Monday, May 23, 2011

Cadillac Club pours on the glamour during the Art of the Machine display in Kansas City's City Market

Old Cadillacs are certainly photogenic. The fins; the chrome; the ornaments; the leather—these cars were unabashed eye candy. So when you have a chance to see a few pristine examples parked together in a neat little row, you take it.

Kansas City had just such an opportunity when the City Market Square hosted the Kansas City Cadillac Club during their eclectic Sunday farmer’s market. While the health-conscious perused the locally grown veggies, and the bargain-hunters sifted through the Community Yard Sale, the car-lovers marveled at some of the most opulent vehicles ever to travel America’s highways.

And there really were some stunners out there. 1958 marked the pinnacle of luscious American automotive excess, and the homecoming king of the Class of ’58 was the Eldorado. The Cadillac Club brought not one, but two of these cars to this event—one a lovingly-used convertible, and the other a rare hardtop Seville.

1949 was a benchmark year for Cadillac, as it was the second year for the P-38 aircraft-inspired taillights that would eventually morph into those trademark fins, and it was the first year for Cadillac’s revolutionary 331-c.i. overhead-valve V8. There was a really pretty '49 Sedanette on display here. I will say, I was under the impression that those all had gravel shields and rocker panel moldings, but this one was without. The restoration was so nice that one would assume this was correct. Maybe one of our readers can explain the in’s and out’s of ’49 Cadillac chrome trim.

There was also a ’38 Cadillac factory limousine. An impressive car in its own right, but made even more so by the presence of those V-16 engine badges. Only 315 of these engines were built 73 years ago, so to see one like this is pretty unusual.

LaSalle was the “baby Cadillac” back in the day, and the Cadillac Club brought out a jaunty ’39 coupe complete with two spotlights and a flathead V8. By the late ‘40s, the upright grills in these cars became popular in the early Kustomizing scene. Luckily, the Barris Brothers didn’t get their torches on this one.

There were even some late ‘60s-ish examples, including a pair of ragtops from ’67 and ’69, and the ’70 Coupe that I saw just the day before at the Nebraska Furniture Mart event.

And just when it looked like that was everybody, a beige ’54 Coupe floated in as a welcome late arrival.

Was it the biggest car show of the year? Well, no. But there are enough sweet little details on these old cars that it isn’t hard to come up with a bunch of interesting pictures, which are in the slideshow below.

This display was part of the “Art of the Machine” series that the City Market will host each Sunday throughout the summer. Next Sunday, May 29, you can check out the Vintage Thunderbird Club of Kansas City from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.

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