Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Relaxing by the river at the 36th-Annual Show-Me Rods Car Show

Several years ago, back when I didn’t realize how lucky I was, I was the manager of I-70 Speedway.  One of my many duties there was to schedule car clubs to come and display their cars.  Then they could drive around the racetrack at intermission.  One club that seemed to make it every year was the Show-Me Rods.  They were always great to work with, and they brought some very nice cars to put on display.

The Show-Me Rods don’t seem to do business in my neighborhood, so I don’t really think about them much these days.  But this weekend I was reintroduced to the club when I took a little trip out to Sugar Creek to check out their 36th-Annual Car Show.  This event was held at the picturesque Labenite Park right next to the abnormally full Missouri River, so show-goers could watch the deep water rush by.

Since they’re called Show-Me Rods, let’s start off by looking at a rod.  This little chopped and channeled ’32 Ford coupe looked like it meant business with its gargantic Hemi engine and wide whitewall cheater slicks.  The gold seat was a pleated hump-straddling affair that really seemed to compliment the overall look.  And the top and trunk lid were covered in perfectly-punched louvers.  This was a nice example of this type of car—sort of an old school hot rod with a slightly modern bent.

I’ve always considered the ’40 Ford to be the quintessential early-‘50s hot rod, and this sedan was a great example.  First of all, you really can’t go wrong with black paint and bright red roll ‘n pleats.  Add a little period pinstriping and a Mr. Horsepower sticker, and the look is complete.  But this car didn’t eschew all modern conveniences.  There was also an aftermarket air conditioning system and late model stereo system to pamper its occupants.

Here’s a ’72 Hurst Oldsmobile Cutlass W-30.  The folks sitting around it told me Bill Pemberton bought it new.  It’s as nice as it can possibly be, no doubt about it.  Bill made the car his own, with things like gold-leafed “W-Machine” lettering and sporty little steering wheel.  It has modifications that you might expect someone to make in the 1970s.  I’ve seen this old car around for many years, and it never gets any worse for wear.

Of course, if you aren’t a hot rodder, there were some nice stock cars on display as well.  When people think of 1954 Buicks, Skylarks are often what comes to mind.  But this Special two-door hardtop is more typical of what left Buick showrooms.  This wasn’t a bad old car.  It sort of reminded me of what a used ’54 Buick would be like in about 1962.  It even had an ashtray full of cigarette butts.  Not perfect, but far from worn out, this is an old car that someone actually could enjoy more than if it were an expensive, old Skylark.  See that chrome checkmark running along the side of this car?  They call it a Sweepspear, and it is still in use on the current Buick Regal.

If you’re saying to yourself, “I wish I could look at 183 pictures from this show,” this is your lucky day.  There just happens to be that exact number of pictures in the slideshow below, or click this link for a better version.


  1. was at the show with three other friends and we were allshowing our corvettes but i notice no pictures where taken of them mu not like corvettes [ictures must be a car racial thing

  2. You obviously don't know me very well, because I love Corvettes. I guess I just missed you.

  3. To the anonymous corvette owning poster who complains that he didn't get his time in the limelight and calls you a racist while hiding behind his sheet.

    Shame on you corvette guy....this kind of behavior is why you guys get a bad rap.