After yesterday’s detour through the Pontiac-Oakland Museum, I’ve returned to my road trip report along Route 66. Dad and I spent a week touring the Mother Road from Chicago to Albuquerque, New Mexico, and I shot as many Curbside Classics as I could. This 1947 Oldsmobile rested in a lot in Cuba, Missouri. Driving through Cuba, you’ll see a number of murals depicting local historical events, all painted on the town buildings. I didn’t see all the murals, but I did talk Dad into stopping to photograph this car.
Oldsmobile was an early adopter of automatic transmissions, and as this trunk emblem clearly declares, this car came factory equipped. In this age of ubiquitous automatics, it’s hard to believe they were once so unusual the car included a callout on the vehicle exterior.
In the same lot, this 1948 Plymouth awaits a buyer for the very reasonable price of $500. If you look carefully at the rear door, you can see that the latch and hinges are reversed from common practice, resulting in the hazardous “suicide door.” Mom tells me my Uncle opened a door like this at speed once, and took flight out of the car (a resilient young boy at the time, he survived his brief flight across the pavement). I’m pretty sure Grandpa didn’t drive a Plymouth (he tended to purchase more eclectic cars than this), but you can see that unlatching a suicide door at 40 MPH would result in an abrupt egress as the door caught the wind and drew you out of the car.
I’m not sure what color had been applied at the factory, but it could be the faint trace of grey you see above the rain gutters on the roof. While all panels on the body come with a coating of corrosion, forties-era sheet metal includes enough heft that you could sand it down and lay on a new coat of paint.
Later in the day, I spotted this ’64 Chevy Impala on a side street off the main road. The car appears to be in fine condition, with original wheel covers and trim. All the more remarkable considering…
It’s an Impala SS. In Los Angeles, this car would have been snapped up and sent off to the restoration shop for fresh sheet metal and paint, followed by a trip to the nearest Mecum or Russo and Steele auction. I don’t know if the owner knows the value of this car, but it sure is cool to see it resting in the sun in a small Missouri town.
My God, it’s Grandpa’s car! As I noted in my first Curbside Classic post several years ago, my Grandpa Skinner was a Ford man through and through. He once owned the twin of this car, right down to the puke green paint and vinyl roof. A prime example of the Brougham age, seeing this car brought back memories of riding in Grandpa’s back seat, traveling from the farm into to town, or off to the big city of Albert Lea for a meal at Grandma’s favorite restaurant. Dad and I encountered a number of memory joggers during our Route 66 tour, and always enjoyed sharing those “remember when” moments.
BTW- I did not take any pictures of the Toyota Land Cruiser behind the Ford, because while there I dismissed it as “just another Jeep.” It wasn’t until I reviewed my photos this week that I noticed it in the background.
Yummy! I spotted this ride on the Missouri border just before entering Kansas. Sharp eyes will spot the vertical grille bars and fender gills, marking this early Fox body as a Mercury Zephyr. I’m pretty sure it came from the factory with that cookies and cream paint combination. You could get a Zephyr with the full boat Ghia trim package, but I think this is a mid-level Tu-Tone model with the bright exterior trim package. This bad boy would have been sitting at your local Mercury dealer during my high school years, back when disco ruled!
Hailing from an entirely different era, this ’49 Plymouth was a major find! That’s Dad out back admiring this very complete car. His first car was almost identical, making this his Route 66 way-back machine. The car sat in a used car lot on the Kansas stretch of Route 66, so to find it, you only need tour about thirteen miles of road. The asking price was around $10k, which Dad thought was reasonable, but given the comfort difference between this and his Park Avenue, more than he needed to spend.
If you’re not a Plymouth fan, this 1947ish Ford Stake Bed sat right next to it, facing the highway. With Oklahoma just across the border, I had the opportunity to duplicate Tom Joad’s rustic drive from Oklahoma to California. After a bit of thought, I headed over to Dad’s Park Avenue, and cranked up the A/C as we pulled away.
This Chevy Five-Window pickup rolls down the Oklahoma highway like Maple Syrup flows over pancakes. Through Oklahoma and Texas, the road opens up and fewer Curbside Classics appear on the side of the road, while more appear rolling down the pavement. Unfortunately, it’s a bit tougher to catch CCs on the hoof, but I caught a few.
Including this one in Albuquerque, our final destination. I know there’s plenty of love for this Dart around here, a car I caught between moving cars as it headed in the opposite direction. While I had the advantage of shooting from the passenger’s seat, I still thought this was a pretty good shot of a moving target.
Dad needed to be back in South Dakota on Tuesday, so the Park Avenue departed Sunday morning. Since the last leg of my journey would be via 737, I spent the weekend in Albuquerque visiting with my sister. On Labor Day, I took a tour of Albuquerque and found this 1968 Road Runner in the Hoffmantown Shopping Center parking lot. It turns out Albuquerque’s dry climate leads to streets littered with Curbside Classics, but almost all were parked behind mundane sedans or hidden in the back of fenced lots. I guess Road Runners are just less bashful.
I also took a drive down Juan Tabo Boulevard in search of an old friend, and found him waiting in his old neighborhood. I wrote up this 1971 Ford Custom during my last trip to Albuquerque, and wanted to see if it remained in service. In the original post comments, Christopher O wondered if that nose up attitude indicated a missing engine. This week, I took a look under the front bumper and confirmed the engine remained between the frame rails. I get back to New Mexico one or two times a year, so we’ll see how much longer this CC remains on Juan Tabo.
Well, that’s it for my Route 66 Tour. The Mother Road offered up many more Curbside Classics, but I chose to leave many jewels on the side of the road for others to gather up. It was a great road trip, and I’ll share some non-automotive road images in next week’s posts.