Monday, August 27, 2012

Midwest Camaro-Fest draws more Camaros than the rest

I’ve always been a big Camaro fan. I’ve owned several of them over the years, and I miss every one of them after they’re gone. So how is a closet Camaro lover supposed to get his Camaro fix when he doesn’t have one in the driveway?

Well, around here, you can get your fill of Camaros at the annual Midwest Camaro-Fest, which is hosted by the Camaro Club of Kansas City. This is the premiere show in the area for Chevy’s popular Pony Car, and was held this year in the history downtown square of Independence, Mo. I’ve been going to this event for at least the last 11-12 years, and even entered a car or two along the way, so I can tell you firsthand that this club works hard to make this show the big success that it is.

This is the same location that held the big Corvette show in years’ past, but the Vettes outgrew this venue and had to move to the Great Mall this year. On the other hand, the Camaros didn’t seem to be in danger of overfilling the square at all. Some of that may be because of the cloudy, damp weather that hung over Kansas City Saturday, but I think a lot of it speaks to the mindset of these owners as well. Corvettes are more often weekend cars, purchased with the sole purpose of cruising and car shows. Camaros, because of their relatively affordable prices and backseat practicality, are often daily drivers. There are a lot more of them out there, but people are out there enjoying them more, and showing them less.

So which ones did I like? Ugh, that’s a tough question, because I would have been proud to own so many of them. Take this ’73 Camaro LT. This was a slick little bronze beauty with a civil 350 and factory air. It had a nice set of Rally wheels with ’67 center caps. I liked it because the clean, unmodified look is a nice change of pace, it wasn’t an SS or big block, which strangely enough makes this car stand out, and it’s the same year as me, although the Camaro seems to be aging more gracefully.

Sometimes flashy doesn’t hurt either, though. This ’69 RS/SS was hard to miss, what with that sparkling blue paint, hockey stick stripe, and 396 big block under the hood. Sitting on the correct-style Rally wheels and Goodyear Polyglass tires, this thing was the poster child for the picture-perfect muscle car. On one hand, I would love to have a car like this, but on the other hand, it’s really too nice for me.

As a kid of the ‘80s, I have an unhealthy love for the vaunted IROC-Z. My dad had a couple around as company cars when they were new, and I was always in heaven when he’d take me for rides in them. This example from 1987 brought back some of those memories. This was a really nice car, although the color combo was a little weird. That dark red metallic paint sort of clashed with the bright red interior. But I do like things that are different, and you aren’t going to see another one like this anytime soon. I’d like to take the T-tops out of that baby and drive the wheels off of it.

Lastly, check out this little ’68 convertible. This one just had a little 327 between the frame rails, but the interior was loaded with that pearlescent “Parchment” vinyl and a console with a floor shifter. This was essentially a no-frills kind or car, but it presented itself well and stood out among the crowd.

And that crowd I’m speaking about can be seen in its entirety in the 233-photo slideshow below. Or, click this link for a nicer version of the show.


  1. very nice article Craig - Thanks for all complimentary things you said about the club - there are some pretty great members involved in making this show what it is today - Love the pics - you even made my car look pretty good. Kathy Knapp - 2012 Camaro Fest Chairman

  2. good pics, thanks!

  3. Hey now, Kathy--that car looks good all on its own.

    Thanks, guys!

  4. Wonder what ever happened to my dad's 1969 RS, greenish-brown with a white top and nose stripe. People used to try to buy it off us at gas stations.