Saturday, December 31, 2011

The top ten car stories of 2011 on Hover Motor Co.

2011 was a pretty good year for our little blog. I wrote 196 stories, and we picked up hundreds of thousands of page views. While the majority of the readers here are predictably from Kansas and Missouri, we had hundreds, usually thousands, of readers from all 50 states, and several more from countries all around the world.

It's easy to forget just how many people actually have access to this place. They don't call it the World Wide Web for nothin'!

Naturally, some stories did better than others. For example, I have a real passion for model car stories, so I spend a great deal of time setting up pictures and making fancy slideshows for them. But in spite of all the effort, they rarely get much reaction from readers. I like them, though, and since I'm the one writing all the stories, I'll probably continue to do them as long as I keep the lights on here.

So what did people like to read? I've compiled a list of the top ten stories as measured by page views on Hover Motor Company in 2011. Links are provided as well, just in case you want to relive them. Results are taken from the Google Analytics for this site, and span from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011. There are a couple of stories in there that were written in 2010, but they continued to generate enough page views to make it on the list. So, without further adieu, here are the top stories of 2011 ...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The car that started it all (at least for me). History of the Chevrolet Corvair

Finally—a story that my mom can appreciate!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on the history of the Volkswagen Beetle. What you may not realize is that Chevrolet built a car to compete head-to-head with the popular German compact. And while you might not think about it in the same way as the Beetle, Chevrolet’s Corvair was one of the most innovative, advanced cars of its time.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Car show pictures that actually turned out sort of OK

I was recently reading an article about the legendary Peterson Publishing photographer Eric Rickman in an issue of Hot Rod Deluxe. It talked about how he had to be somewhat selective when he clicked the shutter, because it was obviously not as easy or cheap to take as many photos as you wanted back in the days before digital cameras.

Of course now, when I go to a car show, I can take 1,000 pictures at a time if I want with no penalty whatsoever. And that’s a good thing, because admittedly, I am not a very good photographer. Virtually every picture I take on here was captured by my little, red Sony Cyber-Shot point-and shoot. None of them are going to win any contests. Some of them are just flat-out blurry.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Red light. Auction brings an end to KCIR's 44-year history

The hot rodding hobby is a respected facet of American culture, but it wasn’t always that way. If you read articles, or even watch movies from the 1940s through the early ‘50s, anyone who owned a fast car was depicted as a hooligan set on destroying all that was good and pure in the world. Legend has it, these scofflaws were racing through city streets in unsafe, cobbled together death heaps, mowing down innocent people, and destroying the lives of every teenage boy and their unlucky girlfriends who were along for the ride.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

BHo's greatest hits

It’s a special day for a special member of the Hover Motor Company blog. As regular readers may know, my son BHo regularly attends car events with me, and often contributes photos for the stories. We are celebrating his eighth birthday, and I wanted to brag on him for a minute.

BHo’s birthday is obviously close to Christmas, so the influx of presents can be pretty overwhelming. We had a birthday party for him two years ago, and my wife suggested that he ask his friends for canned goods and food instead of gifts. He then donated the food to the St. Vincent De Paul Food Pantry at our church, and we let him go to the store and pick out one present for himself. He collected 140 food items from his friends and family that year.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Beetles and Busses. The story behind Volkswagen's air-cooled icons

The unmistakable smells of ether and gasoline fill the air. A turn of the key. A crank of a wrench. Another turn of the key; then a sputter. Followed by silence. Once more—a plume of smoke, and that distinct, air-cooled rasp wheezes to life. And if the driver is lucky enough to get out of his parking space without the engine dying again, the reward is a white-knuckled drive at a maximum speed of 42-mph.

Such is the life of a vintage VW owner. And you know what? They love every bit of it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

2011 Mecum Muscle Cars and More Grand Finale. Part 2: and More

Last month, I went to the SEMA show. Now as you probably know, that is one of the biggest gear head gatherings in the world, as nearly 2,000 wild automotive creations converge on Sin City.

That being said, car-for-car, I actually enjoyed looking at the selection in Bartle Hall over the weekend better than the cars at SEMA. The annual Mecum Muscle Cars and More Grand Finale took place in Kansas City this weekend, and some 750 vehicles packed into the big climate-controlled convention center downtown.

2011 Mecum Muscle Cars and More Grand Finale. Part 1: Muscle Cars

For old car fans, December can be a bleak time in Kansas City. The car shows are over. The race tracks are silent. The weather is starting to become cruising-prohibitive. The party, as they say, is over.

