Thursday, October 28, 2010

Hot rods on Halloween. Kansas City car shows, cruises, races, and events for October 29, 30, 31

The days are getting shorter, and so is the weekly list of car events around Kansas City.

This is Halloween weekend, and nothing makes the heart skip a beat like a drag race at KCIR. Or for a real scare, hang out after the sun goes down at one of the local cruise nights. Maybe you just want to catch the Independence Halloween parade. Or get ready for some white-knuckled action as NASCAR heads to Talladega Superspeedway.

As usual, I encourage you to call or check ahead before you head out to most of these events. As the weather gets cold, and the daylight gets scarce, these late-season shindigs have a tendency to get cancelled. But even at that, there are still several fun things for car aficionados to do or see around KC this weekend. Check out the calendar of events below.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Bob McDorman auction will be completely awesome, but completely sad at the same time


“Bunkie” Knudson's Harley Earl-built,
one-off '63 Corvette Roadster.
Photo: Mecum Auctions
 As a sentimentalist and a collector, I always feel a bit of sadness when I hear that the nation’s great car collections are pieced out and sold at auction. And for Chevrolet fans, one of the most significant collections was assembled by Ohio Chevy dealer Bob McDorman. His amazing group of cars will be sold by Mecum Auctions at his Canal Winchester dealership on November 6.

McDorman is well-known for owning one example of every year Corvette ever produced. And many of those are exceptionally significant cars. Twelve of those Corvettes have serial number 1. Some of them are special-order, GM-built, one-offs, like Bunkie Knudsen's 1963 Sting Ray, and his wife Florence’s specially modified “Pink Pearl” car. These cars are ridiculously awesome, with all kinds of Bill Mitchell design touches inside and out.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Back to the Future comes back to the present. Includes a look at the DeLorean DMC-12

“You built a time machine … out of a DeLorean?”

If you were around in the 1980s, you probably remember that line spoken by Michael J. Fox in the 1985 Steven Spielberg-produced time travel adventure Back to the Future. It has been a long time since anyone has been able to hear that said on the big screen, however. But thanks to the film’s 25th anniversary, Back to the Future is back in the present, as the film was re-released for two showings in selected cities.

We had a chance to catch the re-release at Barrywoods 24 at I-29 and Barry Road, and in spite of the somewhat outdated ‘80s feel, the film still holds up well today.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Doesn't everyone put their truck in a costume for Halloween?

Halloween brings out all kinds of crazy homemade costumes—and sometimes they aren’t even on people! Take Saturday night during the “Trunk or Treat” event at St. Therese church in Parkville, Mo. In addition to the usual collection of ghosts and ghouls trolling the parking lot for candy, people also fixed up their vehicles to scare and amuse all the kids and their parents.

Our family usually attends this event for our son to score some free Twix bars, but we also set up a candy station in the back of our ’63 Chevy C-10. Naturally, the truck needs a costume too, and what better costume for a rusty old truck than Tow Mater from the Pixar Cars movie.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Volkswagens, Fords, swap meets, and more. Kansas City car shows, races, and events for October 22, 23, 24

Yes, we’re starting to see the phrase, “last one of the year” turn up in more and more of these event listings. We’re nearing the end of October, and car events are going to start to become few-and-far-between very shortly.

But let’s not dwell on the negative! At least there are still some great events that you can hit this weekend. Whether you like Fords, Volkswagens, or something more general, there are still some fun places around Kansas City that you can go to scratch that automotive itch.

Check out the list below for the full skinny. And remember, as we get later in the season, it is a very smart idea to call ahead and make sure it’s a go before you head out to these things. Or not. Sometimes it’s worth taking the chance just for the opportunity to get to drive somewhere.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Vintage 1/24th-scale Monogram stock car model kits are fun collectables for NASCAR fans

It seems like NASCAR diecast models are everywhere today. You can get a nicely finished version of pretty much every car out there, and usually every special paint scheme. There are so many different diecasts are available, it would be virtually impossible to collect them all.

It wasn’t always that way, though. In the 1980s, if you wanted a scale model of your favorite driver, you pretty much had to build it yourself. And the most popular; and arguably best 1/24th-scale plastic model kits were made by Monogram Models.

Monogram had been building kits since the early 1950s, but the stock car business really took off with the introduction of a new NASCAR line in 1983. At the time, these kits were state-of-the art. They had features and details never before seen in race car kits. Even the construction of the chassis and the way it mated up to the body was similar to the way a real racecar was built.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Drive to Survive Car Show in Edwardsville raised money and hopes for Dorian Comeau

The biggest car show we ran across this weekend was the "Drive to Survive" benefit event in Edwardsville, Kan. This was put together for a popular owner of a performance shop, Dorian Comeau, who suffered serious injuries in a car accident last May.

