Car Show Classics: Downtown East Moline Car Show – An Eclectic Mix

The car show season is starting to run down. As fall approaches, all those shined up pride-and-joys will be driven less and less, until finally being parked in a garage for six months. But it’s not over yet, and I’ve been to several good ones in just the past month. Case in point: The annual East Moline Car Show on August 11. In addition to providing me with a full CC on the Givenchy Edition Mark IV, it had plenty of interesting iron around to keep me entertained. Let’s take a walk…

I am assuming this Cobra is the real deal, judging from the ropes blocking it off. The polished bodywork must be fun to keep clean, huh?

Here we have a modified ’62 Galaxie 500. The American Racing wheels and Thunderbolt hood made me wonder what was under the hood. Perhaps a breathed-on 390?

This 1939 LaSalle was a time capsule. It appeared to be unrestored, with original paint. And any LaSalle is a rare find these days.

I think the 1939 LaSalle had one of the most beautuiful grilles of the 1930s. If it looks familiar, that’s because the original 1963-65 Buick Riviera had miniature versions of this grille at the fender peaks. It was a remnant of the Riviera originally being a new LaSalle proposal.

The woodgrained metal dash, “banjo” steering wheel and door cards also looked to be factory-installed. I am less sure about the upholstery. It reminds me of the “Highlander” interior option on Chryslers in the 1940s.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of this car was the large steel sunroof. While many European cars of the time had sunroofs, they were seldom seen on U.S. cars. That has got to be a rare option.

Here was a nice Jensen Interceptor, with Chrysler V8 power. I believe the license plate refers to the paintjob, which looks to be the same color used on the Plymouth Prowler of the late ’90s. It actually suits the car well.

After spotting the Givenchy Mark IV, my car radar locked onto this cherry 1979 Firebird “Red Bird.” This was a special edition that started with the 1978 “Blue Bird” and ended with the ’80 “Yellow Bird.” If pastels weren’t your thing, the Red Bird was the one to have.

As you would expect, the interior was red too. That engine-turned instrument panel sure looks good.

About 50 feet of pinstriping, color-keyed wheels, and a dark red accent color on the lower body rounded out the upgrades.

Considering some of the questionable trims used by the Big Three in the ’70s, I like this one. It’s strange to see one of these without the rear spoiler and rear window slats.

This very original 1974 911 was also in attendance. The black paint, Fuchs wheels and Carrera RS “ducktail” spoiler really set it off.

1974 was the first year for Federal bumpers on the 911, and it integrated them quite well indeed. Many ’70s and ’80s 911s have been hot rodded or “upgraded” into 993 Turbo clones, so it was nice to see a stock one.

Another great car was this Acura NSX. A true supercar, these were rarely seen in my area. The only one I had ever seen was a red 1990-92 model in Davenport, so it was nice to see this one, looking quite smart in black. The wheels are aftermarket, but look pretty good.

I am not a fan of black interiors, so I really liked the beige leather this one is equipped with. Black with tan interior is such a classic combination. I also like the two-tone effect with the black accents; quite nice!

Here’s the business end. The 3.0L VTEC V6 produced 270 hp. For a car weighing under 3,000 pounds, that translated into quite a rocket. It was a treat to see one of these up close.

And now for the polar opposite to the NSX, a 1949 Crosley station wagon. That late-model Mustang on the left gives you an idea of just how tiny these cars were. This one was slightly customized, but really well done.

Here’s the inline four cylinder CIBA (cast iron block assembly) engine, which replaced the advanced but trouble-prone CoBra (copper-brazed) engine for 1949. While Crosley faded after 1952, this engine went for marine use and as stationary engines. It was redubbed the AeroJet and lasted into 1955, when it was sold to Fageol, and later on, several other companies.

Here’s the interior, with its individual seats and long-throw shifter. It would be fun to go for a ride in one of these!

Here’s a rocket ship for you. It looked especially nice in black with red interior, and sported fender skirts to boot.

These cars must have been quite a shock to 1957-58 Chevy owners when they appeared in late ’58!

And who could forget that gullwing rear deck and cat’s eye taillights. GM could do anything in the late ’50s. That said, the 1960 models were all toned down some.

I’ve always liked the 1955-56 Fords, and while you usually see Fairlanes, this one just happens to be a Mainline. Despite being the bottom rung model, it still sports ample chrome. Mid-range Customlines had a chrome spear that extended all the way to the headlight buckets.

The interior was very cheerful with its red and white color combination. Note the accessory tissue dispenser and auxiliary gauges.

