If you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you know there are a lot of car shows out there. But where do people get all those cars? Certainly, some people inherit them, build them, find them in barns. But not everyone wants to go through all the hassle. For them, places like Streetside Classic Cars exist. You can drive right up to La Vergne, Tenn., walk into an air-conditioned showroom, and take your pick from hundreds of detailed, show-ready classics. The thing that got me about this place was how nice most of the vehicles actually were. Whoever they’ve got out there buying these things must know what they’re doing. Of course, I went there and poked around the other day. Let’s check out some of the standouts.
When I decided to run over and snap a few quick pictures of the 29th-Annual Oktoberfest Car Show after church last Sunday, I had no idea what I was getting into. It looked like hundreds of cars lined up on the shady front lawn of the Wilson County Bank corporate headquarters. Once I got through those, I looked across the street and realized there was an even bigger lot full of vehicles to tackle. Then, when I was nearing the end of that area, I noticed yet another lot full of cars down the street. In all, there were easily 500 cars in three different areas. This show is no joke. The selection of cars was pretty serious too. If you couldn’t find something to like at this show, you just don’t like cars.
Goodguys Rod and Custom shows are usually flashy, highly polished events held at beautiful, state-of-the-art facilities. The Nostalgia Nationals held at Beech Bend Park in Bowling Green, Ky., is different. Beech Bend has more character than any of these new places. An amusement park was built here in the 1940s, and still operates today. The drag strip and circle track were added in the ‘50s. The drag strip in particular is like going back in time. At this event, they were running vintage slingshot dragsters, gassers, and even nitro floppers. You sit in ancient, well-worn grandstands. You can just feel the history here. And speaking of history, let’s take a look at some of the historic vehicles that packed the show field.
I decided to try something different this year at the Fall Redneck Rumble in Lebanon, Tenn. Instead of just parking my truck out there, I loaded it up with junk to sell at the swap meet. It was fun … for a while. I moved a little stuff. I talked to all kinds of people about the truck, my merchandise, and anything else that came to mind. I really did enjoy it. But then, around lunchtime, the rain started pouring down in buckets, just as the weatherman had predicted. I closed up shop and set out to take pictures. Unfortunately, many of the show cars I saw when I came in had already left because of the weather. There were still enough out there to make a good story, though. Some of those rat rod guys aren’t going to let a little water bother them!
Just on a whim, BHo and I decided to take a Saturday swing by the 35th-Annual Bowen Campbell Auto Expo at Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville. And I’ve got to tell you, this was one of the best car shows I’ve been to in a long time. I mean, I really liked this one. They had 39 classes of cars, but they pretty much all had one thing in common. They were nice. Sometimes when there are this many cars in one place, you’re going to wind up with a bunch of stinkers. Not here. The only real complaint is that it turned out to be a little more hot and humid than I think most people were expecting. But that’s a small price to pay to see a show like this.
Here’s the basic recipe for building a typical modern street rod. Take a pre-1949 car. Under the hood you’ll have an aluminum radiator, electric fan, fuel-injected Chevy crate engine, Vintage Air compressor, modern master cylinder, and an Optima battery. This will all be sitting on a sub-frame with modern suspension components, power disc brakes, and a set of aluminum-finish American Racing Torque Thrust wheels or something similar. Inside, look for a modern seat recovered in tweed or leather, molded door panels, new gauges in a billet aluminum bezel, an aftermarket steering wheel, modern stereo, and an automatic transmission shifter coming out of the floor. Outside, expect to see shiny paint, less chrome, some kind of painted or air brushed graphics, Halogen headlights, and LED taillights. Why is this combination of components so popular? It’s the same reason there were 3,500 (!) of them at the 42nd-annual Frog Follies Car Show in Evansville, Indiana. They’re enjoyable, they’re reliable, and they allow you to ride in new-car-comfort with old-car-style.
Former president Jimmy Carter was spotted on Tuesday night checking out all the great rides at Hot Rods on Beale Street. That’s the power of staging a car cruise on one of the most iconic streets in America--you never know who might show up. And why wouldn’t they? This is one of the most exciting, highly charged car events I’ve ever been to. It’s more like a big street party. Sure, the cars are great, but it’s the food, the music, and the people that make this one special. That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the cars, though. As usual, I snapped and bunch of pictures and have a few opinions on several of my favorites.
It’s county fair season, and folks around Nashville know that the Wilson County Fair is one of the biggest around. Even better, the AACA holds a big car show at the Wilson County Fair each year, so that makes it a must-attend event as far as I’m concerned. Attendance was down this year because it rained quite a bit in the morning, but the muddy conditions moved the show from the grassy field to the pavement surrounding the buildings. This turned out to be a pretty popular move, and it put the car show front-and-center among fair attendees. These AACA shows always draw a high-quality selection of show vehicles, and this event was no different. Let’s take a look at a few of the standouts.