Dorian was paralyzed from the neck down, and the show raised money for surgery costs, wheel chair provisions, and other necessities. It also drove home the idea of wearing your seat belt. All-in-all, pretty good reasons to hold a car show.

This was definitely a nice turnout. There were cars parked all around this industrial park area, as well as in the fields surrounding those lots. And unlike some car shows, the spectator parking, where normal cars were sent, may have been bigger than the car show.

Rock 'Em Out Car Show and Rockabilly Day brought cool cars and crazy characters to Zona Rosa

You have to admit, the weather is pretty darned stellar in Kansas City for mid-October. Normally a car show would be a miserable, cold affair right about now, but that was no such problem for the Rev 'Em Up and Rock 'Em Out Car Show and Rockabilly Day presented by Fat Fish Blue and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kansas City in the Zona Rosa shopping area.

I think this was envisioned as sort of a upscale shopping version of the Greaserama show, and there were a few gritty hot rods, girls with bright red lipstick, and guys with their jeans rolled up. There were a couple of newer cars slipped in there, like a Chevy SSR and a Plymouth Prowler. But really, what do you expect when you're a block away from an Old Navy store? I kind of like those SSRs anyway.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tallant's Body Shop open house kinda' makes a guy wish he had taken up auto painting instead of marketing

When you go to a lot of car shows around town, you start to notice patterns. And one thing that seems to be fairly consistent is that a lot of the higher-end hot rods have been built or worked on by Tallant's Auto Body in North Kansas City.

Saturday, Tallant's had an open house to show off some of their current projects, and several of their friends and folks with cars they've worked on were on hand to eat hot dogs (made in a grill that looks like a dragster, no less) and bench race.

Tallant's Body Shop is connected to KC Street Rod Parts, so they were also offering discounts and letting people check out their showroom.

When you get to the Longbranch Car Cruise too late, it's a little tough to see anything

Friday night my mom had some of her little gnome dolls that she makes featured at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, Kan., so we went down there after work to check it out. My wife drove, and just as we were about to head north toward home, I casually sprung out with, "hey, just turn down here and let's see if there are any cars at the Longbranch Cruise."

To which she shrewdly observed, "um, it's dark out, you know."

And she had a point. Fact is, at 7:15, the sun was completely gone. Pitch dark. Nothing to see here. Why does summer have to end, anyway?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Test-driving the 2011 Ford F-150 at the Michigan Proving Grounds. So what's that like?

Tuesday was a busy day. I caught a 6:00 a.m. flight to Detroit, took a two-hour car ride to the Ford Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich., drove the new engine lineup for the 2011 Ford F-150, rode back to the airport in a shuttle van, and was back in Kansas City by 9:15 p.m.

You can read about the new Ford truck in my article on the Examiner. But honestly, you can read that kind of stuff anywhere.  Here, I thought I'd tell you a little about the Ford Proving Grounds and what this type of event is like.

Get out there before the weather gets bad. Kansas City car shows, cruises, and races for October 15, 16, 17*

The list of car shows and events is starting to dwindle for this season, even though it looks like we’re going to have some really nice weather. Still, there is a nice list of things that you can go do, including a Big Brothers and Big Sisters event in Kansas City that looks pretty interesting, a toy show in Adrian, and four classes of racing at Lakeside Speedway.

So how are you going to spend your final days of the car season around Kansas City? Maybe you’ll find something that trips your trigger in the schedule of events below.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hover Motor Company author recognized on Autowriters.com

Well, you can say you knew me when.

Recently, I was invited to be the spotlight writer of the month at http://www.autowriters.com/. No doubt about it, it's only a matter of time before I am snatched up by some big automotive magazine, and whisked away to Italy to review the newest Farrari, never to do this blog again.

OK, maybe not. But it was still pretty cool to be recognized by a legitimate source for automotive journalists. Plus, some of the real players in the industry subscribe to that newsletter, so who knows what it might lead to?

Anyway, if you'd like to read a little more about me (I know, things could be better), check out the article below.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Great video of car advertisements from the '50s and '60s

You may have noticed that I tend to gravitate toward old car promotional stuff. I love the old advertisements, collectables, memorabilia, and all the stuff that surrounded old cars back when they were new. Maybe that's why I'm running out of living space--too much of that old kitsch taking over the house.

I've always loved this kind of stuff, which is probably why my college education centered around marketing and advertising. No, that's not what my career is in, but I guess I was training to manage my collection and write this blog.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Is 'gargantic' a word? Because that's how big the 2010 Basehor-Linwood Project Grad Car Show was

Last year, Basehor, Kan., was one of the coldest, most miserable places that anyone would ever want to be. And yet, the number of entries at the Basehor-Linwood High School Car Show was very large. It was easily one of the better attended car shows of the entire year.