But then, Mecum Auctions brings in their annual Grand Finale event, and suddenly things aren't that bad after all.

Monday, November 28, 2011

1963-1968 Dealer promo model cars are like 1/25th-scale memories

I think dealer promotional models are fascinating little bits of automotive memorabilia. Most people can’t just go buy every old car they ever wanted, but many of those cars were rendered in bright, colored plastic, in the just perfect size to fit in your hand.

Dealer promotional models, or “promos,” as people like to call them, aren’t typically made for new cars these days. But 30-50 years ago, they were pretty popular. People anticipated the arrival of the newest models, and going to the dealership was considered an event. So while dads drooled over the latest creations from Detroit, his son was often treated to a highly detailed 1/25th-scale version of the actual car.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quality over quantity at Wagner's Classic Cars in Bonner Springs

We're only about a month past car show season, and I'm already getting a little stir-crazy. I know there are cars out there, but they're hiding in peoples' garages. This must be why people are willing to pay ten-times our cost of living to be in places like Los Angeles: car shows all year long!

Of course. there are still cars around Kansas City to see, you just have to know where to look. One of the nicer places to check out is Wagner's Classic Car Sales in Bonner Springs, Kan. Wagner's has a neat little showroom that is usually stocked with high-quality collectibles. It's a great place to go window shop on a cold, fall day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We step down for some Hudson history, and check out the Big Country Hudson Meet photos from Kansas City

If you have a kid between the ages of three and ten, or if you are a kid between the ages of three and ten, you know a little about Hudson automobiles. Because when we learn that Doc Hudson (voiced by Paul Newman) was an exceptional 1950s race car in the 2006 animated movie Cars, we are actually getting a bit of a history lesson.

Hudson, the real, non-animated car company, actually did win the NASCAR manufacturer’s championship in 1952, 1953, and 1954, and they certainly would have won it in 1951, but the award hadn’t been created yet. Between 1952 and 1954, Hudson won 66 of the 108 NASCAR races held. That’s an amazing record, especially when you consider how stout the new Oldsmobile “Rocket” V8’s and venerable Ford flathead V8’s were at the time.

Friday, November 18, 2011

NAFA Fleet Ride and Drive offers insight into the cars you see everyday

When you think of exciting cars, things like hot rods, sports cars, and performance sedans may come to mind. The idea of Fleet vehicles certainly doesn’t stir the soul. Rental cars, cargo vans, and police cars typically aren’t the stuff that dreams are made of.

On the other hand, I really like to learn about all types of cars. Sure, old Chevelles and Corvettes are great, but time never stands still, and there’s a whole world of new stuff out there. That’s why I always look forward to attending the annual National Fleet Management Association (NAFA) Mid-America Chapter Ride and Drive, which was recently held at the Ameristar Casino in Kansas City.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cadillac introduces the 2013 XTS, as we look back at the history of the Cadillac DeVille

Last year, I had the opportunity to watch the unveiling of the beautiful new Cadillac XTS Concept Car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This week, Cadillac introduced the production version of the XTS at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

The new 2013 XTS is meant to be Cadillac’s new flagship, filling the void left when the STS and the DTS were discontinued. And, since the STS was a rear-wheel-drive, and the DTS was a front-wheel-drive, everyone can be happy because the new XTS is an all-wheel-drive.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Taking inventory of Hover Motor Company, 1942

Today I thought I’d take some time to talk about something that every visitor to this site has seen, but most of them probably haven’t thought much about.

During World War II, new cars were hard to get. In fact, toward the end of 1942, U.S. automakers quit building new cars for the general public, and converted their factories primarily to the production of war materiel. Basically no civilian cars were built between 1943 and 1945. That is a long dry spell.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Know your Airflow. How one of the best cars of its day was also one of the biggest failures

If you want to talk about cars that were ahead of their time, the Art-Deco lines of Chrysler’s Airflow need to be at the top of your list.

To fully appreciate the story of the Airflow, you need to put it into context. Airflows were built between 1934 and 1937. As you look at the Airflow pictures on this page, think about what a ’34 Chevy or Ford looked like. Heck, look at the first two cars on the left on my granddad’s car lot in the header and you’ll see a ’39 Pontiac and a ’37 Plymouth. That’s pretty much how all cars looked back then. So the swoopy Airflow was a tremendous departure from what people were used to.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Several nice cars hiding in the darkness at the Basehor Boys Friday Night Sonic Car Cruise

One thing that I think everyone could agree about during the final Basehor Boys Friday night cruise of the season was that it was dark. Oh, there were cars there, but if you showed up after 6:30 like I did, you couldn't see them.  Curse you, Daylight Savings Time!

