Cruise-In Classic: Experience A Midwestern Car Show, Without The Ninety Degree Heat

While the focus here at Curbside Classic is cars found on the street (hence the name), a recent cruise in put on by the Quad City Cruisers brought a wide variety of cars. Were there the usual suspects of Camaros, Corvettes and Mustangs? You bet there were, but there were also some pretty unusual sets of wheels too. Thanks to my trusty camera, you can see the highlights of this show from the comfort of your air conditioned home. Let’s start with a rare ‘Bird – a 1971 Thunderbird Landau sedan.

Immediately after spotting the Thunderbird, my eyes were drawn to this mint mid ’70s Ford F100 Custom. There are still a few Ford pickups of this vintage running around, but rarely are they as cherry as this one. This one is pretty dressed up with sport wheel covers, a sport stripe, bumper guards and even a hood ornament!

When’s the last time you saw a Rebel Machine? This one is in the classic red, white and blue paint treatment, but these were also available in all the standard Rebel colors, with a matte black hood. Would you believe there were two of these at the show?

This particular cruise in is held once a month during the summer, and at nearly every one I see cars I’ve never seen before. This 1965 Colony Park was a new one and especially sharp, with its black paint, chrome reversed wheels and baby moon hubcaps.

How about Paul’s favorite Buick, a 1986-88 Riviera? I believe this one was an ’88, and yes, it did have the Graphic Control Center. I have to admit, this one looked kind of sharp in burgundy with burgundy leather and a landau vinyl top. These E-bodies are getting thin on the ground, so it was nice to see one in good shape. Sorry Dan, there was no Trofeo in attendance to match this Riv.

Here’s another rare one, a 1967 Imperial Crown Coupe. This one is usually at all of these cruise ins. I believe it belongs to one of the event organizers.

This Crown was remarkably original, with what appeared to be factory-applied paint. The leather interior also looked original.

The last generation Chevy El Camino was made for a long time (1978-87), but seeing one as pristine as this one was a treat. It could have just rolled out of the showroom.

This car would be a perfect complement to a 1977 Trans Am Limited Edition. It even has the same gold-accented wheels and front fender flares!

While I normally prefer stock cars to customized ones, this mildly redone Custom Ranch Wagon was pretty fetching in black and yellow. If you wondered what a Crown Victoria wagon would have looked like, you now have your answer.

There was also this most excellent 1968 Caprice Estate for you station wagon fans. I’ve seen this one before at a show in Galesburg, but it was good to see it again. It even has 1968 Illinois plates on it – a nice touch.

The vintage Crager wheels also looked good, quite a change from the whitewalls and full wheel covers this car undoubtedly had when new. This wagon means business!

I’ve always liked the ’65 full size Ford, and this one was especially sharp in bright red with Torque-Thrust wheels. My grandfather bought one of these brand new, but his was a light yellow Galaxie 500 sedan. My Mom remembers it well, although by the time she started to drive, it had been traded in on a ’68 Torino GT hardtop.

What car show would be complete without a Falcon. This one has what appears to be a seriously hopped-up inline six. I’m not really an engine guy, but the mill in this one looked very good and decidedly non-stock. And dig the 1960 Illinois plate!

This one was my favorite of the show. I first saw this Rambler at the AMC Nationals in Cordova three years ago, and it is every bit as pretty now as it was then. Beautiful dark green paint, Torque-Thrust wheels, and a perfect interior. What’s not to like?

When Volvo appropriated the Cross Country moniker for their AWD wagons in the late ’90s, I wonder if they knew the designation was originally for Rambler wagons? This does remind me a bit of a period Volvo wagon: simply styled, plenty of room and glass area, and stone reliable.

It does have a modern radio under the dash, but the original one is still installed. I didn’t notice if the clock was still working.

As I have mentioned before, green, especially dark green, is my favorite color. And I love the independent automakers like AMC and Studebaker too, so perhaps you can understand my infatuation with this vintage hauler, even if you’re not a Rambler fan.

Check out the stylized typeface on the speedometer; isn’t that cool? Ramblers may have been seen as boring in the ’60s, but compared to today’s shapeless, safety-oriented interiors, this one is a stunner.

That Cross Country script is really cool too. I wonder how that would look on my Volvo wagon’s tailgate? I wonder if anybody outside of CC would get the connection? Oh well, enough with this one; let’s move on.

Right across the aisle from the Cross Country was this matte black ’58-’60 Rambler American. I like how the owner set off the black with some of the original chrome trim. It shouldn’t work, but it does; I like it.

Okay, I know I said we weren’t going to do any “common” car show fodder, but have you ever seen a ’57 in this color combination? A good friend of mine owns this one. He bought it in about 1995 and did most of the car himself, save paint, upholstery and glass. It does have a 350 and THM instead of the original 283, but is otherwise to original specifications – including the colors. I am biased, but I like this much better than the approximately four million ’57s in red, black or turquoise. My Mom remembers this being a pretty common color combination when she was a kid in the early ’60s.

By this point, the heat was catching up with me, and I was about done. I had to stop for this ’73 or ’74 Road Runner, though. It looks especially good in black and white, but I’d trade those aftermarket wheels for some Rallye wheels.

The interior was also very nice. I really like white interiors in muscle cars, although I’m sure it’s a pain to keep clean compared to other colors.

On my way back to the car, I spotted this Sunbird leaving. I haven’t seen one of these in twenty years. Opera windows and a supercharger – what a combination! The engine sounded pretty healthy too.

For those of you who’ve stuck with me this far, here are some genuine Curbside Classics. This super clean Caprice wagon was in the lot.

The composite headlights put it between the 1987 and 1990 model years. This car either came from out of state or was babied, as there was no indication of the rust being in residence. Quite a feat here in Salt Country.

And what was parked right by my wagon? A 1994 Lincoln Continental in emerald green with tan leather – my favorite color combination. For some reason, Lincoln gave the Connie new cladding, bumpers, grille and taillights for just one year, to be replaced with the all-new V8 1995 Continental. It was introduced pretty early in the model year, though, so it was more like two years. I’ve heard that these Lincolns have lots of problems, but I like them anyway, even though they don’t have the presence of the Continentals of the 1960s and 1970s.

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you enjoyed our little detour from regular CC programming!