The week before this Labor Day, my Dad and I set out to travel Route 66 from Chicago to Albuquerque. Given Dad’s insistence on over-the-road comfort, we chose his 2003 Buick Park Avenue Ultra (the supercharged one), rather than my ’74 Mustang II Mach 1. I felt the Mach 1 better fit the whole Route 66 vibe, but as the son, I bowed to my senior partner. While traffic prevented a picture of the Buick in front of Buckingham Fountain in Chicago’s Grant Park, we did establish our presence in Chicago with this shot on Michigan Avenue on the back side of the park.
I expected to find plenty of Curbside Classics on the Mother Road, and Sunday afternoon we scored our first shot. This lovely ’58 Impala sat in a Car Show on the Ogden Road portion of Route 66 in Chicago. As most know, the ’58 was the first year of the Impala (which was only available as a 2-door hardtop or convertible), and the first year with an X-Frame.
Monday morning we departed from Joliet, Illinois, and found this late seventies Dodge Monaco police car up on a post in a gas station parking lot. The car is done up in livery from the movie “The Blues Brothers,” and included a pair of dummies to complete the illusion. While there’s some passion for the Dodge Monaco out there, if I had one I’d probably call up this fuel company, and see if they need any cars for their other stores.
Somewhere between Joliet and Pontiac (Illinois), I spotted this 1964 Buick Electra 225 convertible. While a bit rusty, the car is complete and may be ready for the road. I did take some additional pictures, and once I’ve got the time for research, I’ll provide a complete write up.
A few miles further down the road, we found this period correct 1975-76 Chrysler Cordoba. Located in a used car lot, it beckoned to those car fans driving up and down Route 66 in search of automotive fulfillment. It seemed quite complete, but it did have a fist sized dent on the passenger side.
Along the fence line in the back of the Cordoba’s sales lot, I also spotted these cars waiting for a friendly hand to return them to the road. I’m not very excited by those three jukebox-era sleds with the mid-market nameplates, but if that ’65 Chevy four door is complete, my excitement level would approach “kinda interested.”
Outside of Bloomington-Normal, I found this ’67 Dodge Charger parked on a small town street. As I said earlier, a late seventies Monaco is no prize, but this car is different. Chrysler’s first swing at the personal luxury coupe is a car well worth keeping.
Shortly before ending our second day in Illinois, I spotted this 1975 Chevrolet Caprice Convertible. While the tall grass around the car indicates rare use, the car appears to act as a tow machine for that big boat in the background. Can you imagine cruising over to Otter Lake with the top down and the tunes blasting? Turn to your Curbside Classic for weekend fun!
On Tuesday morning, we headed south out of Springfield (Illinois). Almost immediately, we found this 1954 Ford F600 in a small town on Highway 4.
The front of the truck included this V-8 badge (complete with chrome chevron accents), promising you all the Y-Block Ford power this truck will ever need.
This may be the prize of the trip. As you can see, I found the car in front of an automotive shop (in Carlinville, Illinois), but as far as I can tell, the shop has not modified anything. After a visual inspection, all parts appear to be 100% original. As you can see, the driver’s glass was down, and the interior was complete, right down to a key in the ignition. I was tempted to hop in and drive off, but both license plates were missing.
Here’s further evidence of the car’s original condition. In this close-up, you can see a dealer tag. It reads “Dick Shirley Chevrolet Buick, Carlinville Illinois.” Based on the tag and overall paint condition, I’d say this car has been native to the area since purchased new. Overall, a great CC capture.
Across from the Buick, I spotted this ’60 Chevy four door. Notice the fuel tank hanging over the front bumper. It appears someone has bypassed a rank fuel tank and clogged fuel lines with a small capacity fuel container and dip hose. I suppose mounting the tank on the vehicle exterior is better than setting it on the passenger floorboard, but please- Don’t try this at home.
I hope these cars whet your appetite for more. I’ve got some more trip pictures coming, and I also plan to write a brief article on “How to Tour Route 66,” but that’s all for now!