Of course, that didn't stop me from taking some pictures. I literally lined up the shot where I thought the car would be, hit the button, and "discovered" the car when the flash went off. Most of the time I didn't even know what color the car was before that point.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Someone killed the messenger. So long, Mercury

2011 was a rough year for a number of iconic automotive brands. Some of them aren’t a huge loss from a historic standpoint, i.e., Saturn and Hummer, but a couple of them will truly be missed. Particularly, I’m talking about Pontiac, and the subject of this article, Mercury.

From luxury and performance cars, to auto racing, to legendary customs, the Mercury brand has been a significant part of the American automotive landscape.  In mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods.  Here, we take a look back at the history of Mercury, and the end of the once popular nameplate.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Inside The Auto Collections at the Imperial Palace

Last week, I had the chance to go to the SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Now, most normal people would take this as an opportunity to check out an epic entertainment show, or take their chances in one of the casinos. I, however, am not a normal person. I'm not much of a partier, I hate losing money, and smoky casinos give me a headache.

I love cars, though. And in addition to the largest automotive aftermarket trade show, Vegas is the home of a well-known auto museum. Once we had seen all there was to see at SEMA, we headed down the Strip to the Imperial Palace, and the famous 125,000 sq-ft showroom known as The Auto Collections.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Las Vegas was the center of the automotive universe during the 2011 SEMA Show

The SEMA Show. What a circus.

For one week, every company, every person, every eye of everybody who is anybody in the automotive world is focused squarely on the annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show in Las Vegas. This event is like no other—bigger, crazier, more popular. The sheer size of the facility they hold it in boggles the mind, and it is so full that it spills outside.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Hearses, orange & black cars, and other scary things. Happy Halloween!

For car enthusiasts in the Midwest, Halloween is a scary time of year. This is the weekend where you begin to realize that you won’t be driving your pride and joy much longer, lest you expose it to the evil effects of snow and road salt.

Speaking of scary cars, I would hate to throw a story out here without a little automotive history, so here we go. The first motorized hearses appeared in the U.S. in about 1909, although horse-drawn carriages were still preferred.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The sun (literally) sets on the Longbranch TGIF Cruise in Overland Park

One of the latest-running car cruises of the season in the Kansas City area is no more. Amid the harsh setting fall sun, the Longbranch Saloon TGIF Cruise in Overland Park held their last event of the year Friday night.

This final cruise was sort of a melancholy affair. For most of the year, they tend to get a huge turnout at this event. For this last one, however, the car count was quite light. If it hadn't been for the Corvette guys, there barely would have been any cars here at all.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nice little car show at a nice big hardware store. The story from the Nuts and Bolts True Value in Bonner Springs

Sometimes people like to compare the size of their local hardware store to Wal-Mart. Well, the Nuts and Bolts True Value store in Bonner Springs does them one better. It actually was a Wal-Mart. And to draw more interest to the new 28,000-sq/ft facility, Nuts and Bolts held a car show over the weekend in their expansive parking lot.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Great movie car chases are almost exactly like real life

So yesterday I was wanted by the police for a murder that I didn’t commit. Unfortunately, they had enough so-called evidence to lock me up and throw away the key. The only way I was going to get out from under this was to catch the real killer. I broke out of jail by piling pillows under my covers, then I jumped out from behind the sink when they came into my cell to investigate. I then broke my truck out of the impound yard, and went to work.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV history and test drive review

This week, I had the opportunity to drive Chevrolet’s newest and hottest performance sedan on public streets. Yes, it is cool. No, it is not available in stores. What is this forbidden vehicle that is setting the GM message boards ablaze? I’ll give you a hint--it’s a name you know.

After a 15-year hiatus, Chevrolet is finally bringing the Caprice back to the U.S. lineup. Right now, the plan is to make it available as a police fleet vehicle only for 2011-2012, but there is a decent chance that we could see it in civilian hands eventually. Let’s take a look at the Caprice in a little more depth.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011 Everything on Wheels car show was the biggest indoor car show in Kansas City all weekend

The Everything on Wheels indoor car show at the Metropolitan Community College Event Center was definitely different. It was billed as "Kansas City's Premiere Indoor Car, Truck, and Motorcycle Show," and I'd say compared to all the other indoor car shows in Kansas City this past weekend, they were spot-on.

