Wednesday, August 31, 2011

2012 Ford Explorer EcoBoost and 2012 Ford Edge EcoBoost test drive review

Maintaining this little blog is a fun hobby, but it doesn’t pay the bills. That’s why in real life, I work as the senior editor for Penton Media’s Automobile Red Book. I research new and used cars, gather specifications, new pricing, and VIN information; then determine used values to the best of my ability.

The Red Book has been in business for a cool 100 years in 2011, and I’m proud to say that I’ve been a part of it for the past eight. The work we do here may not cure cancer, but it does touch literally millions of people. So I think it’s important to maintain credibility within the auto industry.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Goodguys Midwestern Nationals and Greaserama headline the car show, car cruise, and car race calendar for September 2, 3, 4, 5, 2011

The car show season may be winding down soon in Kansas City, but September is easily one of the biggest months of the year. Labor Day weekend is the rule, not the exception.

Perhaps the biggest car show in Kansas City is the Goodguys Midwestern Nationals, which will be at Kansas Speedway this Friday through Sunday. Look for some 2,000 cars and trucks, 1972 and older on the first two days, plus a few later-model vehicles on Sunday. You have no doubt encountered one of their advertisements on the radio, in the newspaper, or on television.

In addition, the Greaserama Car Show is taking place at the Marriam Drive-In. This is another big one, full of Rat Rods, car art, monster movies, Rockabilly, and car culture; and it is something that you definitely don’t want to miss.

And those two big, BIG shows don’t include the normal selection of smaller car shows, races, and cruises all over town. This is one of the biggest weekends of the year. Make sure you get out there and enjoy it before everything is over for the season.  The full weekend schedule is below.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The delicious Chevrolet Corvette Z06

I guess I could do another review of the Corvette Z06, but what’s the point? If you like these cars, there are reviews in every car magazine or Internet website out there. What would you expect to hear? It’s freakin’ fast. You can keep the throttle buried around corners without skeetering out of control or tipping over. You can roast the rear tires all day long. Or until the tires wear out. Whichever comes first. When you drive it, you actually feel like you might be cool, even if you’re a scrawny, glasses-wearing nerd who can’t dance and can barely catch a ball. Not that I would know about that.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nice cars highlight the 2011 Olathe Police Foundation Car Show at the Great Mall

The Olathe Police Foundation has hosted their fundraising car show at the Great Mall of the great Planes in Olathe for the past couple of years, and it is fast becoming a destination for classic car owners and fans each August.

This year's edition was no exception, as a full lot-full of shiny cars and trucks glittered under sunny Saturday skies.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Woodward Dream Cruise brought out the biggest and best of the collector car world

We have lots of car shows and cruises here in the Kansas City area, and some of them are pretty darn good. But none of them quite measure up to the granddaddy of them all—the Woodward Dream Cruise, which was held last weekend in Detroit, Mich. Organizers claim the event draws in some 40,000 classic cars, and 1.5-million people from all over the United States, and all over the world.

For such a monstrous event, it had pretty basic beginnings. It was started in 1995 as a soccer field fundraiser. But Woodward Avenue is in the epicenter of the American automobile, and 250,000 people showed up that first year alone. The lightning was out of the bottle, and the cruise has been going strong ever since.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Cadillac Ciel Concept recalls former flagship, Cadillac's "Golden One," the timeless Eldorado

At the exclusive Pebble Beach Concours over the weekend, Cadillac introduced the Ciel Concept Car, a radical, highly-stylized convertible that might hint at a future Cadillac flagship. The opulent Caddy features suicide doors and a direct-injected 3.6 V6 paired up with a lithium-ion hybrid battery system. Cadillac states in their press release that the Ciel is a “new expression of Cadillac’s historical grandeur, as well as a celebration of open-air motoring.”

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Out of this world events from Belton to Mars. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing event calendar for August 26, 27, 28, 1011

You do realize that in just a couple more months, this will all be over. So you had better get out there and get to as many car things as you can while it’s still possible!

There are lots of great car shows, car races, and car cruises happening around Kansas City this weekend. The Olathe Police car show at the Great Mall was a pretty good event last year. The Belton cruise on Saturday night is always ginormous. And KC Trends is spearheading an Ali Kemp benefit show at FUEL Bar and Grill on Friday night. For the fun of it, I’m also throwing in a UFO conference—those are vehicles too, right?

