Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Union Pacific Living Legend 844 steam locomotive stopped at Union Station during Great Excursion Adventure

And now for something completely different.

While it is true that we typically only discuss road-going vehicles here, there is another mode of transportation that touches the Hover household in a big way. My wife’s dad Joe is a retired signal supervisor for the Union Pacific Railroad, and he has every bit as much passion for the railroad as I could ever have for cars. So when we heard that the “Living Legend” 1944 steam locomotive would be passing through our area, we gave him a call and went on an adventure.

NASCAR at Kansas Speedway, World of Outlaws at Lakeside, car shows, and cruises all over Kansas City. Get the full weekend car schedule right here for June 3, 4, 5

For racing fans, this is a huge weekend in Kansas City. Headlining the weekend’s high-octane activities is the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Kansas Speedway. The Camping World Trucks will also race there on Saturday. But don’t forget all the local racing, including two nights at Lakeside, culminating in the big World of Outlaws event on Saturday.

If you like your automotive fun to be a little slower, there are some great cruise nights in Parkville and Blue Springs, as well as a few car shows around town. Plus, how can you forget the Heartland Model Car Nationals in Overland Park?

Does that sound like a lot to digest? Well, it is. But we’ve got the full weekend schedule of events to help you make sense of it all. Just be sure to call ahead or do a little more research if weather looks like it might screw things up. I don’t think it will. I just felt like I had to say that.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Historic military vehicles at the Liberty Memorial Museum added to the Memorial Day festivities

On Memorial Day, we took the opportunity to visit the only museum in America dedicated to the soldiers who died in World War I, Kansas City's Liberty Memorial. And although it is a very somber place with a serious subject matter, it is still an interesting, educational place for families to check out.

Now, I will admit that one of the reasons I went there in the first place was that I knew the Kansas City Military Vehicle Preservation Association was going to have a display out on the lawn. It was supposed to last until 5:00 on Monday, but when we got there around 1:00, it was pretty much wrapping up. What was still there was interesting and unusual, and you can see them in the slideshow below.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Liberty cruise was the perfect venue for Memorial Day weekend

If you're going to go to a car cruise on Memorial Day weekend, I can't think of a more appropriate place than Liberty, Mo. And so, BHo and I jumped in the truck and headed north to one of the Kansas City area's best monthly cruises.

Well, usually it's one of the best. Unfortunately, it was a cloudy, threatening night, which means a lot of people stayed home.

Too bad for them, because it turned out to be one of the nicest nights for a car cruise that I can remember in a long time. It wasn't hot like it can get here in the summer. It wasn't really cold. It was just a nice, perfect, cool but not uncomfortable night beneath the shadow of the Liberty City Hall and the World War I memorial statue.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Once proud new cars, they were left for dead. Maxwell, Neb., auction may give them a new life

Show cars can be pretty cool, but not every old car ends up quite as pampered as the examples we usually see here at HMC. Take these pictures from an auto graveyard in Maxwell, Neb., just a few miles away from my wife’s hometown.

Here is a collection of rusted, faded metal that has been quietly braving the harsh, mid-Nebraska climate changes for untold years. The heat of the summer. The cold of a Midwestern blizzard. No one was worried about car polish or engine swaps out here. These are the cars that time forgot.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Belton, Tongie, Liberty, and KC. Here's your list of Kansas City car shows, car cruises, and car races for Memorial day weekend, May 27, 28, 29, 30

Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the biggest motorsports weekends of the year. Of course, that traditionally stems around the historic Indy 500, but the Coca-Cola 600 is a pretty big event for the NASCAR boys as well.

Still, you don’t have to leave Kansas City to see some great racing action this weekend. Circle tracks like Lakeside and Valley Speedways will be kickin’ up some rooster tails, while KCIR and Heartland Park will be serving up the drag racing.

Meanwhile, there are several car shows and cruises that look like fun. Both Liberty and Belton have huge cruises on Saturday night, and in honor of Memorial Day, there will be some nice vintage military vehicles on display at the Liberty Memorial.

In summary, there is no shortage of car shows, cruises, and races to attend this weekend. But as always, make sure you call or check ahead, especially if weather could be an issue.

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.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

HMC goes bigtime with national coverage of the BPOC car show in Colorado

While I was out at the Nebraska Furniture Mart car show this weekend, I had a couple of people ask me why my dad didn't bring his old Corvette out. Well, he probably would have, but he was on special assignment as HMC's national correspondent, bringing up-to-the-minute coverage of the annual Buick, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Cadillac (BPOC) show in Greenwood Village, Colo., near Denver.

Truth be told, the car show was just an excuse. He was really there to visit his old high school friend Pat Casey, who invited him to ride out in his very nice '61 Pontiac Catalina four-door hardtop. 

