The 2015 Blue Suede Cruise

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Every May sees the Blue Suede Cruise in beautiful Tupelo, Mississippi.  Held concurrently this year with the 2015 Ford Galaxie National Convention, the Blue Suede Cruise attracted over 900 cars from Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, and various states beyond.  The assembly was delightfully diverse, so let’s cover some of the more memorable ones.  From having taken over 500 pictures it has been hard to narrow the field to what is being shown here.

Seeing this Morris Minor was a delightful surprise.  With no information available with the car, I contacted our very own Roger Carr, the man of monumental knowledge about the British automobile industry.

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This is obviously an export model since it is left-hand drive and it has an overhead valve engine.  From reviewing the various pictures I took (which were many) Roger concluded this is a 1952 to 1954 model and he highly doubts this is the original paint job.

The show was a three day event, starting on Friday.  These pictures were taken on both Friday and Saturday, which is why there is such a vast difference in the lighting.

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No amount of lighting could detract from the sheer coolness that is a 1958 Edsel.  Being in the Ranger series, this was the bottom-rung car from Edsel for the year and the Ranger four-door sedan was the most popular variant.

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The take rate for the push button, steering wheel hub actuated automatic transmission was just under 92%.  This car isn’t one of them.

Maybe it’s me, but the radio looks just like the rear of a 1964 Ford Galaxie.

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In what could likely be a stupefyingly and amazingly rare accumulation of Edselonian love, there were numerous 1958 Edsel’s present.  Finding a 1959 Edsel is relatively easy for some reason; the ’58 is a bit more obscure but here are two.

Don’t think it was just these three in attendance.

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There were wagons with wood siding,

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And wagons without wood siding.

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Just remember to point left to go right.

These account for the Corsair, Villager, Pacer, and Bermuda trims.  Combined with the Ranger, nearly all Edsel trims were present.  Only the base model Roundup wagon and top trim Citation were absent.

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Seeing this many Edsel’s is about as frequent as seeing a 1954 Corvette.

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It’s still in its full 235 cubic inches of blue flamed glory.

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Speaking of blue flames, here’s one of the few straight sixes that has ever appealed to me.  Maybe it’s the chrome?

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It was powering this 1955 Chevrolet.

As expected, the bulk of the cars present were post-war models but let’s take an art-deco diversion and look at some of the pre-war models on display.  They didn’t disappoint, and some of these were cars I had only heard of previously.

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The prime example would be this 1933 Rockne by Studebaker.  Named after University of Notre Dame football coach Knute Rockne, the Rockne was produced in 1932 and 1933.

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It was a replacement for the Erskine.  The Rockne six-cylinder engine would have a long and fruitful life, being the six-cylinder to power Studebaker cars through the 1960s.

Whoever owns this Rockne likely had to wipe it down after I spent a phenomenally long time drooling over it.

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As expected, GM was well represented regardless of time period.  This 1938 Buick was stunning.

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Convertibles are a joy as it allows for such easy photography of the interior.

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Toward the top of the Sloan ladder was this 1933 LaSalle.  The ride height concerns me, and since the engine compartment was unavailable for viewing I’m claiming it to be as Papa Sloan meant it to be.

Only 3,500 LaSalle’s of all variations were built for 1933, so I will keep hoping nothing is amiss.

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The same sentiment applies to this 1930 Cadillac limousine.

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On the bottom rung of the Sloan ladder is this 1934 Chevrolet.  Other than those horrendous fender skirts, she remains pretty much the way she was built.

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Mother Mopar was decently represented at this show with this 1937 Plymouth.

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This 1934 Ford sedan delivery is an example of which I had never seen before.

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A Packard speaks for itself.  Doesn’t it just seem to speak in a rich baritone that drips of class and sophistication?

I don’t attend car shows that often and generally the owners aren’t that talkative.  Since this is Mississippi and southern hospitality is fully and gloriously engaged, I talked to several owners at length about their cars.  The story makes the car so much more real than a static display in a parking lot.

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This 1957 Ford pickup may not appear to be anything out of the ordinary.  Appearances can be deceiving and these pickups are gaining in popularity for a variety of reasons, and one in particular.

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What you see here is no lump of Y-block.  Powering this 1957 Ford pickup is the drivetrain from a 2005 Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.  Running what I suspect to be a straight pipe exhaust, it had one of the best sounds of anything I heard that weekend.

The owner told me he bought a wrecked Crown Vic for $500.  With a wiring diagram, he was able to transplant the entire wiring harness.  As an added bonus, the frame rails of the pickup and Crown Vic have the same width and adopting the front suspension from the Crown Vic to his pickup was very nearly a bolt-on affair.  He says he is getting over 20 mpg with more power than this pickup had ever dreamed of having.

He also cautioned this suspension swap only applies to the 2003 and newer Crown Vic; Ford updated the suspension for 2003 and it bolts to the frame.  Prior to 2003 it was welded to the frame, rendering it useless for any such swap.

I suspect the 4.6 will soon be – if it isn’t already – the de facto choice in transplants for Ford people, similar to the Chevrolet 350 for GM people.

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Something about this car tends to catch your eye, doesn’t it?  It certainly caught mine.

The gentleman who owns this 1967 Ford Custom had two cars at the show, with this being the more conspicuous.  He came across this car several years ago and back in the day it was indeed what it still claims to be.

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As proof, he has pictures from when it was found in the salvage yard.

