This weekend I attended a local Cruise In that was held in the parking lot of a nearby mall. The lot was full of interesting, cool, eccentric & well, ordinary cars. There were no Porsche 918's or 911’s; no Ferrari's, not even a single Lambo or Ford GT. What was there, was a group of like minded, average people in mostly mass produced cars that all had one thing in common: A devotion to automobiles.
A '56 Ford F100, with a mild top chop, was the first vehicle I came across.
This truck, owned by a 17 year old, is a fine example of a daily driveable vintage vehicle.
We have all seen the occasional six figure car out on the road & every time we stare at their beauty & if they set still long enough we can even marvel at their engineering excellence. What we cannot do is speak to their practicality or extol their usefulness. Mainly because wildly expensive cars are neither practical or even very useful for very much. Yes they have a use at a race track, but no use in everyday life. I mean, can you even put a watermelon, a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, a bag of charcoal & a dozen pack of toilet paper in a Aventador? If you could, would you want to leave it in the parking lot while you swam through the isle of the grocery store? Would one even make it over the parking lot speed bumps?
A super clean VW Karmann Ghia... or is it?
You can see on the left, next to the battery, they had a battery boil over on the way to the cruise. They stopped & replaced it. They then got some baking soda to counteract the battery acid. (FUN WITH OLD CARS, PEOPLE!)
I have no doubt that a Bugatti Chiron or a Aston Martin Vulcan are ogle worthy cars. They are beautiful, powerful works of art, which will never be parked in my garage. That's a little sad, for me, but instead of pouting about it, I buy what I can afford & can maintain. That's the beauty of this "hobby" we are in. There is a step that almost everyone can start out at. There is a place for every budget.
A row with a (from Left to Right): Ford Falcon, Ford 4-door sedan, a '53 Chevy 4-door sedan & a '60's Ford F100.
It is safe to say that every kind of massed produced automobile has some kind of following now. The above picture shows that even the historically dismissed 4-door can be cool.
A close up of that hardtop Falcon.
One slick Camaro
I started my journey in the automotive world, much like a lot of people did, with a succession of mass produced cars. I learned to work on my own cars because of curiosity yes, but mainly, because of necessity.
A fine example of a kinda rare Mercury Cyclone CJ
Mandatory Mustang Picture or MMP for short.
Lately I’ve frequently been encountering the idea that mass produced cars are somehow boring, even loathsome. While it is true that next to a gullwing Mercedes, a 60's Dodge Barracuda could be considered obnoxious & crass, but it's a freakin' Barracuda, its cartoon nature is its appeal. To true gearheads (or petrolheads) both cars are interesting. Both vehicles possess that thing we are all looking for in a car.
That's one flowing back glass,
It's a GAS, GAS, GASer!
Once any car get a few years (& miles) on it, it will have something that a brand new Audi R8 doesn't have. That thing is called character. The '56 Chevy gasser in the above photo and the Pro-Street '57 Chevy in the below photo took a long strange ride to get to this parking lot on a 2018 summer evening in Middle Tennessee.
I wonder which car would win in a drag race. The blue '57 or the ratty '56? I bet the two owners spent the entire evening wondering that too.
Let's end where we started.
Both age & use add character, to even the most common place of vehicles. I don’t think it’s much of a leap to say we humans equate the character of a car to human individuality. One of the best ways to witness human & mechanical individualism is by seeing what those that live in your area are sweating over in their garages & driveways. That is why local cruise in’s & Cars & Coffee events are so important. You are guaranteed to see something unique. True, it might not be to your taste, but a lot of this hobby is about the appreciation of someone else's hard work. It's also about being involved in the local scene. As an added bonus usually, these types of events do not charge much, if anything, to attend. So this week look around the usual places on the interwebs and find the closest event to you & drop by this weekend. I promise you’ll have fun. In the meantime… Keep on Crusin’!
One nice, original '51 Ford. This is the Shoebox Ford tribe, after all, you had to know I was gonna slip one or two in at some point.
Another sweet Shoebox, a '50 Ford