I really should spend the first Saturday of every month at the Palos Verdes Car Show. There’s always unusual cars to photograph, and unlike some shows, each month offers new, previously unseen cars for the camera. But things aren’t all sweetness and light here at the Palos Verdes Show- The show is set in a local parking lot, which crowds the cars together, and the early morning schedule places the sun low in the sky which lays shadows across the cars. So if the setting ruined a picture of your favorite car, my apologies.
As you can tell from our initial picture, October was Shelby month at the show, and the parking lot included an entire section of Carroll’s creations. I don’t typically include the usual car show fodder in my reports, but some of these Shelbys were on the rare side of he spectrum, including these two first generation Shelby Mustangs.
In addition to those early Shelby Mustangs, I also found this AC Cobra, which appears to be an early small block car. Of course, a little research into the world of Shelby cars called that into question as well, since Shelby built some “continuation” Cobras a few years ago. This could be one of those (or a reproduction car) but it’s got a very original look, and I’m guessing its genes go back to Shelby America.
In contrast, I’m very confident this car is a reproduction. Shelby only built six of Pete Brock’s stunning coupe, and their extremely high book value tends to keep them out of local car shows. Shelby built this roofline to increase the Cobra’s top speed at Le Mans, and I’ve always loved the look. If I ever build a kit car (possible but unlikely), it will roll out of the garage looking just like this.
While not a Shelby product, Carroll helped design this Sunbeam Tiger, which follows the same basic pattern as the AC Cobra. To help move Alpines, Sunbeam placed a Ford small block V-8 between the frame rails and called it a Tiger. You could buy this car at the local European import dealer for a time, but after Chrysler purchased Sunbeam (as part of the Rootes group), they dropped this Ford powered hot rod.
You can understand Chrysler’s reluctance to put these cars in their US dealerships, since the valve covers make the source of the power plant very clear. It’s a shame Chrysler never dropped in their own excellent small block to create the Alpine II.
I mentioned earlier that the cars are stuffed into tight parking spaces at the car show, but I felt this Allard J2X deserved a shout out, despite its poor placement. This car dates back to the mid-fifties, and represents one of the earliest examples of an European sports car supplying a light weight platform for an American V-8.
To my knowledge, Allard never offered a small displacement version of their cars. Instead, they built sports car chassis with off the shelf components, and dropped in a variety of American V-8s. Rather than building elegant, clean sheet designs in the Bugatti tradition, Allard modified common components to suit his needs. For example, the front axle of the J2X started life as a Ford solid beam axle, which was then chopped in two and set up with two center pivots to create a crude swing arm front suspension.
Once again, I’m not positive this is an original car, but if you look at the inside of the passenger’s footwell, you can see a period correct frame structure. This car may not have come out of the Allard factory, but it’s also not a recently built fiberglass reproduction.
To wrap up our section on English sports cars with bigger engine transplants, I offer you this clean MGC GT. While the car is very similar to the MGB, sharp-eyed enthusiasts know that those multilayered hood bulges combined with a transverse chrome strip identify this MG as the six cylinder C model, sold for only three years. In this case, the larger engine came from the British Leyland parts bin, rather than an outside engine supplier. Like many tales from the British auto industry, the story behind this car is fascinating, but I’ll refer you to an article written by Paul, rather than attempting to tell it here.
Having owned and discarded an MGB Roadster, I’m pretty familiar with the nameplate and this is the only Morris Garage model that holds my attention. I’m getting to the point where I prefer a solid roof over my head (except on sunny Saturday mornings), and the Gran Touring vibe the straight six adds to this platform is enticing. I do find it weird that addition to adding the engine on this car, they MG also improved the front suspension, only to toss all these improvements in the dust bin. You’d think the chassis improvements would have made their way to the MGB, but it soldiered on with the old suspension until the end of production. This wasn’t the first time MG improved on their existing car, only to drop the newer technology and carry forward with their basic model- The same thing happened when they dropped the MGA Twin Cam in 1960, and continued to build the pushrod version for several mores years.
While not everyone’s cup of tea, this late sixties Toyota Corona Coupe has to be my favorite car at the show. I’m not referring to this generation Corona, but rather to this specific car. Not only is it the relatively rare coupe, but the owner has made all the right changes. In addition to the Minilite look wheels and J-spec rear view mirrors, the engine bay holds a very interesting upgrade.
In the US, these Coronas came with push rod motors. This coupe has been upgraded with a twin cam engine, either the 8 R-G (1.9 liters) or the 18 R-G (2.0 liters). The Japanese market offered this Corona Coupe with the 8 R-G motor, but since this is a left had drive car, I think it is a US car upgraded with the 18 R-G. Not only are the 18 R-G engines a bit more common, but the owner provided a hint on the C-pillar.
I guarantee this isn’t a 2000 GT, so I’m going to assume the “2000” in the badge refers to engine displacement. Overall, a pretty cool car!
Every time I visit the show, there’s some surprising combination of cars. This week, there were four Thunderbirds, spanning four decades of production, starting with this first generation car.
This second generation “Squarebird” sat next to it, looking resplendent in cream.
Our MN-12 Super Coupe. Painted a sinister black, the vibe from this supercharged bad boy shows how much things changed in the twenty five years between the fourth gen car and this muscular coupe. You could see Bruce Wayne driving those earlier Thunderbirds, but this one was built for Batman.
In addition to our series of Thunderbirds, there were also two fifties era luxury cars worthy of attention. We’ll start with this 1957 Cadillac hardtop.
Based on the trunk lid bling, I’m guessing it’s a Fleetwood….
While this ’57 Eldorado Biarritz convertible sat kitty corner from it’s four door cousin. Back in 1957, weren’t all Cadillacs equipped like this one? I know all Chevies were two door hardtops with fuel injected V-8s….
So boring, someone brought a Station Wagon. Some of you may recognize that blue Chrysler coupe out back from my last car show post, but we haven’t seen this New Yorker wagon before. I tried my best to get a good picture for everyone, but between the sun dazzle, tree shadow and black paint, this was as good as it gets. Despite these issues, the car demanded inclusion today.
Finally, we have this 1968 Camaro SS/RS survivor with a very unusual paint shade. Once again, the lighting sucks, but trust me- That’s the factory paint and striping. Not my first choice, but someone must have liked it.
It’s not obvious in this shot, but the stripe on this side shows forty years of wear and tear, validating it’s originality. The bumper guards and vinyl top tell us this was a loaded car, and all the pieces remain in place.
Even better, it’s a big block car. Whoever has kept this car in the family now has an extremely valuable property.
I’ll let our baby blue survivor wrap up the car show report. As always, there were lots of interesting cars, and I’ll see if I can get up and check the show out next month for another report.
PV Car Show: February 2014
AC Cobra: Is it a Real Cobra?
Sunbeam Tiger: The Other Cobra
Allard: Proto Cobra
MGC: Needs a V-8
Toyota Corona: Stodgy Thy Name is Corona
Thunderbird: The Most Revolutionary American Car
Chrysler New Yorker Wagon: Exner’s Finest Truckster
Chevy Camaro: The Morning After