Monday, August 26, 2013

Cruise to the K brings good luck to the Royals

It’s always fun when a car show is tied into one of Kansas City’s major attractions, and that was the case on Sunday when hundreds of old cars headed to Kauffman Stadium for the 4th-Annual Cruise to the K Car Show.  And even though this was one of the hottest days so far this year, a majority of the car show folks stayed for the Kansas City Royals vs. Washington Nationals game.  All-in-all, I’d say it was a pretty successful event.

It was also an opportunity to see several cars that we don’t normally see.  Take this ’58 Cadillac Eldorado Seville.  The last time I saw it was at the Art of the Car Concours, and I didn’t spend enough time with it there.  Just look at how pretty this car is.  And you know, they only built 855 of them.  These had 365 cubes under the hood with not one, not two, but three two-barrel carburetors, and a whopping 335-hp.  This was a special car when it was new, and it is still a very special car today.

So Cadillacs aren’t fancy enough, you say.  Well, this had to be the first car cruise I’ve ever been to with three Rolls Royces in the lot.  Two of them were brown sedans, but this 1971 Corniche Drop Head stood out.  It had fat red leather seats, gleaming Porcelain White paint, and only 21,000 miles.  It even had the requisite jar of Grey Poupon sitting on the glove box lid.  You may also notice that my crusty old truck is parked behind this car, surrounded by Rolls Royces.  I think I might have had a packet of mustard from Burger King stashed in my glove box.

There were lots of Corvettes at the K, but this Ermine White over Bright Blue coupe was one of the best I’ve seen in years.  This car was as original as could be.  As best I could tell, the paint, the interior vinyl, and everything under the hood looked just like it did when it rolled off the St. Louis assembly line.  It had a 327 with a four-speed, wood steering wheel, and factory air conditioning (!).  I really like looking at nicely restored old Corvettes, but I will always find a stellar original like this one even more interesting.  What.  a.  car.

There were several car clubs in attendance, including members of the local chapter of the Police Car Owners of America.  I especially liked this ’57 Ford Custom Tudor Sedan, which was decked out in the livery of the DeSoto Police Department.  This car had everything from the gumball on the roof to an early speed radar unit.  Just the collection of vintage police gear was enough to keep you studying this car for a long time.  When this car pulled in, my son BHo said, “it’s like the police cars from Highway Patrol.”  How many nine year olds do you think could reference Highway Patrol?

There was also an inordinate number of Hudsons at this event.  Both BHo and I chose this ’53 Hornet as our favorite.  The “Twin H Power” setup under the hood combined a 308-c.i. flathead straight six with two carburetors and a couple of the most potent-looking, red-painted air cleaners ever installed on a car.  These were good for 145-hp.  That was actually pretty strong in the early 1950s. And of course, everyone knows how the low center of gravity on Hudson’s step-down design made these exceptional-handling cars, especially on the NASCAR circuit.

Before the game, several cars had the chance to make a lap around the ball field via a fan vote.  I’m pretty sure you had a better chance of winning that honor if you had the backing of a large car club.  It was definitely cool to watch them circle the perfectly-manicured lawn.  Luckily, everyone resisted the temptation to race out across there and do donuts.  By the way, the Royals beat the Nationals 6-to-4.

There are 319 pictures in the slideshow below.  Or, click on this link for a nicer version.

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