done & I have had a blast! If you have been following along with this series, you are starting to get an idea of the car culture in my little part of the world. I'm sure the cars, terms & temperatures may be different than what you are accustomed to, but I'm willing to bet the people are the same! I have been to Mexico, Japan, S. Korea & many other places in my travels. The one thing that's the same in every place: Gearheads. Lovers of pistons, chrome & gears are some of the best people in the world. Keep an eye out for the Tuesday through Friday Kustom Spotlight posts, have a good week & Keep on Cruisin'!