Sunday, July 31, 2011

Quite the variety at the July Liberty Car Cruise

You really couldn't blame anyone for staying home from the monthly Liberty car cruise Saturday night. Between all the road construction around town, the intense heat, and all the other things that people can spend their time with, standing around with your car might be the last thing you want to do.

I had just gotten back into town, and even I admit, I thought about staying home. But I'm glad I didn't, because I definitely would have missed out. It was one heck of a turnout, and there were lots of great cars to look at all around Liberty's historic downtown square.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Sunday Gladstone Hy-Vee Cruise is the place to go for Maid-Rites

Toward the end of last year, the Sunday Gladstone Cruise presented by the Cowtown T’s wasn’t really pulling in a big field of cars. I hadn’t been back this year, and assumed that with as stinkin’ hot out as it was, no one would be there.

Luckily, I was wrong. It wasn’t the Cruise of the Century or anything like that, but there were actually quite a few cars and people hanging out in the Gladstone Hy-Vee parking lot.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Abandoned Corvettes at the annual Hooters Touch of Glass Corvette Show

1983 was the only year since 1953 that Chevrolet did not offer a production Corvette. 1983 was also the year Prince introduced the song Little Red Corvette, which was, in fact, not about Corvettes.

I bring this up because this weekend, the Touch of Glass Corvette Club hosted a Corvette show at the Hooters in the Legends. And instead of being strictly a show about Corvettes, this gathering may have been more about … hot wings.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

38th Annual Ag Hall of Fame Show N' Shine brought rows and rows of great cars to a beautiful and interesting location

The Annual Show N' Shine at the Ag Hall of Fame in Bonner Springs, Kan., is a real tradition here in town, and a nicer place to hold a show you'll never find.

This is the 38th year for this event, which is hosted by the Genuine Chevy/GMC Truck Club of Kansas City. As you might imagine, there tends to be a large contingent of old Chevy pickups there, but that certainly isn't the only thing that makes it in.

Friday, July 22, 2011

History of the Cadillac wreath and crest logo, and never-before-seen photos of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club Grand National Convention

I admit, I do think old Cadillacs are cool. They just have so much chutzpa. Not many companies could pull off the outrageous fins of the late-‘50s, the Texas oil man swagger of the Eldorado in the ‘70s, or the “I don’t give a crap get out of my way” Escalade of today. But Cadillac makes it work. And they have been for more than 100 years.

Even Cadillac’s logo is audacious. While most cars abandoned using someone’s chrome-encrusted family crest decades ago, Cadillac’s complex, ornate jigsaw puzzle of boxes and rectangles in a Superman-like shield surrounded by laurels does not suggest “subdued” by any means.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

CAF Air Expo at the New Century Air Center brought you back to the 1940s with cars, trucks, big bands, and historic World War II aircraft

Of all the events we went to this weekend, we probably had the most fun at the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Annual Air Expo, which took place Saturday and Sunday at the New Century Air Center near Olathe. There were tons of things to see and do, and all of it had the net effect of taking you back in time 65 years. It might have been hot out, but this event was cool to say the least.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Outta' Control Hot Rods car cruise in Platte City was not as unruly as the name implies

Last weekend I saw event organizer Larry Colstion at a different car show, and he reminded me that I needed to get up and check out the action at the Platte City monthly cruise again.

But then I remembered that the name of the host car club is "Outta' Control Hot Rods and Cruisers," and I started getting worried. I mean, I don't know if I'm wild enough to hang out with people that are so out of control that they name themselves something like that.

Vintage Thunderbird Club of Kansas City cook some pretty birds in the Thoroughbred Ford parking lot

People generally tend to visit Thoroughbred Ford in northern Kansas City to look at current model cars and trucks. But on Saturday, the attraction was a car that Ford doesn't even produce anymore--the iconic Thunderbird. The Vintage Thunderbirds of Kansas City (VTKC) club was on hand with a nice little display of examples from various points in the car's history. And while a '56 T-Bird has little in common with a '96, they still enjoy getting together and enjoying the legacy of one of Ford's most recognizable nameplates.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Come away with me, Lucille, and see the '57 Oldsmobile

Many great automotive nameplates have fallen by the wayside recently. American favorites like Pontiac, Mercury, and Plymouth have all been shuttered, while bland, heritage-less boxes like Hyundai, Kia, and Scion thrive.

One of the most significant losses in recent years was the demise of Oldsmobile, which at the time of its closing was the oldest American auto manufacturer. But things weren’t always that bleak.

In 1957, General Motors was on top of the world, and Oldsmobile was right in the thick of things. ’57 was the 50th-anniversary of GM’s Rocket division, and there was a lot to be excited about.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2012 Ford Mustang Boss 302 test drive review

Sometimes I wonder if I'm getting old.

Take this week, for example. Some of the nice folks from Ford invited one of my co-workers and me to spend some quality time behind the wheel of the 2012 Boss 302 Mustang in the Detroit, Mich., area.

