Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The San Diego Auto Museum is interesting, but not overwhelming

I just got home from a little field trip to sunny San Diego. And although there are all kinds of beaches and attractions that would appeal to normal people, I went ahead and spent my leisure time checking out a few car-related destinations.

One of them was the San Diego Auto Museum. Located in an area with several other museums in Balboa Park, the San Diego Auto Museum is a combination of spectacular and not-so-spectacular.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Lots of nice rigs at the Mid-America RV Show in Bartle Hall

In the relentless pursuit to cover all things vehicular, we made a stop at the 2012 Mid-America RV Show in Kansas City’s Bartle Hall. And although there was not even one ’69 Camaro in the place, it was still interesting to see all the latest in luxury-level camping.

As someone who never really was all that interested in this stuff, I was surprised at how nice some of these modern motor homes and trailers were. Many of them were clearly nicer than my house (although storing a model car collection may be a challenge), and they had the price tags to match.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The San Diego Auto Collection features beautiful cars for a beautiful city

As a lifelong Midwesterner, I really am awe-struck when I visit cities like San Diego. It really is beautiful there, with the vastness of the ocean to the west, and the rugged mountain ranges to the east. Things like palm trees and lemon trees are fascinating to me. Even the stucco and terra-cotta architecture stands as a reminder that you ain’t in Kansas anymore.

But then, you look out of the airplane window at all the congestion. From one end to the other, there are houses and buildings crammed in so tight that if they were any closer they’d be on top of each other. The traffic’ll suck the life out of ya’. And if my little Kansas City-area house was worth what it would be in San Diego, I could live in a mansion on Ward Parkway. There’s definitely a price to pay to be surrounded by all that beauty.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Alternative fuel vehicles are nothing new. Check out the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car

These days, there’s a lot of talk about alternative fuel vehicles. From hydrogen to electric, from flex fuel to bio-fuel, automakers are always in pursuit of the next big revolution.

This phenomenon isn’t new, however. Since the beginning of the automobile, engineers have tinkered with different types of propulsion. Production and concept cars have run on everything from alcohol to nuclear. And 50-years ago, Chrysler’s answer was the Turbine Car.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Life in the fast lane - A look inside Fast Lane Classic Cars in St. Charles

If you are watching the Barrett-Jackson auction coverage from Scottsdale on the SPEED channel this week, you may notice a few commercials for Fast Lane Classic Cars in St. Charles, Mo. And seeing as they’re right down the road apiece from Kansas City, now seems like a good time to find out what that place is all about.

Fast Lane is a pretty big place, with two indoor showrooms, an outdoor used car lot, and a comprehensive gift shop. There’s a large variety to cars to look at, but the majority of them are your mainstream Mustang, Corvette, ’57 Chevy fare. That’s for good reason, because this is a dealership, and there will always be customers for the classics.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Shiny bikes and acres of leather at the 2012 Wide Open Bike and Car Show

Warning … several animals were skinned in the making of this story.

In spite of the unusually nice winter weather, we haven’t had a car show in the Kansas City area for quite some time. So when the Wide Open Magazine Bike and Car Show turns up on the calendar each January, people are typically ready to go see a room full of shiny objects.

This year, the show moved from its traditional location at the Kansas City Market Center to the Overland Park International Trade Center. And from the looks of things, the spectator turnout was quite a bit greater.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Planes, trains, boats, and automobiles. The St. Louis Transportation Museum is rich with fascinating history

Here's a switch. I recently attended a place with a cool car museum, and yet, even I will admit, the best displays at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation weren't necessarily the cars.  As a car-nut, it pains me to say this, but the vintage train collection is one of the most impressive things you'll ever see.  Still, no matter whether your interests include planes, trains, boats, or automobiles, there was something for everyone in this comprehensive gathering of transportation history.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The 2012 North American International Auto Show draws attention from all over the world. Photos and coverage from the NAIAS floor in Detroit

When you think about all the old cars that we normally look at here, do you ever wonder if today's cars will be looked upon in the same way in 40, 50, 60 years? What are tomorrow's classics? What will people be driving to the local car cruises?

One of the biggest new car shows in the world is held every January in Detroit, Mich., where the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) previews the newest and hottest offerings from most of the major auto makers. The actual show doesn't even open until next weekend, but I was there this week for the exclusive media preview days, and I brought back pictures and news straight from Detroit's huge COBO Hall.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fancy flames - putting the "hot" in hot rodding

When you decide to go all-out custom, there are few things that put an exclamation point on your statement as loudly as a flamed paint scheme. They can make or break whatever style you’re going for, and unlike changing a set of wheels, they can be pretty permanent. So if you’re looking to get in on this, it isn’t a bad idea to see what other people have already done.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Don't forget the St. Louis Car Museum

If you’re looking for a wide variety of vintage tin, the St. Louis Car Museum just may be the ticket. From full-on Classics, to hot rods, to muscle cars, their 50,000-sq/ft showroom has a little something for everyone.

When we went to the Gateway City last week for our car story recon mission, I didn’t really have this place on my radar. I’ve seen their ads on occasion, and they had cars at the Mecum auction in Kansas City last month, but it just didn’t register when I headed out.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

MOPAR Maniac discovered on the streets of Kansas City

You know how sometimes you’re driving along, and something catches your eye that you have to check out? Well that happened to me the other day when dad and I were cruising by a used car lot in Kansas City, and saw about 25 mid-to-late ‘60s intermediate Chrysler products parked nose-to-tail and bumper-to-bumper.

Granted, this wasn’t a stash of Hemi ‘Cudas or something of that caliber, but it was still obvious that we had a MOPAR nut on our hands. I had to know more.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Hyman Classic Cars is like a Concours d'Elegance held in a dank warehouse

As the winter season is upon us, I'm starting to run out of car things to write about in Kansas City. So we headed a few miles east of town to a little place called St. Louis to tour some of the great car collections on the other side of the state.

I've heard about Hyman Ltd. Classic Cars for years, and even seen many of their cars at auctions and car shows here in KC. But I really wasn't expecting the number of quality of cars that Hyman had to offer. I'm not sure I've ever seen so many extremely high-end vehicles all in one place before in my life. It truly was like strolling through a Concourse d'Elegance. In fact, the very 1937 Delahaye 135 MS Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet that won best of show at the 2000 Pebble Beach Concours was sitting right there in the lobby.