OK, so the people that promote the World of Wheels in February don't have anything to worry about. There were, oh, 100 cars on display. Many of them were from the school of gargantic, shiny wheels or the lowrider world. There were also several late-model cars and trucks with modifications purchased in the bling aisle of the local Auto Zone.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Riverside Red-X Cruise benefits from exceptional staff. Too bad this is the last one of the season

Friday night, we went someplace that we hadn't been all year. The Riverside Red X Cruise is held every second Friday night throughout the summer, but for one reason or another, I always manage to find something else to do.

I kind of feel bad about that now, because the people that are responsible for putting this together really work hard at it. They have a D.J., loads of great door prizes, and dash magnets. We were met by someone as soon as we drove up who handed us prize drawing tickets, and within 30 minutes, three of them were called as winners. When everything was over, they gave me an event T-shirt. They had coal fires set up to roast free hot dogs and s'mores. It was one of the most congenial car cruise staffs I've ever seen.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A relaxing day at Hotrodtoberfest

“A little get-together of all people interested in custom cars, trucks, and bikes, original muscle cars, or anything with a motor.”

That was printed on the glossy, color promotional card for the 2011 Hotrodtoberfest, held in the White Oak Commercial Center parking lot in Gladstone over the weekend. That seems like a pretty decent description. This isn’t going to go down as one of the most epic gatherings in the history of car shows, but there were enough things around there to hold your attention.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Johnson, Keselowski, and Bowman conquer Kansas Speedway while the crowd takes a siesta

My wife tries to tell me all the time that the races at Kansas Speedway are boring. I always defend them, telling her they were a little dull when the track opened, but now that the track has some age on it, they've become really exciting.

But then, they have a weekend like this one. And suddenly, Craig is proven wrong ... once again.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Clean Trasportation Exposition in Overland Park attempts to generate interest in alternative fuel vehicles

The world ain’t what it used to be. You know, just from the time I graduated high school in 1991 to now, the U.S. population has grown by 50-million people. Folks are living longer and longer, and babies are being churned out like crazy. I know when I drive to work, or go to the store, or stand in line at the pharmacy, or do whatever else it is that I do, there are times when I just think there are too damn many people around.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

70 years of Jeep history

For a vehicle that looks like it hasn’t changed much in 40 years, The Jeep Wrangler has an awful lot of history. Of course, today the Jeep brand makes the Grand Cherokee, the Liberty, and other SUVs in addition to the Wrangler, but for the purposes of this story, we’re going to refer to the Wrangler, and all of its predecessors, simply as Jeeps. Sorry, lovers of the Commander.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Beautiful day, beautiful cars at the 2011 Gladfest Car Show

“Wow. I didn’t realize this show was this big.”

That’s usually the reaction of first-time visitors to the annual Gladfest Car Show, which is held during Gladstone, Missouri’s big Gladfest celebration each fall. The multi-day event features a parade, a carnival, musicians, vendors, and more, so it’s easy to see how a car show could get lost in the shuffle.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Perfect weather draws another huge turnout to the 2011 Basehor-Linwood Project Grad Car Show

When you think of big car shows around Kansas City, events like the World of Wheels, Goodguys, or Ol' Marais may be what come to mind. A small-town high school fundraiser usually isn't where you'd expect to see several hundred nice cars. Which is why the Basehor-Linwood High School Project Grad Car Show is such a surprise.

It certainly didn't hurt that the 2011 event was blessed with breathtakingly perfect weather. I don't know the official car count, but I'd guess it was north of 400. That's like 1,600 tires on the ground, and close to 2,000 if you count the spares.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Adesa Auction's Fall Corvette and Specialty Car Sale gives you a real-world perspective into the old car hobby

“I’mana eighteen, eighteen, eighteen; lookin’ for eighteen-five. Eighteen-five. Come up and look at this car. Sixty-two-thousand actual miles. Pay attention, folks, you’ll never see another one like this. I have eighteen. Lookin’ for eighteen-five. Eighteen-five. Eighteen-five going once. Eighteen-five going twice. It’s gonna’ take closer to nineteen to buy this car. Roll it on through.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Refined sledgehammer. The Cadillac CTS-V coupe and sedan test drive review

Carmakers often try and tell you they have a sporty version of some mid-sized car, and for the most part, they’re just a tweaked version of a non-sporty car. There’s a compromise there, because that vehicle has to be all things to all people.

The CTS-V is an exception. First of all, a regular CTS is a world-beater in-and-of-itself. But when you add the massive suspension and brake tweaks, plus this engine, my God the engine, you’ll absolutely believe there were no compromises here.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Annual shows, final cruise nights, and Corvairs. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing schedule for September 30; October 1 - 2

Another beautiful fall weekend means another full schedule of Kansas City-area car shows, cruises, and races.

