Monday, October 8, 2012

AACA Antique Car Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence is a nice change from the typical car show

For four decades, the Lawrence chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America has been hosting one of the better car shows in the area at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Lawrence. No, it might not get the most cars. But it gets some very good cars. I really enjoy it because it has sort of a flavor that you can’t get at the typical hot rod/muscle car-packed extravaganza.

This is more of an original old car show. Heck, this is an original old car guy’s show. It represents one of the best facets of the old car hobby, and a group of people that unfortunately seems to be fading away as time goes on.

The featured marques at this event were the Ford Model T and Ford Model A. Of course, the local Model A clubs are pretty strong around these parts, so they sort of dominated that portion of the show. They sure are good old cars, though. I see some of the same cars at every corner of Kansas City and beyond, and they just seem to keep chugging along with no problem at all.

Here’s a Model A-based car that isn’t at all stock, but has a great history. Back in March, I visited Dean Weller’s amazing car collection a few miles down the road from where this show took place. When you get done, you really should click on that link, but the gist is that at 86-years-old, Dean literally hand forms and builds cars like this all by himself in his shop. This car wasn’t even close to being done when I saw it, and the only reason I even recognized it is that Dean showed me a sketch of what he wanted it to look like while I was there. Just knowing the story, I absolutely loved seeing this car completed and out on display.

I really thought this 1950 Hudson Pacemaker convertible, owned by Darrell Alexander, was a pretty thing. The yellow paint and contrasting red leather combination is hard to beat, and all that fancy wood on the dashboard and overall presentation of this car was really impressive. And it was just so perfect. I would be afraid to drive something this nice. A rock chip could make a guy suicidal!

And speaking of pretty yellow cars with red interiors, here’s another standout. This is a ’53 Buick Special convertible, and it isn’t often that you see one of these in this condition anymore. In fact, I’d go as far as to declare that you see more of those very limited production Skylark convertibles than you do these little Specials. But even as a low-level Buick, this car really made an impact with me. I can think of several ’53 Chevy convertibles that I’ve seen this year off the top of my head, but I can’t even remember the last time I saw one of these.

Here’s a 1950 Oldsmobile 88 two-door sedan. Back in the day, this was considered a real muscle car. It had a smaller body, like a Chevy, but that big 303-c.i. “Rocket” V8 under the hood made this baby a real screamer. There’s a reason these babies cleaned up on the NASCAR circuit. In 1950, this car was as exciting as a new Camaro SS would be today.

There were no less than three Studebaker clubs in attendance at this meet. I’m actually not even sure if I’ve ever seen this many Studebakers all in one place outside the Armacost Museum. I’ve always kind of liked these Gran Turismo Hawks. They were designed by Brooks Stevens, so they have sort of a cache about them anyway. Under the skin, they were not hugely different than cars dating back to 1953, but they were pretty. This black ’62 was brought to the show by Les Bartels of Topeka, Kan.

Are you more into old Cadillacs? Vintage Volvos? MGs?  '50s Fords and Mercurys? There were all kinds of interesting cars and trucks to look at—even though there was not one Corvette while I was there! And even with a relatively smallish field of cars, I still managed to take 326 pictures. You can see them in the slideshow below, or click this link for a better version of the slideshow.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... Z28's , RoadRunners, GT Fairlanes and a Lotus Europa at an AACA show ; who'd a thunk it? Dude, we're getting old...
    Good pix and as you said, the people who care about these cars, actually any cars, are thinning out. Enjoy em while you can!
    And thanx for taking the Cosworth Vega images - really like those.