Monday, October 15, 2012

Time travel to the 1980s at the Olathe Bass Pro Shop PINK cruise

The PINK Cruise, sponsored by the Mustang Club of Greater Kansas City, got off to a rough start. It was scheduled for Saturday afternoon, but rain forced them to reschedule it for Sunday. And of course, when you have to change the date at the last second, it usually doesn’t help your turnout. The fact that the Chiefs were sort of playing on Sunday didn’t help either.

The Mustang Club made the most of it, though, with quite a few Pony Cars parked on the premises, all to raise money for breast cancer research. You tend to mostly get later-model cars at a club event like this. I think that’s probably because these folks use their cars on a regular basis, and take them to cruises and autocross events. For this story, I think we’ll focus on a few cars that were available in my youth. This is car show coverage, 1980s edition.

For many years, Saleen was considered a premiere Mustang tuner. In the ‘80s, they were given an almost European look, with huge (for the time) 16” lace wheels, air dams, spoilers, and stripes. They only built 190 hatchbacks in 1986, and here is #145. 210-hp might not seem like much today, but remember, this was the mid-‘80s. Times were tough for performance car enthusiasts, so cars like this were pretty exciting. I can hear the Mr. Mister cassette playing through those speakers now.

Here’s a non-Mustang from about the same period. I think this is an ‘87/’88 Fiero GT, and it’s an awfully nice one. I don’t remember seeing these in this good of condition when they were two years old, not much less 25 years later. I know Fieros had their faults, but I have always liked these. They look good, they’re sporty, and they have some really cool little details. Even the carpet is sweet. I haven’t been behind the wheel of a Fiero in 20 years, and I don’t know if it would be as good as it looks or just a big disappointment. But why ruin the dream? I’m sure it would be awesome!

And while we’re talking about interesting 1980s cars, let’s not forget this Buick Reatta. These hand-built Buicks were built between 1988 and 1991 at the Lancing Craft Centre. Essentially, they were an expensive, two-seat Riviera. Their in-dash touch screen (or Electronic Control Center in Buick speak) was way ahead of its time, and it probably didn’t help the car’s reputation. Of course, today, even the economy cars have a more complicated touch screen than the Reatta had.

When the newly-redesigned Camaro debuted in 1982, it was quite the sensation. The emissions-choked, sub-200-hp 305-c.i. small block wasn’t going to break any land speed records, but it sounded good and was at least pretty torquey. But what most people that have never been behind the wheel of one of these cars don’t realize is how nice they are to drive. They feel heavy, planted, and confident. You are enveloped in a very sporty feeling interior, and that leather-wrapped Z28 steering wheel was excellent. I wouldn’t mind owning another Camaro like this someday.

I took pictures of everything that was there when I was there. I didn’t stay for the whole thing, though, so there might have been a few more as the show went on. I know we met a couple more Mustangs on their ways in as we were leaving. There are 113 pictures in the slideshow below, or click on this link for an even better version of the slideshow.

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