Love short track night racing? This is the weekend for you. Sadly, Lakeside Speedway just announced that they are closed for the rest of the season thanks for the flooding, but several other dirt and paved tracks within reasonable driving distance are doing their things on Friday and Saturday nights. Or, if you don’t want to drive anywhere to see your short track action, just turn on the TV and watch NASCAR’s finest duke it out on the high-banks of Bristol.

The complete schedule of Kansas City car events for August 27, 28, and 29 is listed below.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2011 Midwest Camaro Fest defies the odds

Originally, it was supposed to take place in the tree-lined E.H. Young Riverfront Park. But then the park flooded. Then, it was moved to the Red X store parking lot in Riverside. But there were thunderstorms. Big thunderstorms. Two nights in-a-row. Water stood in the parking lot. The power was out in the Red X. Lunch was not served.

No doubt about it, the Midwest Camaro Fest was snake bit. But it was far from dead.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Parkville Days Riverfest Parade was just like the Woodward Dream Cruise. Sort of.

The Woodward Dream Cruise was held in Detroit this weekend. If you love cars, you could simply sit in a lawn chair, and watch all sorts of great cars and trucks parade down Woodward Avenue. You wouldn't have to lift a finger.

Now, Kansas City is obviously not Detroit, and we certainly don't have anything as epic as the annual Dream Cruise, but I did manage to sit in a lawn chair and take some pictures of neat cars as they drove by my location.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

As the ISSCA meets up this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise, we look at the history of the 1994-1996 Impala SS

The big Woodward dream cruise takes place this weekend in Detroit. Automotive enthusiasts from all over the nation will converge on the Motor City to celebrate America’s automotive heritage with the granddaddy of all car cruises.

Chevrolet is a major sponsor of the cruise this year, with all kinds of displays and events happening as part of their 100th Anniversary celebration. Included in all the action, the Impala SS Club of America is holding their annual ISSCA Nationals event in conjunction with the Dream Cruise.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Heart of America Model A Club celebrates the history of one of America's great cars at Kansas City's City Market

This is a story of what may very well be the best mass-produced car ever made. Bulletproof, stylish, and timeless, the iconic Ford Model A continues to be an American favorite, and that claim was never more obvious than at Kansas City’s City Market over the weekend.

When the Model A was introduced in 1927, it had unbelievably large shoes to fill. This was the car destined to replace the Model T, the car that almost singlehandedly put America on wheels. In order to follow an act like that, the Model A had to be exceptional.

And it was. For an average of $500, customers could choose from more than 15 body styles and a multitude of colors throughout the A’s five-year run.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Camaro Fest, Cars in the Park, and Old Timer Races. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing events calendar for August 19, 20, 21, 2011

We are right in the heart of car show season here in Kansas City, with big events happening all over the area.

Among the must-attend events this weekend, there’s the Midwest Camaro Fest (this year moved to the Riverside Red-X while the E.H.Young Park dries out), the Cars in the Park show at Shawnee Mission Park, and the Dearborn Classic. There are also cruises in Platte City, Overland Park, Lees Summit, and all points in-between.

If you like car racing, the Old Timers are going to hold their annual event at I-35 Speedway this year since Lakeside is still a little moist from the flooding, you could check out several other local tracks, or watch the NASCAR stars and cars in Michigan and Montreal.

Need more details? We’ve got details. Just check out the full calendar of events below.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Excellent weather brought an excellent turnout to the 2nd Saturdays cruise in North Kansas City

I've noticed lately that some of the free newsstand rags like the Pitch and INK have ads in them for the 2nd Saturdays events in North Kansas City. This is an eclectic gathering of crafters, artists, and other vendors, held just behind the First Watch in NKC.

There is also a car cruise involved with this monthly event. Now, when I see an ad in the Pitch or INK, I worry that I really shouldn't be there. I mean, there's an excellent chance that I'm not cool enough to hang with the trendy, young hipsters that they tend to feature in those publications.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Vettes on the Square impresses yet again, and one year for Hover Motor Company

My day job is editing a car and truck valuation guide. Part of that includes researching every vehicle sold in the United States, and choosing characters out of their VIN that allow that vehicle to be VIN-decipherable in a computer program.

Corvettes used to be easy. There was a code for coupe, a code for convertible, maybe a code for the Z06, and that's it. Boom--three VIN codes. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lamborghini Countach? If I was a kid, I'd hang a '74 Buick poster on my bedroom wall!

What is the car that most people lust after more than any other? Lamborghini? Ferrari? Cobra or Corvette? Well, for most car fanatics, the make and model that brings the fondest memories is often your first car.

