Car Show Classics: 2013 Syracuse Nationals


This past July I attended the Syracuse Nationals in Syracuse, NY. It was the first time I’ve been to this show, and unfortunately only as a spectator. It is a mecca of hot rodders, but with almost 8000 cars in attendance, it wasn’t hard to find some vehicles that would be of interest to most CC readers, such as this trio of Crosleys.


This Citroen was an unexpected sight not long after I walked through the front gates It was probably the only French car at the entire show.


There was a CC article about a Jeep Cherokee not long ago, except someone had removed all the Indian-head motifs. This example appeared to be in as-new condition.


The Bricklin SV-1, eponymously named brainchild of Malcolm Bricklin. These were manufactured in New Brunswick from 1974-76. Early examples were powered by an AMC 360 but this one had a Ford 351 Windsor under the hood.


This 1979 or ’80 AMX was based on the AMC Spirit. The 1979 AMX was the last AMC car to have a V8 installed, though I don’t know whether this has the 304 cid V8 or the 258 cid I6.


The 1977 Pontiac Can Am was a special edition based on the LeMans. All Can Ams were painted white with decals as seen here. Less than 1500 of them were manufactured, although more had been planned. The mold used to make the fiberglass rear spoiler broke, and it was decided to cancel the model instead of retooling the mold.


Here’s a later rare bird: a 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am Indy pace car replica, one of 5,700 built. The Turbo T/A was Pontiac’s first turbocharged production car. Unfortunately its mediocre performance failed to impress reviewers. (This was one of five different Indy pace car replicas that I saw at Syracuse. I was particularly enthusiastic about seeing them, after reading JPCavanaugh’s excellent treatise on the subject.)


Close-up of the offset hood bulge, oversize Fire-chicken and primitive boost indicator lights.


For the log-roof aficionados, a Buick Estate wagon, 1972 if I’m not mistaken.


If it wasn’t for the people hanging around in lawn chairs, this could’ve passed as a vintage street scene.


Kaiser Henry J with lots of patina. I’ll spare you a picture of the hot rodded yellow Henry J that was parked not far away.


Visible in the Henry J picture was an example of the “shuttle” service to get people around the showgrounds if they didn’t feel like walking.  The trucks towing the trailers even looked interesting.  They were all shortened Dodge pickups with Cummins diesel power.


One lucky group had their own private shuttle… a Unimog!  Five or six people were seated in the back on lawnchairs.


The Henry J wasn’t the only CC-worthy car with a bit of “patina”. Check out this 1956 Chrysler 300B! Oh yeah, it’s got a Hemi alright.


I also spotted another Chrysler letter-car at the show, this 1964 300K. While the baby moons and wide whites wouldn’t have been period-correct modifications, I love the maroon colour. Underhood it’s got the 413 with dual 4-barrel carbs and “long-ram” intake manifolds, which were optional equipment on the 300 in 1964.


Here’s an uncommon but probably not very valuable 1977 or ’78 Plymouth Fury. Proper Furies reside on the fullsize Mopar C-body platform, but the name was moved to the midsize B-body in 1975.


I could go on all day with pictures from this show, but I have to stop sometime because I need to sleep sometime. Suffice it to say, the blisters on my feet from walking for two days were well worth it.