Car Show Classic: This Month’s Palos Verdes Collection, Mostly Pre-1975

84-85 Celica GTS Convertible

Welcome to another sunny California Saturday morning at the monthly Palos Verdes Peninsula Car Show. Since I’m posting this in mid-February, I know many of you haven’t visited any car shows in four or five months. While I sympathize with your plight, here on the peninsula we attend car shows all year round.

But enough bragging- Let’s look at some cars! This 1984-85 Celica GTS Convertible is just old enough to qualify as a Curbside Classic, but the sunlight and pastoral backdrop really set off that red body. In addition, it seems appropriate to share a top down convertible with my snowbound friends back East.

1939 Chevy Sedan

For some reason, I ended up with a bunch of cars from the Pre-Dave era (1960 and older). I’ve photographed this show three times now, and discovered that parking choices and available lighting often determine my article content, so things are what they are. However, since my knowledge of these cars is pretty thin, I’ll present them to you in chronological order, and provide my subjective impressions without much technical detail.

That approach places makes this 1939 Chevy sedan the first offering. While it’s the senior car in today’s posting, it also may be the prettiest picture. It’s a little heavy on accessory lighting, but I do like the color.

1947 Chevy Convertible

Jumping into the postwar era, this ’47 Chevy convertible also brings a pleasant hue to the proceedings. My Grandpa Skinner was a Ford man, but I think he may have harbored a little Chevy lust when this model first arrived on the scene- I know it gives me a little burning desire.

51-52 Dodge Business Coupe

This ’51 or ’52 Dodge Business Coupe is also a red two door, but that’s where any comparison to our ’47 Chevy ends. I’m a huge fan of Walter P. Chrysler, but it’s shocking how quickly the company lost it’s way after World War II. I understand these early fifties Dodges were well built and reliable, but I’m sorry, that’s just not enough. Ughhh!

Early 50s Mercedes convertible

Based on the one piece glass windows on this Mercedes 300, it was built between 1951 and 1954 (later years had vent windows on the front and rear door glass). If you’re looking for an example of a well built, reliable, solid, and desirable car, I think this four door convertible delivers the goods. Something about this car also gives me a serious Neidermeyer vibe- Let’s see if Paul weighs in on it.

(I also wanted to get a shot of that “Pagoda” SL Mercedes on the left, but as you can see it was buried in the shadows, and masked by a car on the other side. I’ll try to get a picture of it next time, but no promises.)

1956 Dodge 4 door

I’m also liking this! A Dodge that does not taint the memory of Walter P., this ’56 four door sedan lacks the “cool” of a two door hardtop, but it’s a head and shoulders improvement over that ’52 business coupe. As I recall, this was also the last well-built Dodge for a couple of years, since the “Suddenly it’s 1960” rust-tastic model came out in 1957.

57 Pontiac Safari Wagon 1

Speaking of ’57, here’s a Pontiac Star Chief Custom Safari wagon, which shared a body shell with the Chevy Nomad. According to Wikipedia, Pontiac only sold 1,292 of these two-door wagons.

57 Pontiac Safari Wagon 2

Since this wagon is so rare, I thought I’d provide you with two pictures. It also has the typical late fifties chrome detailing, so this second shot gives you a chance to take it all in. I’m guessing the paint isn’t original, but I like it. The aftermarket wheels? Um, no.

1972 Chrysler Newport Coupe

I also took two shots of this fuselage era Chrysler Newport. Southern California does not seem to be Chrysler country, so it’s rare I get picture of such a nice Mopar. Based on the grille this is a ’72, the last year of the fuselage styling. That’s a shame, as I find the styling of the ’73 Chryslers far less interesting, and far more derivative.

Note- JPC informs me that ’73 was the last year for fuselage styling. He’s correct, but that does not change my criticism of the ’73’s squared off front end.

1972 Newport Coupe

Since I captured this boat sliding into it’s slip, you can really take in that jet age styling. I hope our younger readers can get a better idea of the size of these full sized coupes from the end of the domestic domination era. While it appears that trunk can hold eight bodies, I’m not sure the short cabin allows anyone in the back seat, despite the six passenger rating. 2-gen-Z28-Front

Some of you may recall that I posted a ’72 Camaro Z-28 RS several weeks ago.  I saw this same car at the show, but the sun wrecked my shots. No problem, my article provided this image. If you want to see the rest, click this handy link.

1971-73 Camaro RS

This yellow F-Body was also at the show. Once again, the sun didn’t do my camera any favors, but it’s the best I have. Notice the split bumpers on this car- While ’70 to ’73 Camaro’s are pretty common, they didn’t really build very many with this RS appearance package.

1970 Camaro RS 1

Although it seems all the ones they built ended up here in Palos Verdes. Yes Virginia, there was a third RS Camaro at the show.

A bright sunny day and three second generation RS Camaros- We truly suffer from an embarrassment of riches here in Southern California.

87-88 Cougar

An embarrassment of riches that also includes this Brougham-i-fied Mercury Cougar. I’m no fan of dealer installed vinyl roofs, but since it covers up that awful upside down B-pillar glass, I’m going to give it my blessing.

With this Cougar “convertible”, we have come full circle back to the late eighties, so let’s wrap it up until next time.

By the way, if you want a better look at that red Gull Wing in the background, I posted pictures back in my first Palos Verdes car show article, available here. TTFN!