Another day, another car show. There’s nothing like spending a Saturday evening wandering around a cruise-in with like-minded car nuts. While many cars tend to show up regularly, you still never know what you’ll find. The whole idea of a cruise-in is having fun with your car, and on your own terms. Many vintage-car owners don’t take their cars to a proper show, which entails sitting around all day and probably getting sunburned, all for the chance to take home a plastic trophy. But what if you could take your car to a free-range type of show, stay a couple hours, and leave whenever you want to? That’s the appeal of a cruise-in, and the reason so many cars show up, including this ’56 Dodge Coronet. Shall we check out the rest of the field?
Although you might remember this 1956 Ford Mainline from my East Moline car show post, these pictures were taken first. They’re worth a repeat, though; after all, how many Mainlines have been restored like this when a Sunliner or Crown Victoria hardtop would be worth more? Good for this owner, who picked a little-seen model.
Fast-forward seven years to this ’63 Fairlane. This one looked rather cheerful in white with red trim. I like the way the front looks just like a full-size ’63 Ford, only a bit narrower. A strong family resemblance, indeed.
Now this one was cool: a 1938 Plymouth P6–and not hot-rodded. It was a beauty. If you like hot rods, good for you, but I’ll always take a stock prewar car over a hot-rodded one with a 350 and THM. If you want a modern-driving car, why not just buy a new Camaro, Challenger or Mustang?
This ’40 Buick also attracted my eye. As I recall, the engine had “Fireball Straight Eight” printed on the side. I would have loved to hear it run.
If you’re the more outdoorsy type, you might appreciate this early Bronco. I liked its plain, white wheels and folded-down windshield. These Broncos had a long run, from 1966 to 1977. Finding a bone-stock one like this is tough, as modern off-road enthusiasts prize them–in souped-up form.
How about a Mod Top Barracuda? Notchback 1967-69 ‘cudas are tough to find, and this one, with its special floral top and interior trim, is especially rare. Just left of the car is a camp chair the owner made of the same type of fabric on the car. It’s neat, but I can see why the Mod Top option was not especially popular.
Just a row or two over was an even cooler old Mopar: this ’65 Imperial Crown. The combination of white paint, black vinyl roof and red leather interior was stunning.
Look at that interior! Full instrumentation, “thruster” type interior door handles and genuine wood trim. This one also has the optional headrests. In this shot, the column shifter tells you it’s a ’65; transmission pushbuttons graced Imperials for the last time in 1964.
I just love Imperials. While a ’62 model might be my very favorite, this one still made my day. In my book, any day with an Imperial is a good one.
This black-on-black ’62 Galaxie 500 XL was quite nice. I really like the ’62 full-size Fords–and especially their rear end treatment with jet-exhaust taillights “sunk” into the rear bumper and ribbed chrome trim below the trunk lid.
It’s neither white nor a four-door, but I’ll bet Paul will like this ’64 Monza. Not a Spyder, but still very attractive.
I think this one has factory A/C. The controls and air ducts are very well-integrated, unlike most of the “hang-on” aftermarket A/C units that were common back then. This one even has little Chevy bowtie logos. Note the deluxe color-keyed seat belts.
Here was another straight, not-messed-with prewar survivor, this time a 1933 Buick Victoria coupe. This one has the “artillery-style” wheels that began replacing wire wheels in the early ’30s. It’s a true Classic with a capital C, and for sale to boot.
Here’s another rare Buick: a 1979 Century Turbo. I knew these existed (I have the brochure), but I’d never before seen one in the metal.
Note the boost gauge below the fuel gauge, a tipoff that this was no ordinary Aeroback Buick. It also has bucket seats, a console-shifted automatic and this handsome sport steering wheel–perhaps somewhat at odds with the Brougham-like silver gauges and wood grain. Turbo Brougham?
One thing it was missing, though, was the turbo. I could see where it should have been hooked up, but it wasn’t there. I imagine finding parts for a late ’70s Turbo Buick may be a little daunting.
This 1975 Nova LN probably is about as scarce as the ’79 Buick. I had seen this car before, but not for a few years now. Since then it’s been treated to some rust repair and a new paint job, and it looked great. This one was originally ordered with the 5.7-liter 350 and THM automatic transmission. It was bought new, in 1975, from Eriksen Chevrolet, by Jim and Mary Conrad, who still own their red Nova to this very day. More info on this car can be found here.
The LN was the luxury version, and GM’s attempt to infuse a bit of comfort and luxury into the workaday Nova. The interior was very nice, with bucket seats and a console–unusual for a 1975-79 Nova. The ’75 LN and subsequent high-trim 1976-77 Concours were not big sellers, and the luxury-Nova experiment ended in ’78; however, the new 1978 Nova Custom model received the grille and several trim pieces from the LN/Concours. Jim’s love for this car was very apparent throughout our chat. He also belongs to the Eastern Iowa Novas club, which has a big car show every June. I’ll have to check that one out next year…
This 1951 Ford was gorgeous. I especially liked the flipper wheel covers and red wheels. And while the new-for-1951 double-spinner grille is nice, I must admit that I like the 1949-50 single-spinner grille better.
This 1937 Pontiac was not strictly stock, but still looked very sharp in black paint with cream-color wheels and wide whites. Although I prefer stock classics, I still appreciate tasteful modifications like this. It just looked good.
This Advanced Design Chevy pickup was another custom I liked. Its neat combination of vintage-type logo, baby moons and primer just worked. What’s more, it can still be used like a truck.
It’s getting dark, and we’re just about done with our tour. This ’62 Impala with Crager SS wheels was a late arrival, but I managed to get a picture in the fading light.
The gold-and-pale yellow color combination was striking. You wouldn’t think it would work, but it does. Love that cue-ball shifter, too.
In closing, let’s look at this polarizing 1934 Hupmobile, the first car designed by Raymond Loewy. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, it’s a full classic, it’s rare, and would be a beautiful car in stock, not-messed-with form. On the other hand, the fit and finish were first-rate, the colors tasteful (not neon purple with flames, for instance), and it did look nice. But boy, it would have looked so much more beautiful in original form! Why couldn’t they just have added wire wheels and wide whitewall tires and stopped there?