As you know, we’re big fans of the Fontanel Mansion Concert Cruise around here. For the June edition, my wife actually encouraged some non-car people to meet us out there. None of them strolled into the car show area even for a minute, but that’s the beauty of the Fontanel. You can go out there and enjoy the lush scenery, eat a nice dinner, and enjoy some quality music. Now for me personally, the car show is still the main attraction. I like the scenery and all, but cars are where it’s at. So I ditched the company for a while and perused the show field. As usual, there were plenty of nice rides to keep my attention. Let’s take a look at a few.
Nashville might not be the first place that comes to mind when you’re thinking about fine Italian automobiles, but that’s just what’s on display in the Frist Center for the Visual Arts during their current exhibit, “Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945–1975”. This is an art museum, so the cars are presented as art. That makes sense, because most of these coachbuilt automobiles have transcended the term “vehicles” and moved right into the “works of art” category. There are 19 cars and two motorcycles on display, and each one is among the most valuable and exclusive cars in the world. This ain’t your normal Friday night car cruise.
I was watching the Memphis news Wednesday morning when I heard about a food truck event at the Memphis Botanic Garden, and they mentioned that there would be a car show. That sounded like a good reason to eat a grilled cheese sandwich out of a Step Van. The “car show” turned out to be a display put together by Art & Speed, a classic car gallery in Collierville. I’m glad I saw them there, because it prompted me to go visit their showroom the next day. This is a really nice place with a great selection of cars. I mean it—seriously impressive. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.
We’ve always been big fans of the Fontanel Cruise. With lots of great scenery, quality restaurants, and live music, it’s just a nice place to be. For 2016, they have changed the schedule to make it once-a-month, and they moved things one parking lot over. We made it out to the first cruise of the season, and as usual, there was a nice selection of classic cars and trucks to keep everyone interested. We even drug the old HMC truck out for this one. I’m surprised more Nashville folks don’t make it out to this event, because the setting is easily more pleasant than a busy parking lot behind some shopping mall.
Friday night means cruise night in Hendersonville, so we made the trip to the Regal Cinema to see what we could see. The worst part about this event is battling the Friday night traffic to get there, but once you’re in, it all seems worth it. They easily had 200 cars lined up out there. We even managed to enjoy a nice dinner and a movie. It’s like a single stop for everything that you want or need. Of course, out of everything out there, what I want and need the most are cars. It wasn’t hard picking a few to write about. The only hard part was trying to decide which ones not to feature.
Of all the car shows I go to, few match the quality and quantity of a Goodguys event. That was true again with the 11th running of the Goodguys Nashville Nationals, which is held in the parking lots surrounding the Tennessee Titans Stadium. There were easily 2,000 cars out there on Saturday, plus a pretty good swap meet, plus perfect weather. I’m not sure how you can beat a deal like this. I know one thing; I definitely got my exercise while I was out there taking pictures. But it was worth it to get an up-close view of all these beautiful rides.
The Redneck Rumble has attracted rat rods, hot rods, and classics to the Wilson County Fairgrounds in Lebanon, Tenn., for years. The fall edition proved to be so popular that they added a spring version in 2015. The second-annual spring gathering was Friday and Saturday, and despite it being Mother’s Day weekend, it was still a strong showing. As the title indicates, some of the entries were decidedly “redneck,” (since when did saw blades become an accepted substitute for fender replacements?!), but there were still some special rides throughout the show grounds. I caravanned out with members of the Tennessee chapter of the C-10 Truck Club, so the old HMC beater was right at home at this event.
If you’re a fan of Blues music, historic Beale Street in Memphis is your mecca. Immortalized in film and song, all the great musicians have performed right here. I’ve been to some car cruises in interesting places, but rarely do they occur in a place with such history and notoriety. This is more than just a car cruise--it’s a party. Wherever you go, from one end to the other, you are never out of clear earshot of someone playing the Blues with a proficiency that only comes from honing their craft right here. Combine that with some of the best restaurants in the south, and you have the makings of a very special night.