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 ...

#10: 2011 Goodguys Midwestern Nationals pictures and coverage. More than 780 photos mean there will be something you love
It makes sense that the biggest car show in Kansas City would make it to the top ten. My dad and I plan for this one all year, and we always have a great time. Each year we switch off what car we take, so last year we went in dad's '61 Corvette, and this year we took my '63 Chevy pickup. I sometimes hear people criticize this show because it's too expensive, the cars are all "bought" not "built," and there's nothing interesting to look at. Now, I will agree that it's expensive. You have to be a Goodguys member to enter a car. It even costs to go in and look around. But I think the stuff about the cars not being worth looking at is ridiculous. There are better than 1,500 cars there. Some of them are amazingly perfect. Some of them are backyard builds. But if you can't find at least 150 cars that you like, you probably don't like cars as much as you think you do.

#9: A little rain doesn't dampen spirits at the 25th Annual Ol' Marais River Run. 714 pictures from the big show in Ottawa
Any other car show would have been a washout. But not this one. Every year, more than 1,000 hot rods, customs, classics, and muscle cars make their way to Ottawa, and this year was no exception. Dad took his Corvette, and I drove my old truck, so the Hovers were well-represented at this one. We also had a family friend come in from Colorado Springs to join the fun. Things might have been cool, rainy, and damp, but the quality and quantity of cars at this event was as strong as ever.

#8: Vettes on the Square impresses yet again, and one year for Hover Motor Company
August 14, 2011 was a milestone day for the HMC blog, because it marked one year to the day that we went on the air. It was also significant because we had a popular story about my favorite car ever--the Chevrolet Corvette. If you like them as much as I do, you would be hard-pressed to find a better show than Vettes on the Square. Both sides of Independence Square are lined with Corvettes all the way around, and they're all carefully arranged by generation. This year, the KCCA also had a separate display that featured every Corvette ever made parked in order from 1953 to 2011. The fact that this story made it to #8 shows how much passion Corvette owners have for their cars.

#7: The 2011 Greaserama had it all - Freaky cars, freaky folks, and freaky fun. 722 pictures of double coverage from the Boulevard Drive-In
On the very same day that I went out and covered the Goodguys Midwestern Nationals (see #10), I also went to the Greaserama show at the Merriam Drive-In. This year, the Saturday night festivities at Greaserama were a rainy, sloppy mess, and my camera battery died, forcing me to take pictures with my phone. I went back the next day with a fully recharged camera, and let BHo snap some less soggy pictures. People go wild for this show, and I can see why. You never know who or what you'll see there. Just the people watching aspect of this event is unforgettable. They have all kinds of crazy bands, unusual cars, even the real Eddy Munster was there. The Greaserama is not to be missed.

#6: The history of our 1963 Chevy truck, the history of your 1963 Chevy truck, and some 1963 Chevy truck pictures
This was more of a filler story than anything because I couldn't think of anything to write about on January 30, but it continues to draw in page views. I have a beat-up old '63 C-10, so I wrote an article about them. Apparently, lots of people either have these trucks, or have fond memories of them, because the reaction to this story has always been positive. Even the comments have been nice. I think this illustrates one of the best parts of owning an old car or truck. Even if you don't have a really good one, you can still meet some great people with it.

#5: Vintage car dealership photos from the 1950s, '60s, and '70s. The mother load.
I posted this last December, but it is still one of the most popular posts on this blog. And why wouldn't it be? I mean, everybody likes to look at old pictures. I just went through the old box of dealership photos in my closet, scanned some pictures, and built a slideshow. Heck, I've had these pictures for 30 years, and I still like looking at this post. There's just something about un-staged, vintage dealership photos that is hard to resist. And it isn't just whatever they were trying to take a picture of--it's everything. From the architecture of the buildings to the cars driving by on the street, these really capture what it was really like in the Midwest in the late '50s/early '60s.

You know why that title is in all capital letters? It's so when I look through the list to go back and edit it, I can pick it out easier. This is just a list of all the car shows I've gone and taken pictures at over the last couple of years. I try to remember to update it regularly, which is probably why it remains popular, in spite of me never trying to promote it or link to it outside of HMC. Sometimes I'm amazed at how long that list is getting. I just wish I had started taking car show pictures 30 years ago. I would love to be able to look back on all the stuff we saw back then.

#3: Downtown DeSoto open house reveals an unforgettable collection of automotive passion in downtown Clinton
If you counted all the page views back to 2010, this is the most viewed story on HMC. Jim Raysik's restored DeSoto dealership and car collection is spectacular, no doubt. But it's the total presentation that really gets you. This story has been linked up on all sorts of different websites, so lots of people obviously thought it was as neat as I did. I've never been to a car place that was as much of a time machine as this. It's a great place, and I'm happy that other people recognized it enough to make this the #3 story of 2011.

#2: More than 100 photos from the legendary I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Mo. The most awesome race track I've ever been to
This story was written exactly one year ago today, and it is the #2 most viewed story of 2011. And that's in spite of the awkward, SEO-friendly title. We still have lots of race fans in Kansas City, and many of them still miss the high-banks of I-70 Speedway. I know I do. No doubt some of these folks who long for the past are finding this story on a Google search. Occasionally it'll get posted on a messageboard by someone, sparking new interest. I just wish I would have had the foresight to save more pictures when I left my job there in 2001. Hundreds of pictures were sitting in a box under my desk, and most of them will probably never be seen again.

#1: Rare, limited production COPO Chevrolet ... Citations?
When I told my wife I was going to write this story, I specifically remember her asking me why bother, because no one was going to care about lowly Citations. But I knew the COPO angle would draw people in; I just didn't know how much. This story has been linked on several big websites, including Hemmings and MSN Autos. It has been posted on dozens of message boards. It is simply the most popular story on HMC in 2011. Who knew painting the bottom of a Citation silver would be so interesting?

As always, I really appreciate everyone who has come here to read these stories and look through the pictures this year. I'm also grateful to my family for letting me do this stuff, especially when they tag along with me. 2011 was a great year, and I think 2012 will be even better. We've got several stories already lined up, and I believe when you see it you'll agree that there's some really neat stuff in there. Happy new year!


  1. C,
    Became acquainted pretty late in the year
    but really enjoy your pics and articles.

    Thanks again for all you do !

    Happy New Year !

    "Basehor Boys"

  2. Wow, "who'd a thunk it?"... I read and kinda chuckled at the COPO Citation story , even commented as I remember, but who would've thought it would receive such a wide viewing? COPO + Citation?!? Congratulations on the coverage. And thanx for posting the blog - I check it daily.
    And I like the model car stories too. :)