That’s certainly the case for me, as my ’74 Buick Century is the only car that I still have dreams about. Apparently, I still have the old Buick at the back of the garage, and I drive it every once in awhile just to keep things oiled up. Actually, I sold it more than 15-years ago, but the sleep-induced fantasy that I still have it squirreled away makes me sleep better.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Corvettes, airplanes, and stock cars. The Kansas City area car shows, car cruises, and car races for August 12, 13, 14 2011

Looks like another great weekend for car events around Kansas City.

For example, the granddaddy of all Corvette shows is in Independence this weekend, when the Kansas City Corvette Association presents Vettes on the Square. The Leavenworth Cruisers Annual Car Show hits the quarter-century mark this year. The National History Museum at the Downtown Airport is having a car show—slash—airplane show—slash—dance. And there are car cruises in North Kansas City, Overland Park, Riverside, and Merriam.

Enjoy racing? Look for the USAC Sprint Cars at Valley Speedway, weekly dirt trackin’ at Winston, Heartland Park, and Lebanon. And straight-line action is in season at KCIR. Or watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series from the comfort of your own living room as they take on the road course at Watkins Glen.

Get the entire list of Kansas City car shows, car races, and car cruises by checking out the list below.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Corvette dealer promo models showcase America's Sports Car in 1/25th scale

Kids who love cars tend to gravitate toward car-related toys. Then, when they grow up, they often buy real cars. But sometimes, they still have a place in their hearts for the miniature cars they played with when they were kids, and a new form of automobile collecting strives.

Some of the most collectable, and often the most valuable, scale vehicles out there are dealer promotional models. For the purposes of this article, these will be limited to the plastic, 1/25th-scale cars that were originally sold or given away at new car dealerships.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Aviation Adventure Day at Kansas City's Downtown Airport was attractive to car nuts and aviation buffs

One of the car shows that we look forward to each year is the Aviation Adventure Day at the Charles B. Wheeler Airport in Downtown Kansas City. Unlike most of the events we go to, this one has a bit of variety, because you get to look at airplanes as well as cars.

We were over there on Saturday morning, and the conditions were a little less than ideal. It was raining, or trying to rain the whole time we were there, and when it wasn't raining, it was so humid it might as well have been. As a result, the car count was a little lower than what we saw there last year, at least during the time we were there. I suspect that business picked up later in the afternoon, though.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little history on little cars. Matchbox diecasts - a great way for a kid to burn through a buck

If you were a 10-year-old, and you managed to scrape a dollar together, what would you buy? Candy? Baseball cards? Maybe you’d try and save up for something bigger.

Well, when I was a kid in the 1970s/’80s, there was a K-Mart within bike riding distance from my house. And if I was able to lay my hands on a buck, there was a good chance I was going to buy a Matchbox car with it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Beat the heat with some cool car events. The Kansas City car show, car cruise, and car racing schedule for August 5, 6, 7

There are really some cool car events happening around the Kansas City area this weekend. OK, with the weather we’re having, they won’t actually be “cool,” but still, there are lots of good events happening out there.

The airplane/car show at the downtown airport on Saturday looks like a good bet. I went to this last year, and was very impressed with the turnout. Parkville’s cruise night is back in business on Saturday night in spite of the high river. And the Good Time Oldies car club is having their Puddle Jumper Days car show for the 18th time on Saturday. Plus, the Cruise to the K on Sunday is usually a pretty big deal.

Craving a little live racing? Unfortunately, Lakeside is still out of commission because of the Missouri River, but there are plenty of other ovals and drag strips operating this weekend from Lebanon, Mo., to Topeka, Kan. Plus, the Nationwide Series is fairly close to us in Newton, Iowa near Des Moines this week, while the Sprint Cup and Trucks are running in Pocono.

Take a look at the entire weekend schedule of events below. And don’t forget to drink a lot of water!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Chrysler man Rich Suhr lets go of some of his treasures. We take one last look at his collection during the Lincoln auction

“Leave it to you to make this into a car trip.”

We were in Lincoln, Neb., this weekend to visit some of my wife’s family, so before we took off, I got on the old Googler and searched for a cool car thing to do there. Isn’t that how everyone prepares for travel? Anyway, I’m glad I did, because it took us to Rich Suhr’s house in southeastern rural Lincoln, on the day he was auctioning off a huge collection of 42 old cars and a whole bunch of parts.