Nebraska Furniture Mart Friends and Family Car Show ambushed by nice weather

When I was heading out to the Nebraska Furniture Mart Friends and Family Car Show under cloudy, threatening skies, who'd a thunk that I'd be nursing my worst sunburn in years just a few hours later? But that's just what happened, as the bright summer sun snuck up behind everyone when they weren't looking.

This is usually a pretty nice show. My friend Doug Hayes, who is responsible for a big chunk of this event, has spent a lot of time around the local stock car tracks, and you can see some of that influence in the way this show is presented. The participant sign-in sheet is exactly like one a driver would use to gain access to the pits, concessions are decidedly speedway-like, and a large portion of the show is dedicated to race cars.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chevrolet and the Indy 500 both turn 100, and the Chevy Camaro is once again the pace car

The Indianapolis 500 is held over Memorial Day weekend, so I figured it was time to do a little Indy 500 pace car trivia. Of course, Indy is the oldest running race in the U.S., and among the most respected in the world. More than any other, Chevrolet has been the car chosen to pace this historic event, including the past ten years consecutively. And even before that, brothers Louis and Arthur Chevrolet, competed in the very first Indianapolis 500 on May 30, 1911.

It may seem like the first Chevy Indy pace car was the 1967 Camaro, because that’s the one you seem to hear about the most. But actually, bowties took the helm twice before that. Way back in 1948, a Chevy Stylemaster convertible was used as the Indy pace car. This stately Stovebolt was appropriately decorated with colorful pace car graphics that encased the entire side of the car. Then in 1955, the first year of the popular small-block Chevy V8, a red and white Bel Air convertible led the field.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wagner's Classic Auto Sales in Bonner Springs definitely had some impressive hardware on hand last weekend

Visiting Wagner’s Auto Sales in Bonner Springs, Kan., can be a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes the showroom is loaded with high-end vintage machinery, and sometimes the pickin’s can be a little slim if they’ve sent a bunch of cars to an auction somewhere.

When we went there this weekend, conditions definitely favored the former, as we were able to look at some of the neatest cars you’d ever hope to see. I’ve been to museums that don’t have anything near this good in them. It was well worth the trip.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NHRA, NFM, HPAC, TGIF, NASCAR, and C.A.R.B. Kansas City-area car show, car racing, and car cruise calendar for May 20-22, 2011

Every week, the list of Kansas City car events just keeps getting longer.

There’s just so much to talk about. The Nebraska Furniture Mart car show is always a good one. The NHRA Summer Nationals is in Topeka. CARB members get into Lakeside Speedway for free. And there are dozens more great car shows, races, and cruises to choose from.

Or, if you prefer to stay indoors, you can watch the NASCAR All-Star Showdown from Charlotte, ESPN2’s coverage of the Nats in Topeka, and the Mecum Indy Spring Classic car auction.

Need all the details? No problem. Just take a look at the comprehensive schedule of events below. And as usual, if the weather is iffy, make sure you contact the event promoter before you head out. Also, if you have events that you want to promote in future weekly calendars like this, send an e-mail to kcissclub@hotmail.com with all the details.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ford freak photographs Fords for All Ford Show at Olathe Ford

Back when I worked at Lakeside Speedway, there was a guy named Scot Shamet who delivered the winners trophies from the local trophy shop each week.

Now Scot was a certifiable Ford freak. He always showed up to the track in his primped and pampered Ranger pickup, and he was always decked out from head-to-toe with Blue Oval and NASCAR paraphernalia. He also had a distinct bias for anything Davey Allison, Yates Racing, or Jack Roush.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Big fun at the Westwood MICROCAR meet

The MICROCAR meet at the City Hall building in Westwood, Kan., was packed with cute little international commuters, specially designed for the narrow streets and high fuel prices of many European countries. So I rolled up in my big, black '96 Impala SS. When you think about it, I was responsible for the equivalent of three micro cars all by myself.

OK, I couldn't be part of this show, but the cars that were there really were interesting to look at. Some of them, like the crazy front-door access Isettas and true-to-their name Minis are fun, in a scary, stay off the interstate sort of way.

May North Kansas City car cruise kicks off 2nd Saturdays events

Saturday night, North Kansas City kicked off their "2nd Saturdays" events for the summer with their monthly car cruise, art show, and jazz music.

The NKC cruise has been pretty popular over the years, often bringing in cars from all over the Metro. And the parking area across the street from the North Kansas City Pro Bowl has been a big car locale over the years, hosting events like the annual Shriner's car show and the C.A.R.B. Snake Saturday race car show.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Everyone happy at the Basehor Boys Park in the Park car show except Mother Nature

Mother Nature can be a cranky old broad when she wants to be. Obviously she woke up on the wrong side of the bed when the Basehor Boys car club decided to plan their big Ice Breaker Park in the Park show on Saturday.