The engine compartment was just as nice as the rest of the car. V8? But of course.

This lowered ’65 Fairlane was sharp in navy blue. Despite the low stance, it was a very original car otherwise.

I liked the vintage decals on the rear quarter windows. It’s always nice to see a surviving family hauler; most of them got the bark beat off of them years ago.

This must have been the Ford guys’ area, because just a few cars down was this immaculate forward-control Econoline. Nice!

This was when trucks were trucks. No climate control, club cab or leather seating. Just rubber mats, steel door panels, gauges, a steering wheel and a shifter. This was for work, not play. But what is that between the seats? Is that a radiator?

Yes it is. Where did you expect them to put the engine? While it might have been nice to adjust the carb on the fly, the engine noise in that mostly metal interior must have been loud.

Someone spent a lot of money on this truck. Good for him, as there can’t be too many of these still running around. It was a beautiful truck.

This has been a summer for 1964 Fords. Ever since I did the CC on the ’64 Galaxie 500 convertible, I am seeing them everywhere. I guess this is their year. Or they’re following me…

I remembered to get an interior picture of this one. It’s not as cool as the Jet Age XL interior, but it’s still pretty nice.

There were several nice wagons at this show. Here’s another one: a 1970 Impala. It was for sale, too.

This ’70 Mach 1 was in really nice colors, red with a white interior. It had the Cobra Jet air cleaner, too. Those Magnum 500 wheels look good on anything!

This one also had the deluxe interior, with woodtone dash, door panels, and a clock. And although it had buckets, there was no console.

Remember what I said about wagons? Here’s another nice one, a ’67 Falcon wagon. Other than the wheels and tires, it appeared to be original.

Well, maybe not that steering wheel. These were pretty rare, as it was basically the same as the Fairlane wagon, except for the Falcon front clip and instrument panel.

Only 5,553 ’67 Falcon wagons were made, compared to about 35,000 ’67 Fairlane wagons. This one has beaten the odds.

There was also this matte black ’61 Ranchero. Note the chrome fender skirt with Futura emblem. These were made from the Falcon station wagon, which was initially only available as a two door model.

We’re at the end of the show field, and the last one was this 1961 Corvette. This was the next to the last year for the original Corvette, though it had seen facelifts in 1956, 1958 and, as shown here, 1961.

While the ’61’s grille was new, the big news was out back, where a “ducktail” rear deck with four round taillights, soon to be a Corvette trademark. It foreshadowed the look of the all-new 1963 models waiting in the wings.

Rounding the other side and heading back toward the car, I saw this 1941 Chevy. It looked quite nice in white, but I’m not sure why the grille was painted black.

The dash and steering wheel were stock, but unless Chevrolet offered a Brougham package in 1941, I am guessing the upholstery is custom. Of course, the necker knob was a popular accessory. Just grab a JC Whitney catalog!

I love ’57 T-Birds, and this one was great in red with wire wheels. Is there any cooler detail than that porthole in the hardtop?

All T-Birds came with a V8, but like the muscle cars of a decade later, there were several upgrades for more power, including the supercharged “F-Bird” with 300 horsepower. Standard mill was a 292 CID V8 with 212 horses.

Being the top of the line, all Thunderbirds had a luxurious interior, with full gauges, an engine-turned insert on the dash and door panels, and available power windows. Note that the lower door panel has little Thunderbird emblems embossed into the pattern. Cool.

Some of the modified cars had vintage speed shop decals on them. I liked this one, on a candy-apple green Chevrolet.

Here’s the whole car. This one has shaved door handles and a “nosed” hood with pinstriping and louvers. It looks like a 1949 model.

A friend’s friend owns this 1964 Fairlane 500. He restored it himself, and it is a beauty. Perhaps Paul would have more Fairlane love if the Niedermeyers had gotten one of these instead of a more practical four door sedan.

The interior was slightly customized, but it had the original upholstery patterns and door panels. I liked the hula girl on the dash; nice touch!

Finally, we have this 1949 Buick Super. While it looks stock from a distance, I assure you it is not. A friend of mine said it has a 350/350 combo, and lots of other modifications.

The interior is certainly custom. What I like is that it is custom, but subtle. Other than the split bench seat, people who are not into cars may not know it is a custom interior. It’s subtle. I like how Buick Ventiports were added to the door panels!

Those wheel covers are actually Cadillac “sombrero” wheel covers, but they’ve been modified to accept a Buick insert instead of the Cadillac coat of arms. Normally I prefer showroom stock cars, but this one is awfully cool. And with that, our tour has come to an end. See you next time!