Monday, March 25, 2013

The KC Classic Auto Display has cars that are fun to look at and fun to own

I really do like looking around at the KC Classic Auto Display in Lenexa.  And when you get a weekend like the one we just had, there really aren’t any car shows around here.  That’s where a place like this really fits the bill.

This place typically doesn’t deal in blue chip collector cars, although sometimes a Shelby Mustang or GTO Judge does find its way into the dank warehouse.  More likely, you’ll see cars that you can have fun with; cars with character.  This isn’t Saturday night at the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction.  This is Friday afternoon at the Adesa Kansas City Specialty Car Sale.  And in some ways, the cars are more interesting to look at because of this.

Have you ever seen a 1958 Dodge Sweptside pickup?  Not many people have.  To combat specialty trucks like Chevy’s Cameo Carrier at the time, Dodge came up with the idea to tack station wagon quarter panels to the bed of their pickups and charge a premium.  The effect was, well, odd.  There were likely less than 2,000 of these made in three years, so they’re a pretty unusual sight today.  This one was obviously customized, including, unfortunately, a chopped top.  We were having trouble figuring out what the source of the front bumper was, when my dad eventually pulled “’58 Buick” out of the dark recesses of his mind.  I have to say, that was a pretty good guess, because he was exactly right.

This ’67 Corvette convertible would have to be the one I’d take if someone gave me a choice.  It had a 327, so I’d probably want to change to a small block hood.  But it had a hardtop and Rally wheels, so it definitely had some potential.  Plus, it wasn’t so over-the-top perfect that you couldn’t have fun using it.  And anyway, who wouldn’t want a ’67 Corvette?  Nobody wouldn’t want it—that’s who.

This Highland Green ’68 Shelby Cobra GT 500 is supposedly the real deal.  It has a big, old 428-c.i. mill under the nostriled hood, and only 14 miles on a rotisserie restoration.  Out of everything in the building, this was the Big Kahuna.  And with a price tag of nearly $140,000, it was much more valuable than anything else there too.  In fact, it was such a special car that it refused to allow me to take a non-blurry photo of it.  Such is the power of Carroll Shelby.

This is a fairly unusual one.  It’s a ’61 Dodge Dart Phoenix convertible.  Is this one of the high points in the Virgil Exner Forward Look design period?  I don’t really think so.  With those soft bodylines it looks like something that was sprayed out of a Ready Whip can.  And the fins point the wrong way.  And the taillights look like an afterthought.  That being said, I still like it. It’s almost so homely, it’s cool.  Add that to the rarity of a car like this, and you’ve got something that’s pretty desirable.

The slideshow contains more than 160 photos from my visit to the KC Classic Auto Display.  As usual, you can check them out below, or click on this link for a nicer version.