But that great turnout didn't really prepare anyone for what would happen if it had been one of the four absolutely perfect days that seem to occur in Kansas City every fall. But as it happens, one of them fell on Saturday, and this car show exploded.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Dealer promo models - the early years. 1947 - 1953. The beginning of plastic promotional cars

1949 Oldsmobile Promo
If you have a promotional model car collection, the first question most people are going to ask you when they first see them is: “did you build all those?”

Dealer promos are among the most valuable, most sought-after scale model cars ever made. And yet, the average person has no idea what they are. Today, we’ll try to explain how promos fit into the scale model puzzle, and we’ll take a look at some early examples in the slideshow below.

Promo models were cast in pot metal for many years before our story starts. They were usually coin banks. These high-quality, durable miniatures were sold as far back as the 1920s or ‘30s, and nice originals tend to bring good money today.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Another crack at the Jayhawk, car shows, cruises, and races all over Kansas City for October 8, 9, 10

After all the car stuff that went on last weekend, you’d think we could get a break. Not so! There are more than enough high-horsepower activities in which Kansas Citians can participate this weekend.

Finally, after two unsuccessful attempts, it looks like Mother Nature is going to allow Lakeside Speedway to run the Jayhawk Modified Classic. The Basehor Project Grad Car Show is always a big deal. And several area cruise nights are being held for the final weekend of the season, including the Bass Pro Shops cruise in Independence.

And unlike most years, the weather on this second weekend in October promises to be warm and comfortable, as opposed to the usual climate that only appeals to the Polar Bear Club. Check out the entire schedule below.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Take the edge off my vote for the Internet Car and Truck of the Year

Camaro-2010 winner.  Photo: GM Media
“Where Internet Pros and the Average Joes Pick the Car and Truck of the Year”

That’s the slogan for the nationally recognized Internet Car and Truck of the Year contest, which is going on right now. And here’s something that you probably never would have guessed—I am in the “Internet Pros” category.

I know what you’re thinking, “sure, Craig, you have a nice blog, but you mostly post car show pictures and write about the Dukes of Hazzard. What do you know about picking new cars?”

Monday, October 4, 2010

R.I.P. Stephen J. Cannell. His shows live on, and so do the cars.

Tonight my wife said, "you know Stephen J. Cannell died, right?"

Of course, I knew that.  As if.  In my world, this guy built one of the most enviable careers I've ever seen. I mean, he created some of the greatest cheeseball one-hour cop and detective shows ever shown on television.  Shows that, by the way, I am still absolutely addicted to today.  This is the guy that came up with The Rockford Files, The Greatest American Hero, Hunter, and The A-Team. 

He was able to develop those awesome bits of guilty pleasure, become rich and famous, and actually have movie studios hire real actors, blow things up, coordinate car chases, and televise all this to a national audience.  Seriously, for someone like me who stresses over a measly little blog, this is amazing, fantastic, cataclysmic, otherworldly awesomeness that cannot be explained in words. 

He died of cancer last Thursday, which totally stinks.  But his TV shows live on on television and DVD. 

In keeping with the car theme of this place, I decided to talk about some of my favorite Stephen J. Cannell shows in the context of the cars that were on them.  I'll bet you remember a few of these:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

GladFest car show brought lots of happy car lovers to Happy Rock

When church lets out at 11:00 on Sunday, look out, because the Hovers are on the loose!

Today it was straight to GladFest Days in Gladstone, Mo. Craft booths for mom, carnival rides for son, and oh yeah, a big car show for dad. And we smoked through all this in enough time to go see the Challenger steam locomotive on temporary display at Union Station with my wife's dad, a retired Union Pacific man and overall train nut.

It's hard to forget the GladFest car show. A big part of that is because organizers handed out a glossy, bi-fold, color entry blank at nearly every other car show I went to this summer. I keep all those kind of flyers to use in the "Upcoming Events" features, and my folder is cram-packed with GladFest information.

Unprofessional, regular, family-style coverage of the racing at Kansas Speedway

In case you didn't know, Greg Biffle won the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Price Chopper 400 at Kansas Speedway. But Biffle wasn't the only winner in Kansas City, Kan.

Beautiful weather meant that everyone who went to the races was a winner, too. And my family and I were among the hordes of fans that spent some time watching the sensible consumption of high-octane fuel this weekend.

Overall, we had an incredible busy weekend, so getting to Kansas Speedway wasn't really in the cards. But as luck would have it, BHo's school was closed on Friday, so we were able to take in a day of practice and qualifying at Kansas City's racing showplace.