Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Hartman Heritage Center Cruise Night in Independence is really freakin' big

For all the different car shows and cruises I’ve been to in Kansas City, I’ve never been to the one at the Hartman Heritage Center in Independence.  And that was a serious oversight.  Because I can tell you that it probably ranks in the top three of all local cruises based on attendance.  This was hundreds of cars.  And the crazy thing is that they do this every Saturday night throughout the summer.  It’s a wonder there are enough cars left in town for anyone else to hold a cruise night.
Of course, when you get this many old cars together, there are going to be a bunch of favorites.  For example, there was a ’74 Laguna S-3 there with a 454 big block and swivel seats.  And it was parked next to a ’73 Monte Carlo, also stuffed with big block power.  Plus, as we were leaving, we met another white ’73 Monte Carlo coming into the show.  I’m a big fan of the old Colonnade style of early/mid ‘70s GM intermediates, and seeing three of them at one show is pretty rare.

Oh, and in keeping with the 1970s theme for a second, there was also a ’73 Caprice four door hardtop (and another 454).  No one else would probably ever give that car a second look, but since my dad always drove Caprices as Chevrolet company cars, I probably rode in hundreds of these when I was growing up.  My first ride home from the hospital was in a ’73 Caprice, and my sister came home three years later in a new ’76.  Dad owned a few of this vintage along the way too.  It just brought back some memories.  This was a pretty nice car, especially considering how prone to rust these were.  It could stand a little detailing, though.  I’d love to get my hands on that car and get to work.

There were a number of ’57 Chevys, as there are at most car shows.  But parked in a line of three-in-a-row was a Surf Green Bel Air Convertible, and it was a pretty thing.  It was cool and refreshing like whipped pistachio salad, and the interior almost looked like a place you could hang out even on the hottest day with the top down and never break a sweat.  And on top of that, it was also a pretty nice car.

There were lots of great hot rods in attendance.  I really liked the traditional look of the ’36 Ford coupe in the picture here.  But there was a whole selection of high-boys, low riders, and lead sleds to satisfy any rod or custom jones.  These are the type of cars you’d expect to see at Goodguys or Sedalia, but there were quite a few of them in this parking lot.

There were quite a few Corvettes, and several of those were ’63-‘67s, which you know I love.  One of the more interesting ones, I suppose, was a heavily modified red roadster that mimicked the look of the 1963-up Grand Sport cars that Chevrolet showed and raced back in the day.  The one at the show was actually a real attention-getter, although the ‘70s GM sport mirrors and ‘80s leather-covered steering wheel take you out of the moment a bit.  Nonetheless, there was always a crowd around this high-quality car.

Do you like your old cars a little more original and subdued?  How about this nice ’40 Mercury convertible?  This car was neat as a pin, with its Flathead V8 under the hood, and cool accessories like a bumper guard and driver’s side spotlight.  This is just like the one your grandpa bought new.

I went crazy with the pictures this time, but luckily digital photography is cheap.  The slideshow below has 417 pictures, so it’s going to take you a long time to get to my old ’63 Chevy truck at the end.  Or, click this link for a nicer version of the slideshow.


  1. Took a while like you said, but certainly worth the time. Some really great cars there - don't know where to start. One that did stand out to me though was the 57 that has been painted, what appears to me at least, 'Evening Orchid/Iris Mist'. I have always loved that colour, and started to paint my 55 said hue many years ago, but didn't stand to the strength of my convictions. I was wrong - shoulda gone ahead and squirted it that way as it looks fab on a shoebox Chevy.

  2. Now I know why the NKC show was empty last night. Have to check this out nextweekend.

  3. We actually stopped by NKC on the way home, but there were only five cars left, so we just drove on. We were pretty late, though.

  4. Craig:
    Now THAT looked to be a great show to attend.
    I really like all those "rods N mods", and that yellow WIllys Jeepster takes the cake!
    Love the '40 Ford coupe, too!

    And who wouldn't find that black NOMAD wagon nice?
    Ditto for the Jaguar XKE drop top!

    Excellent slide show (as usual)
    Happy Motoring!

  5. the LAST SHOW WILL BE AUG 29 !!!!!!! 2015 !!!!!! AS per owners of MALL by request of store owner !!!!!