One of the bigger season-ending events comes from an unlikely source. The Basehor Project Grad Car Show at the high school packs in hundreds of cars each year.

Other big, annual shows are taking place in Lone Jack, Lawrence, and countless smaller communities all within a day’s drive of the KC Metro area. This is a busy time for these shows, and they tend to draw strong car counts every time. You can also go to Excelsior Springs and check out the big Corvair meet.

Where are you going to be this weekend? If you’re having trouble trying to decide, I am including the complete schedule of Kansas City car shows, car cruises, and car races below.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Southern invasion. The Belton Car Cuise brings in the big numbers

When some people think of Belton, Missouri, images of the big Quick Trip distribution center or the railroad depot may come to mind. But for area car enthusiasts, the monthly Belton car cruise is the first thing they think of.

This may very well be the biggest monthly cruise in Kansas City. I don’t have the official count from Saturday night, but I’d guess around 300 classic cars and trucks lined Belton’s historic downtown Main Street and various parking lots and side streets nearby. It was a very impressive display.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The 10th Annual Mid-America Chevelle/El Camino Show at the Great Mall was a showcase of big blocks and beautiful rides

Earlier this week, I visited the GM Fairfax Assembly Plant, where they build the current Chevrolet Malibu. So it seemed only appropriate that I explored the history of that nameplate this weekend when I checked out the 10th-Annual Aces Mid-America Chevelle/El Camino Show at the Great Mall of the Great Planes in Olathe.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

While other car cruises are ending for the season, the Longbranch cruise keeps getting stronger

As many of the car cruises are starting to end around town, I decided to take the trek to Overland Park on Friday night to check out one of the latest-running cruises of the season at the Longbranch Steakhouse on Metcalf Avenue. Not only does this event run all the way until the end of October, but it happens every single Friday night.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant open house reminds us how important the auto industry is to Kansas City

Some people don't realize how big of a car town Kansas City really is. I mean, you kind of get an idea of what kind of classic car scene we have here if you look at all the car show reviews on this website. But even more importantly, there are thousands of people that make their living in Kansas City's thriving automotive industry.

Nowhere was that more obvious than at the Fairfax Assembly Plant open house, which was held this week in the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Chevrolet Suburban is the longest-running nameplate ever produced. A history and pictorial review of Chevy's heavy hauler

When you think about what model of vehicle has been around longer than any other, several candidates might come to mind. Iconic nameplates like the Porsche 911, Chevrolet Corvette, Chrysler 300, and the Ford Crown Victoria seem like they’ve been here forever—but they’re not the champs.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

A little rain doesn't dampen spirits at the 25th Annual Ol' Marais River Run. 714 pictures from the big show in Ottawa

There are car shows, then there are car shows. And the 25th Annual Ol' Marais River Run in Ottawa, Kan., was a car show. This is always one of the biggest hot rod, custom, vintage, and muscle car events in the area.

How big? Well to give you an idea, consider that Saturday's forecast called for rain. Saturday's forecast proved to be correct from the moment the sun came up. And they still managed to draw in more than 1,300 entries.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Midwest Ford Fest, Shrine Swap Meet, and Ol' Marais. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing schedule for September 16, 17, 18

September continues to be a busy month for Kansas City car events. One of the biggest is the Ol’ Marais River Run in Ottawa, where some 1,600 cars will blanket Forrest Park.

If you like Fords, the Midwest Ford Fest is always a big draw at KCIR. And if your old car needs parts, or if you are looking for a new project, the Ararat Shrine Swap Meet in Lee’s Summit may have just what you need.

As the season winds down in Kansas City, there is no shortage of car shows, car races, and car cruises to check out this weekend in Kansas City. Take a look at the full schedule of events below.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The 12th Annual Midwest All Truck Nationals brought trucks and truck fans from all over America to the Riverside Red-X

They say that one of the dangers of owning a pickup truck is that all your family and friends will ask you to use it to haul things for them. If that's the case, Riverside was the location of the most popular people in town, because the 12th Annual Midwest All-Truck Nationals was wall-to-wall trucks.

