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.

In some ways, I’m surprised this cruise is so popular. Belton is a pretty far trek south for a lot of people around town, and perpetual construction around I-435 seems like it would scare people off. I know for me, by the time I leave my house in the Northland, pick up my dad in Shawnee, and drive down to Belton, I’m a good 50 miles from home.

But the trip is worth it. This thing draws in some really nice cars. This week alone, there were two Hudsons (the blue one even had Doc Hudson eyeballs), an almost Neapolitan ice cream-colored ’56 Packard Caribbean convertible that really stood out from the crowd, a creamy yellow ’48 Buick convertible, and at least five Corvairs.

One car that we used to see around all the time, but hadn’t seen this year until now, was a little black and cream, two-seat, hand-built roadster. It was actually constructed out of a ’77 MGB, but it was perfectly fused with other parts, mostly from a ’34 Ford, to make what the builder intended to be a French-looking creation. It’s powered by a 3.4-liter Chevy V6, and Jaguar bumpers, Oldsmobile taillights, and a ’48 Plymouth steering wheel. The owner’s name is Dan Root, and the car is called the “Racine”, which means “root” in French. It really is an amazing, well-proportioned little creation.

Other examples from the “you don’t see that every day” file included a Crosley pickup, an excellent Blues Mobile being driven by a couple of pretty convincing Blues Brothers, a really nice 1980 Fairmont Durango (sort of like an El Camino) with all kinds of nice Mustang Cobra touches, Saab and a Pinto Pony Stock race cars that used to compete at I-70 Speedway, and a very exotic coffin-nose Cord sedan hot rod with Chrysler wire wheels and a ’55 Buick steering wheel.

There were also lots of Chevelles, most of which I saw earlier in the day at the Mid-America Chevelle Show at the Great Mall. You know the sign of a real car aficionado when he’ll spend all day at a car show, then head to another one when the first one gets over.

With beautiful weather, big numbers, and quality cars, the Belton Cruise, hosted by the South 71 Cruisers Car Club, continues to be one of the best around. But with one more of these to go for the season, October 22 will be your last chance to catch this event in 2011.

I took a lot of pictures at this event—more than 380 of them. Of course, you can look at them in the slideshow below. You’ll know it’s over when you are accosted by the final image of the gritty “Hover Motor Co.” truck.


  1. QuikTrip headquarters?!? QuikTrip's home office is in Tulsa...
    Some really cool cars and a great dog. Looks like a lot of quality rides. Thanx for the photos.

  2. You're definitely keeping me honest, john. :-)

  3. QT distribution center...

    Would you believe this cruise started at a Sonic at the next south Belton exit? It just grew and grew--South 71 cruisers have done an excellent job keeping it growing and fresh.

    The Observer