Car Show: Fleetwood Cruize-in

The Fleetwood Cruize-in is the largest outdoor car show in Canada.  It runs annually on the first weekend in June at a private country estate just outside of London, Ontario.  Over 5000 cars go on display for viewing.  Proceeds from admissions and parking go mostly to charities.  The two-day event also features celebrity appearances, helicopter rides, and vendor displays.  There is an indoor classic car museum also but it was way too packed to even try to take photos.  This year, some actors from the old Dukes of Hazzard TV series were on hand.  There was a 50/50 draw also.At this year’s show I felt that GM was the most heavily represented brand.  This is apropos when you consider London is home to a GM factory where they currently make the Equinox.  Kind of makes London a “GM town”.  However, there were cars from all the “Big 4” present.  The show is not just a local car event, I saw cars from elsewhere in Ontario, and from Michigan and Illinois on display.

The lead car is called, “Mr. Beep.”  It is based on a 1957 Ford Zephyr, which was a British model.  It was used by BP to talk to kids about road safety.  The car’s restoration was featured a couple of years ago on Restoration Garage on History TV.  It was so gone that they had to find another Zephyr in order to carry out the resto.

Let’s take a walk around the manicured lawns of the Plunkett estate.

Here is a 53 Cadillac.  I love this design with each section of the car having its own style element.  The upper line along the front fender stops at the door while the lower side molding continues to the first door.  Then the rear quarter has its own distinctive treatment leading to the taillights.  The sunvisor above the windshield must have been an aerodynamic drag.

Here is a design comparison I have not seen done – a Chev and a Pontiac from the same year, 1957, from the same angle.  This enables you to compare the similarities and differences between the two.  Yep, same basic body with different hood and front end treatments.  I wonder if anyone ever took the front clip off of a Chev and put it onto the Pontiac, or vice-versa.

Same idea holds true for the back as well – same general body shape with different design elements.  I love that sweeping white section on the rear fender of the Chev.  This is a different Bel Air than the one shown from the front.  Fifties cars must have all gotten their roof treatments from the same designer – the roof curves down at the trailing edge.  You can almost see it in the blue Ford next to the Pontiac.  Chrysler used the same idea as well.

To me, for a classic car show to be complete, a 59 batwing Chev must be included.  I love these cars, I remember riding in one as a kid.  This was a neighbour’s car, and they would take me and their kid out for ice cream sometimes.

A 64 Imperial.  This is a year off of the 65 they used in the Green Hornet, but the resemblance is there.

A 1972 Buick GS.  These had similar bodies to the Chevelle and the Cutlass.

A 1974 Pinto.  I believe the sign on the windshield is a statement of honesty.

A Nash wagon with its own trailer.  I pegged this at about a 1952 model.  Not sure if a paint job is ever in the future of this fine example of patina.  The difficulty in changing the tires on this must have been problematic, especially if changing a flat roadside.

Whether you love fins or hate them, this 60 Cadillac (and its 1959 cousin) certainly set the bar.

I usually think of the Tucker Torpedo when I see the name of this one.  Just five years after Tucker used the moniker, Studebaker used it on this car.  Personally I would get rid of the fuzzy dice.  No good spot for the front license plate I see.

I will close with this ’76 Le Mans, done up to mimic the Sherriff’s car in Smokey and the Bandit.  I was a fan of Jackie Gleason, but I was not keen on his role in the movie with the heavy southern accent.  Possibly Carroll O’Connor may have been better suited for the role.

On a side note, I would agree with Paul that taking photos at a car show is particularly difficult with other spectators and the car owners themselves to navigate.  Accommodating owners will gladly close the hoods for you to take a photo, but many times they are engaged in telling their story to passersby, entirely blocking the view of their car.  Side profile photos are often impossible also.