For the past few years, this event was held at the E.H. Young Riverfront Park, but that location is still suffering from the ill effects of too much water and not enough riverbed. So the festivities were moved to the grassy lot out behind the eclectic Red-X general store. I haven't been to this exact location since the old Riverside Stadium dirt track resided on this spot.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

14th Annual Bill Cliff Memorial Car Show highlights the final 2nd Saturdays cruise in North Kansas City

Throughout the summer, one of our regular stops has been the "2nd Saturdays" North Kansas City car cruise, which took place every month on the corner of Fayette Street and 18th Avenue. There was something for everyone at this cruise, as they combined it with an art fair and jazz music concerts. The event this Saturday night was especially significant, because it was the last one of the year.

I had the old Hovermater at the All Truck Nationals most of the day, so I went home to eat and let some rain showers pass. When I got to North Kansas City at about 6:15 or so, I didn't even realize this was more than a normal cruise. 

Thursday, September 8, 2011

History of the Model T Ford. The car that really did change everything

When many people think of the Ford Model T, two things come to mind—they came in “any color, as long as it’s black,” and Henry Ford invented the assembly line to build them on.

Neither one of those things is true, of course, but why would anyone be expected to know or care about a rickety old car that went out of production 84-years ago? Well, we do lots of stories here about the history of certain makes and models of cars. But an overview of the Model T is more than just the history of another car. It is American history. It is world history. The Model T impacted us in ways that are still felt today.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Midwest All-Truck Nationals, local festivals and shows, final cruise nights and more. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing schedule for September 9, 10, 11

It seems like lots of area cities have festivals and car shows this time of year. I guess they figure this is the last chance to get them in before it snows. You'll see these type of car shows in Shawnee, Olathe, and St. Joe, to name a few.

Me, I'll be spending most of my time at the annual Midwest All-Truck Nationals in Riverside. This is a big, three-day event, and it usually brings a really impressive collection of trucks to check out. Plus, since it occurs on the weekend of September 11, it seems appropriate that they have a big Toys for Tots drive at this event with the U.S. Marines.

Wherever you live in the KC Metro area, and whatever kinds of cars you like, you are sure to find an event to enjoy near you. See the full schedule of car shows, car cruises, and car races, plus the NASCAR schedule from Richmond, in the list below.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

2011 Goodguys Midwestern Nationals pictures and coverage. More than 780 photos mean there will be something you love

When it comes to car shows in Kansas City, Labor Day weekend is one of my favorites of the year. And there are no bigger shows in this area than the Goodguys Rod and Custom show, held in the infield of Kansas Speedway.

The attendance seemed to be down a little compared to previous years, but even at that, it was a hell of a lot of cars. We were talking about this at lunch today, and came to the conclusion that the flooding along I-29 had to hurt participation. I know that there were guys in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, etc., that didn't want to take that long detour with all kinds of semi trucks on two-lane roads to get to this event. It'll be nice when the river finally gets all back where it goes, and travel gets back to normal around here.

The 2011 Greaserama had it all - Freaky cars, freaky folks, and freaky fun. 722 pictures of double coverage from the Boulevard Drive-In

If you like your music angry, your women tattooed, and your beer, uh, Pabst, you belonged at the 2011 Greaserama car show at the Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kan. Sure, there were a bunch of--how can I put it delicately--freaks there. But they were nice freaks, and certainly seemed to know how to have a good time.

Of course, I've been there several years in a row, and as it turns out, I know a lot of people there, so perhaps I'm a bit of a freak myself.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Art of the Chopper display in Kansas City's Union Station showcases exquisite workmanship and creativity

I’ve always been more of a car guy that a motorcycle freak, but I can certainly appreciate fine workmanship and creativity when I see it. And did I see it. Kansas City’s Union Station is hosting the Art of the Chopper display for a limited engagement, and we spent some time checking out the beautiful custom bikes under gallery-quality lighting.

This exhibit took place in the same area as they had the Princess Diana stuff, the Dinosaurs Unleashed thing, and other similar displays. And the one thing it had in common with all of those other displays was that it was expensive. We’re talking $12.50 for each adult ticket, and $9.50 for kids. That ain’t chump change, Charlie. And that was really the reason it took me so long to get there. At least there was a slight discount if you ate at the Harvey House upstairs.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost and 2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost test drive review

Maintaining this little blog is a fun hobby, but it doesn’t pay the bills. That’s why in real life, I work as the senior editor for Penton Media’s Automobile Red Book. I research new and used cars, gather specifications, new pricing, and VIN information; then determine used values to the best of my ability.

The Red Book has been in business for a cool 100 years in 2011, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of it for the past eight. The work we do here may not cure cancer, but it does touch literally millions of people. So I think it’s important to maintain credibility within the auto industry.