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.