CC Road Trip: Stumbling Upon a Road Rally in Memphis


When one has discovered the opiate that is capturing cars in the wild, taking a weekend trip is a great opportunity to get a buzz.  While this is all figuratively speaking, the Shafers did make a long weekend trip to Alabama via Memphis early last fall with lots of automotive finds as a bonus.

Driving manically in a Ford E-150 van isn’t as difficult as one might think.  Worried about not reaching Sun Studio (where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and many others were first recorded) prior to its late afternoon closing, we squeaked through just in time.  Seeing these parked on the street was sensory overload mixed with pangs of frustration as there simply wasn’t time to take pictures–or so I thought.  It was soon evident the car gods were smiling upon me as the members of the Western Tennessee and Kentucky Road Rally were already getting a special tour, causing ours to be postponed for five minutes.  Realizing this, I tore out the door to grab some pictures.

Hang onto your hat, this could be a fast ride!


Going in no particular order, let’s start with this ’66 Thunderbird, also seen at the top of the page.  The ’64 and ’65 Thunderbird’s are a favorite of mine, but I have simply never been able to find as much fondness for this roof treatment thrust upon so many of the ’66 models.  The color is great, but the roof treatment kills the deal, much like finding half a worm after biting into an apple.

1966 Ford Thunderbird Ad-01

Here’s a profile shot from a vintage ad to better illustrate the roof line.  It possesses a funereal vibe.


Moving on, we find a 1976 or 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme.  Does any car embody the 1970s as well as this Oldsmobile?  Is any car more definitive of the 1950s for non-car people than the ’57 Chevrolet parked behind it?  And does anything ruin a car as much as the Continental kit on the ’55 Chevrolet sitting in front?  There is a soliloquy to this generation Olds Cutlass Supreme here and here.

What do I spy behind the Oldsmobile?  Is it a ’59 Pontiac?


No, it’s a matched pair of ’59 Pontiacs.  The only obvious difference is the width of the stripe on the tires.


These are very long cars, as I had to crop a lot of sidewalk out of this profile shot.  There is no shortage of fins and chrome on these two.


For you Mopar fanatics, this 1963 Plymouth (CC here) is the first of two pretty pentastars.  This is what the 1962 Plymouth should have looked like.  In fact, this Plymouth is so nice…


…even Elvis is about three seconds away from drooling over it.  To get such a reaction from an avowed Cadillac man, the boys at Highland Park were certainly doing something right.


Not all the cars were American, as this Tatra demonstrates.  If it looks familiar, I did a full CC on it here.


To keep the Tatra from feeling lonely, this second generation Corvair was another air-cooled, rear-engined cruiser on hand to keep it company.  This Chevy was nice enough to make a rear-drive, V8 fan such as myself take pause and ponder the possibilities.  However, some in-depth first hand experience can be found here.


Had time not been such a constraint, and had I not been so distracted by the Tatra, I would have taken more pictures of this Buick Regal T-Type and waxed poetic about it with a full CC.  My suspicion is this Buick is a 1985 model; please speak up if this wrong.

This Buick stands in stark contrast to the 1969 Dodge Dart next to it.


The Darts intended for throttle junkies followed a proven formula of planting a potent V8 in a small body.  The Buick Regal T-Type broke new ground, showing that a turbocharged 3.8 liter V6 could be a formidable power plant and how a V8 with a bunch of cubic inches wasn’t necessary to make copious amounts of power.  While this statement may be bold, I will submit this Buick was one of the most transformative and influential cars of the 1980s.  As proof, consider the direction Ford has taken with its EcoBoost line of engines.  Sure, maybe it is thirty years later, but it also took a while for disc brakes and overhead cam engines to become mainstream in North America.  It is also interesting to notice the similarities in size between the two cars.


Going back to before the time Elvis became popular, this 1954 Oldsmobile was parked nearest the door to the studio.  For some odd reason, I suspect the Continental kit and wheel skirts are newer than the rest of the car.  At least they aren’t permanent warts.

1954 Oldsmobile-13

Here is a look at an unadulterated version.


Lastly, let’s go back to the pre-World War II era with this 1940 Buick.  When my father purchased a pickup in 1985, there was a 1939 Buick sitting in the showroom.  This ’40 sure reminds me of that and maybe this childhood experience explains my infatuation with, and admiration of, the immediate prewar cars.  They all possess a certain charm, ambiance, and charisma that simply cannot be escaped and has yet to be duplicated.

1940 Buick-08-09

Let’s enjoy a vintage look at this Buick.

1940 Buick-08-09 - Version 2

Yes, the backseat truly is that roomy!


Finding these, a person really might want to venture out more often.