Billed as, "similar to Ottawa cruise," The Basehor Boys were setting their sights pretty high when they modeled their event after the southern extravaganza. And they had a lot of the correct ingredients. The Basehor City Park is a very nice, tranquil setting. The Boy Scouts were busily cookin' up some vittles. And they had music scheduled by the local bluegrass band "The Fairmounters".

Friday, May 13, 2011

Rat Rods. Lots and lots of Rat Rods

Before I wrote this story, I punched the term “Rat Rod” into eBay and got nearly 6,300 hits. There were 2006 Cadillac STS-V seats, an ’86 Oldsmobile Cutlass Brougham, a set of ‘80s-style Keystone mag wheels, and a ’77 AMC Hornet included in the results.

Which goes to show, there is some confusion out there on what exactly a Rat Rod is.

In a way, it is sort of hard to pin down a definition. Typically, a Rat Rod is a, home-built ‘50s-style hot rod that was constructed from vintage parts. They’re often channeled roadsters from the 1930s, but they can also be sedans, trucks, coupes, wagons; anything that “might” have been around 50-60 years ago. That’s not set in stone, though. A ‘20s car or a ‘60s car could all be accepted as a Rat Rod if the modifications are right.

Take the latest Hover Motor Company TV and movie car quiz

I've been thinking about trying a few car-related quizzes here on HMC for awhile now to see how people like them. The first one is going to be a TV and movie car challenge, because, well, because I didn't have to do much research to write the questions.

Give this a try and see how you do, and feel free to post your results and/or comments and questions in the comments section below. And if you like this, I hope you pass it along to your friends and post it on messageboards and things like that. If it looks like folks are interested, I'll create some more car-related quizzes on different topics in the future.

Good luck!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Get ready for a full schedule of Kansas City car shows, races, and cruises, May 13, 14, 15

You have to admit, once you look through the list of car races, cruises, shows, and events this weekend, you realize that Kansas City is a great place to be if you’re a fan. Heck, there is so much stuff this week, if I tried to hit everything my wife would stop talking to me.

They’re having a big car show and cruise in Basehor that they’re trying to run like the Ol’ Marias River Run on Saturday, there’s a very popular Ford show at Gary Crossley Ford on Sunday, and a whole lot of other shows and cruises in between.

The nostalgia run at KCIR on Saturday and Sunday sounds like a cool deal, but if you aren’t as turned on by shiny things, there’s a demolition derby on Heartland Park’s dirt track on Sunday.

Whatever you’re into, there’s probably one of them listed for this weekend on the schedule below. And as always, remember to call ahead to make sure that the weather or some other issue hasn’t put the kibosh on your favorite event.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Double coverage of the May 2011 cruise in Historic Downtown Parkville

Mother's Day was Sunday, so there weren't many car shows or races that day. After all, there needs to be one day that we let mom know that we appreciate her going to all these things the rest of the year!

There were several automotive happenings on Friday and Saturday, however. And one of those was the monthly cruise in Historic Downtown Parkville.

This was some of the best weather so far this year, with some people even complaining that it was hot. So a strong turnout was inevitable.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Old Time Radio helps melt your commute away. The perfect soundtrack for your car's radio

“Her sweater was cut in the shape of a ‘V’. And she liked capital letters.”

“His brain was just big enough to drop through the hole of a Life Saver.”

“When she walked in it would give you a warm feeling. Like a melted cheese sandwich.”

Where can you get a steady diet of brilliant gems like these? In the hard-boiled world of Old Time Radio (OTR), of course.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Treat mom to a car show, car cruise, or car race this weekend, May 6, 7, 8

Did you know that Mother's Day is this weekend? Have you forgotten to plan something special for her? Well, the pressure's off, because mom wants to go do car stuff on her special weekend, and there's a whole calendar of car stuff right here!

Whether you're talking about the Blue Springs or Parkville monthly cruises, one of several full-fledged car shows around town, or any number of great live races, there are plenty of things out there to repay the woman who brought you into the world.

Check out the full schedule of events in this week's calendar below.  And as usual, be sure to check ahead before you head out.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The KCAA Corvette Show at Superior Chevrolet was a good place to do some fantasy shopping

Corvettes. Lord knows I love 'em. If they had enough room for my wife and a child booster seat, and if the good ones weren't so freakin' expensive, I'd own one. Hell, I'd own a dozen of them--I'm not really sure which year, style, and color I like best.

But alas, that is a dream for another time. So while I patiently await the windfall that will never come, I have to look at other peoples' Corvettes. And this weekend, there was no better place to do that than the Kansas City Corvette Association's (KCCA) annual show at Superior Chevrolet in Merriam, Kan.