The Greater Kansas City Auto Show is taking place in going on in Bartle Hall this weekend. Naturally, I plan to be there to check out all the latest and greatest. But to get ready, I thought we’d take a look back at my top ten favorite new cars that I had the opportunity to test drive over the past year or two. I’ve been very fortunate with this blog, because without it, I never would have had the chance to drive a new Cadillac for a week, for example. As someone who really loves cars, I cannot understate how awesome I think this has been for me. Just rereading the stories makes me happy. I hope they make you happy too.
In 1981, my mom had a ’76 Vega Kammback. I distinctly remember the night during a particularly cold, Omaha winter, when she wanted to come home from her job at Norman’s Shoe Store and the orange wagon wouldn’t start. Dad and I went out to rescue her, and between the bitter cold wind, darkness, and rage-filled swearing coming out of my dad, I learned to hate the Vega. At eight years-old, I didn’t know about the car’s reputation, or the recalls, or the safety concerns. I just knew that the air conditioner wouldn’t cool off in the summer, and it wouldn’t start in the winter. Of course, now that I’m older, I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for the Vega. They were great-looking little cars. They were actually pretty innovative. And everyone seemed to have one. That’s why today we’ll take a look back at “the little car that does everything well.”
Valentine’s Day was last Friday, and Kansas City car folks had a lot to love when the 54th-Annual World of Wheels rolled into Bartle Hall over the weekend. Around here, this is the first big car show of the year, and it was just what the doctor prescribed for cabin fever. From a live appearance by Richard and Kyle Petty, to a top chop by old time customizer Gene Winfield, to hundreds of cars and motorcycles of all kinds, this was the place to be in K.C. As you may have guessed, I had my camera with me. Let’s check out some of the fun stuff that made the show.
As you may have guessed from the high-octane TV commercials lately, there was a Monster Jam event in Kansas City’s Sprint Center over the weekend. They’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’re only gonna’ need the edge. It was pretty exciting stuff in the ad. And for like the 25th year in-a-row, I witnessed the February mayhem. I actually had a pretty fun time, although there are some things about it that make me wonder why. This might not be the best show in the country, and the ticket prices are flat-out ridiculous, but I’ve been waiting all winter to hear racing engines and suck up some carbon monoxide. Let’s check out some of the stuff that was going on Friday night in downtown KC.
That’s it. I am tired of winter. You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing as much lately. That’s because there just aren’t that many car events to go to right now. This snow needs to melt, and the grass needs to start growing again. And speaking of grass, let’s green things up around here a little. I’ve got spring on the brain, so I decided to look at some green cars from various car shows around town. I have shared a green album before, but this is new version, with some 150 more pictures. I’m hoping that this will help everyone get in the mood for spring. Because even though it doesn’t seem like it now, car show season is just around the corner.
If you have ever tried to slog through one of my slideshows, you are well aware that I am not much of a photographer. Oh, I take a lot of pictures, but plenty of them are blurry, crooked, or downright irritating. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I’m no Ansel Adams. Still, I have discovered that if I take enough pictures, one out of every 5,000 might accidentally be tolerable. That’s where we get to today’s story. Sometimes when I’m looking through my pictures, I might see one that makes me think, “hey, that’s kinda cool.” Usually it involves me squatting down or focusing in on something without shaking the camera all over the place. With that in mind, I created a photo album that consists only of pictures that I think are interesting.
If you’re into vintage car collectables, the Internet is a blessing and a curse. On the plus side, someone will eventually offer anything you could possibly want up for sale no matter how rare it is. But the likelihood that you’ll stumble upon a bargain is pretty remote. And it really takes away from the fun of scrounging around to find that hidden treasure. That’s why sometimes you need to get offline and check out the real world. We did that last weekend when we stopped at the huge Mid-America Flea Market at the Kansas Coliseum and the Paramount Antique Mall in Wichita, Kan. I found hundreds of interesting car models, toys, parts, and more.
They don’t make ‘em like they used to. You hear people say that all the time when it comes to the current state of new cars. And for the most part, that’s probably true. There aren’t many places that you can buy a large, V8, rear-wheel-drive car anymore that can devour highway miles like they did 20-30 years ago. But I can tell you from firsthand experience that there is at least one place—your Chrysler dealer. I just spent a week driving a loaded 2014 Chrysler 300S, and it combines everything you loved about those old cars with all the new features people expect and crave.