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Sometimes a person gets lucky.  When he began restoring the car, he was able to find the trooper to whom this car was assigned when new.  Stories were shared and documented.  This car saw and did a lot of things early in its life.  It also saw a lot of shade trees as the black roof and no air-conditioning made interior temperatures unbearable in the warm, Tennessee summers.

Tennessee apparently made two rounds of car purchases in 1967.  This Custom was in the first purchase of the year, the last purchase ever of cars that were two-doors and not equipped with air-conditioning.

It is powered by a 428 cubic inch (7.0 liter) V8.

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Sitting next to the Custom, and also owned by the same person, was this 1972 Plymouth Fury Gran Coupe.  This car must have hit all my buttons as I took about eighteen pictures of it.

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Painted black, and with rarely seen options such as this moonroof, I suspect I know why.

It also hit the original owners buttons; he was the current owners uncle.

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The uncle worked for Chrysler and ordered this car in late 1971.  Chrysler rejected the way he had optioned it.  Incensed, he took up the matter with a regional manager for Chrysler.  In the end, Chrysler acquiesced and gave him what he wanted.  The owner likely equipped it the way many of us would have done if given the opportunity.

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Under the hood rests a police issue 440 cubic inch engine.

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Even the speedometer is the 140 mph calibrated unit given to the boys and girls in blue.

Incidentally, the first digit on the odometer is a “3” and reflects the true mileage of this Plymouth.  The original owner was extremely fastidious about his Fury, keeping it parked in a dark garage along with a dehumidifier to minimize any moisture related deterioration.  Everything you see on this car is as it was built, except for the vinyl top.  Time didn’t escape it entirely as the current owner had it replaced due to some deterioration.

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Perhaps the most delightful conversation I had was with the owner of this 1972 Buick Skylark.  Why?  He let me sit in the passenger seat.

If memory serves, he purchased this Buick from the daughter of his neighbor after the neighbor died, making him the second owner.  It’s a pretty standard issue A-body with a 350 and an automatic.  The yellow is not my first choice and the white interior might be a bear to keep clean despite it keeping the cabin much cooler.

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However, getting in the seat reminded me so strongly of the euphoric, intoxicating, take your breathe away comfort I experienced in reader Sevair’s 1979 Cadillac Seville in Auburn last fall.  In addition to being very well screwed together it’s no wonder these A-bodies are so popular.  Count me in as a new fan.

I also suspect Buick owners to be extraordinarily generous people; I have since sat in another early ’70s Buick at a different show, but that’s a story for another day.

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Sometimes seeing cars triggers memories of things I have read.  This Dart instantaneously made me think of Dr. Niedermeyer’s Dart that Paul has written about.

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While I cannot visually tell the difference between the different sizes of slant six…

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I do know his was also a three-speed car.  Nobody but car people can see a certain vehicle and have thoughts of others so immediately triggered.

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This 1969 Dodge Charger reminded me of a commenter who was using their 1969 Charger as a daily driver for a while.  Hang fuel mileage, this would be a terrific daily ride.

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A similar 1968 was awaiting nearby.  There simply is not a bad angle on these Charger’s.

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This baby-blue Studebaker Lark wagon made me think of the joy this would bring to our Indiana contingent.

Simply from looking at the lead picture of the Morris, it is obvious not every car here was American – just the overwhelming majority were.

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This 1973 Datsun comprised exactly half of the Asian cars present.

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A Toyota van from the 1980s was the other half.

This van perplexed me.  First, that is the exhaust pipe hanging outside the body, ready to burn anyone who comes close.  Second, prior to taking this picture a group of people were all giddy and bubbly while clumped around looking at the engine.  After they wafted away, I was unable to discern anything unique about the engine, but who knows?  Maybe he did similar to the owner of the 1957 Ford truck and he had shoehorned a new Camry engine in there.

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The European entrants were more plentiful.  In addition to a variety of Volkswagen’s and Mercedes’ (Mercedii?), there was this 1972 Volvo.  I had never seen a Volvo 1800 before and it was a knockout.  The seats looked to be as soft as a baby’s bottom.

Next comes an issue of size.

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1960 MGA meet contemporary Ford Mustang.  This definitely shows the growth of cars and reflects why the methodology of crash testing highway appurtenances has had to change – even in the last ten years.  That’s another article for another day.

Did somebody say wagons?  Here’s a few:

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Pontiac Astre, the Vega clone.

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A 1957-ish Buick.

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1959 Chevrolet El Camino, the American take on an Australian creation.  It’s on a wagon chassis, so that’s close enough for me.

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The Chevrolet Nomad cousin, Pontiac Safari.

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Plymouth Volare.

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Country Sedan, by Ford in 1961.  I talked to the owner of this wagon.  He had purchased it a few years ago and it had just rolled over 44,000 miles on his way down from Tennessee.  Powered by a 292 hooked to the two-speed Ford-o-matic, he said it’s no powerhouse but is as reliable as the sunrise.  All he has done to it is put 15″ wheels on it.  He also owns a few other Galaxies, but he was not participating in the concurrent Galaxie show.

This is getting long and it’s hard to decide which cars to include and which to save for other uses.  Resizing and uploading these pictures is also taking a while.

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However, some cars are still large even when shrinking the picture size, such as this 1977 Lincoln Mark V.  It was very nice.

The owner was wanting to sell it to me, but it was reminding me of something, also.  Remember the movie Shaft?  Yes, Shaft drove a Cadillac but the theme song popped into my head.  I could see myself driving around town in this Lincoln, thinking I’m a bad mother…

I better shut my mouth.

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