We were lucky enough to have dinner with some of the engineers and marketing people behind the Boss 302, along with some of my colleagues from other guidebooks and publications. These latter folks are actually pretty influential, as they publish automotive reviews that are seen by huge numbers of people, and they play a key part in setting used and residual values on virtually every vehicle sold. I'm not going to get into specifics, but you've heard of the publications they work for.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Old-school dragsters, old-time aircraft, and old fashioned fun. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing calandar for July 15, 16, 17, 2011

As usual, the weekend automotive schedule is packed with things to do in Kansas City. One of the biggest events is the Muscle Car Reunion at Kansas City International Raceway, where you’ll be able to check out cool muscle cars, vintage dragsters, and legendary drivers. You can also see T-Birds in the Northland, V-Dubs at the City Market, and cruises, car shows, and races all over town.

The CAF Annual Air Expo at the airport in Olathe also looks pretty intriguing, where you will be able to see FIFI, the only operable B-29 in existence, P-51 Mustangs and other cool old planes, and a display of vintage military vehicles.

But enough about what I think will be good. The entire Kansas City and surrounding area car calendar for this weekend is listed below. And, you know, don’t forget to call or plan ahead if rain, flooding, or other crappy conditions may be a factor.

Find a little car collectible of your own at W.D. Pickers Antique Mall in Platte City

If you’re like me, you can turn any experience into a car experience. Going to the grocery store? Hey, there’s Jeff Gordon’s car on the Corn Flakes. Going to the doctor’s office? I haven’t read this issue of Motor Trend yet.

Naturally, the old car radar doesn’t shut down at someplace like an antique mall. There could be a stack of Picassos, but if they had an old toy poking out from behind one of them, I wouldn’t see the paintings at all. When it comes to antiquing, I have perfect automotive tunnel vision.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ASRA Midwest Vintage Weekend brought a nice collection of pre-1949 street rods to Riverside

The Midwest Vintage Weekend had a lot of promise. It was sanctioned by the American Street Rod Association, a nationally-recognized organization dedicated to cars 1948 and older. It had its own website and was promoted heavily on the Internet. There were professionally made signs and banners all over the show grounds. And a large staff of guys in matching T-shirts were on hand to take your money and tell you where to park.

But the other thing they had to deal with was an unprecedented Missouri River flood. So while this was supposed to take place in the picturesque E.H. Young Riverfront Park in Riverside, it was moved to the decidedly less picturesque Park Hill High School parking lot.

The North Kansas City Cruise Night is successful. Maybe too successful. A look at the July festivities

The summer car cruise in North Kansas City has been a second-Saturday tradition for years, and that tradition was kept alive this weekend in the parking lot across the street from the NKC Pro Bowl.

This is still a pretty nice cruise, with several cars from the area turning out to listen to well-known Kansas City disc jockey Phil Jay spinnin' the Mustang Sally.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lots of old car pictures from the family photo album

This is not the normal article where I go take a bunch of pictures at a car show and tell you how the weather was. As far as I'm concerned, this article is special.

If you come from a family of car nuts like me, you’ve probably noticed that the car turns up in quite a few family photos. Heck, if you go through my old shoeboxes full of pictures, you might get the impression that my grandparents spent all their time in the driveway.

My granddad was a used car dealer in Colorado Springs, so cars weren’t just a passion, they were his life. I always enjoy the stories my dad tells about all the cars that passed through there as he was growing up. It’s interesting to hear about where they came from and what they did with them.

Monday, July 4, 2011

No, Parkville isn't flooded. Yes, they had their annual Fourth of July parade. Yes, there were some nice cars in it

Parkville, Mo., has been a pretty popular place lately. It seems like every day, the local news stations are doing a live remote to tell everyone how bad the Missouri is flooding. And it is a little scary. The river is out of its banks near the historic little town, and Parkville's English Landing park is indeed underwater. When you see the river like this, it gives you the sensation that you have when you're on a really high ladder. If you don't like heights. And you're me. The point is, it isn't a good feeling.

But that wasn't enough to stop the annual Fourth of July Parade, which snaked its way down Main Street just like it always does. Luckily, the heart of downtown remains unaffected by the flooding so far.

A mock 1950s town and a classic car showroom await you in West Line, Mo. Good Time Classics and Memory Lane are pleasant surprises

West Line, Mo., is not a place that you would expect to see much. With a population of about 95 people in 35 households, it doesn't scream "vacation destination".

But when it comes to automotive attractions, sometimes, it's these little places that will surprise you. Such was the case recently when my dad told me there was something I needed to see in the sleepy little town just outside of Louisburg.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

20th Annual National Police Car Convention raids Kansas City.

The Smokeys were thick as bugs on a bumper when the Police Car Owners of America hosted their 20th Anniversary Convention in Kansas City over the Independence Day weekend. Police cars, both real and replica, came from all over the country to tour local landmarks, drive on scenic roads, and show off their public safety sedans.

I've always had a soft spot for police cars. For one thing, I don't believe in movies that don't involve at least one car chase where a minimum of 18 Gran Furys get trashed. But also, my dad had lots of Caprices and Impalas around when I was growing up, and my current car is a '96 Impala SS, all of which have a connection to the police cars that were derived from them.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Armacost Auto Museum in Grandview is a little-known Kansas City treasure

When it comes to automotive culture, Kansas City will surprise you sometimes.

It’s easy to look at the beautiful coastal settings of Pebble Beach or Amelia Island and think nothing like that can happen here. But then we have the Art of the Car Concours as held last weekend at the Kansas City Art Institute.

It’s easy to look at Detroit and think we are not a mecca of auto manufacturing. But in fact, both Ford and General Motors build some of their most popular vehicles in the area.