My 13-year-old son hated trudging through flea markets and antique malls. Unfortunately for him, his mother and I enjoy going to places like that. A couple years back, someone gave the kid a Custom Barracuda Hot Wheels car at a garage sale. The Barracuda was one of the original 16 redline castings introduced in 1968. He did a little research, and found out how collectible a Hot Wheels redline can be. Now, our junking excursions are a little more tolerable for him. If we run across an interesting car that doesn’t cost a fortune (usually 12-bucks or less), we’ll grab it for him. You can be sure that he pays a lot more attention to what he’s looking at. The residual effect is that he’s amassed a nice little collection of Hot Wheels redline beaters. Last weekend, he helped me stage some photos of the cars in his collection so I could put a story together. These things are always more fun with an assistant.
Swap meets. I do enjoy them. They’re like the flea market, which I also like, but without all the antique furniture and vintage Christmas decorations. Nothing but the car stuff. Heaven. I’ve been to hundreds of automotive swap meets over the years, and although I don’t tend to buy all that much, there is that occasional treasure I can’t live without. But more than that, it’s just fun to walk around and look at everything. The Stones River Region AACA held their annual swap meet at the Tennessee Fairgrounds last Sunday, and of course, I was there. And thanks to the power of the Internet, you get to go there too.
I don’t know about you, but when I get through the Christmas holiday season, I’m ready to go do some car stuff. In Nashville in mid-January, that means the Nashville Auto Fest. 2017 marked the 26th year for this indoor car show and swap meet, and as always, it was nice to see some shiny cars under the florescent lights at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. These things had been squirreled away in peoples’ garages all winter, and they needed to be aired-out. There was a little something for everybody, so without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the standouts.
A new president takes office this week in our nation’s capital. And it so happens that we were recently in Washington, D.C., so I’m using this as a tie-in for a car-related story. The Smithsonian’s Museum of Transportation is usually included on lists of car museums, so naturally we had to go here. Truth be told, there weren’t many cars to look at, though. Cars are presented as appliances here. They have a collection of cool cars hidden in their catacombs, but they aren’t available for public viewing. Really, all of Washington, D.C. comes across as anti-car culture. The streets are jammed with hideous red and silver taxicabs, police cars, and black SUVs. Personal cars are typically rough, beat-up hoopties that reflect the harsh traffic and parking issues that clog the streets. I snapped a few pictures, though, and there are a few interesting things if you squint hard enough.
Tennessee’s first snow of the season took place this week, which means it’s time for the 6th-Annual Tennessee Motorama. This indoor winter car show moved from its original home in Murfreesboro to the new the Wilson County Expo Center in Lebanon. And although the salty, snowy roads kept a few show cars away, there were still several vendors there selling a nice variety of automobilia. It might not have been the biggest turnout based on the circumstances, but it was still worth the short trip north of Nashville. I know I’ve been getting a little stir-crazy for a local car show.
If you were reading an article about an auto show that took place in 1969, complete with photo slideshow, you would think that was pretty cool, right? That’s why I keep covering the local new car show. Someday, someone is going to look back on this, and they’re going to love it. In the context of today, the Nashville International Auto Show is fairly weak. Several key manufacturers didn’t even bother to participate. There were no concept cars. The most interesting display was the “DuPont Registry Live” exotic car collection, and you had to subscribe to a $45 magazine to get close to it. Sure, there were some cars there that any red-blooded enthusiast would like to have, but come back to this in 50 years and you’ll really appreciate it.
I’ve lived in Old Hickory, Tenn., for more than two years, but I’ve never been to a car show that actually took place in Old Hickory. That all changed last Saturday when we took the truck over to the Old Hickory Fellowship Car Show. This was a nice little church fundraiser that attracted a quality group of cars and trucks in a grass field next to the Dairy Queen. It was a pretty low pressure event, and they gave out some door prizes along the way. Hanging out with car folks on a nice day and watching the traffic sail by isn’t a terrible way to spend and afternoon. Being able to check out some nice rides doesn’t hurt either.
One of the best promoted car shows of the year took place last weekend in Carthage, Tenn., with the 5th installment of the Horsepower by the River Car Show and Swap Meet at the Smith County Ag Center. I swear, those little hero cards that promote this show start showing up the day after the thing is over, and I somehow accumulate 20 of them before the end of the season. The marketing mastermind behind this event is Shawn Cook, a regular participant at swap meets and car shows all over Nashville with his Music City Speed and Nostalgia tent. Shawn was able to break an attendance record this year, drawing in nearly 300 cars and trucks. And of course, when you get that many, you know there are going to be some nice ones. Let’s check out a few of the standouts.