Monday, October 7, 2013

Rare rides at the Hartman's Heritage Center Cruise for the Cure

Most people know that every Saturday night throughout the summer, the Hartman’s Heritage Center in Independence hosts one of the area’s biggest car cruises.  But there was a bit of a twist this weekend, because the event started a couple of hours earlier, and was presented as a full-fledged car show.  Known as the Cruise for the Cure, raffle tickets were sold in an effort to raise money for mammogram services at St. Luke’s Hospital.  I have no doubt that the donation was generous, because there were some great door prizes up for grabs, and the car count was sizable.

Among them was this 1950 Dodge Coronet Diplomat.  I’m really starting to appreciate these older cars more than I used to, and this was a nice one.  This is actually the first Dodge two-door hardtop, and I think it has a pretty good looking roofline.  I can’t say I’ve always been in love with Chrysler products from this time period, but the more you look at them, the more you realize that they were solid, well-built cars.  This car is relatively rare, too, as they only built 3,600 of them.  When was the last time you saw one?  Yeah, that’s what I thought.

You like your ‘50s cars with a little more flash, you say?  Well, they don’t get much flashier than this ’55 Mercury Montclair convertible, finished in a very 1950s shade of Arbor Green.  This was an impressive machine sitting there in a row of more common cruise night faire.  The owner stated that he bought it online, sight unseen, and it wasn’t as good as he had hoped.  But after a few years of getting the bugs worked out, he now has a real standout.  This was a car cruise, after all, and this Merc is a poster child for crusin’.

Moving up a couple of decades, here’s a fantastic 1970 Buick Wildcat convertible.  This was the last year for the Wildcat, which debuted as its own series in 1963.  This is such a great car.  It’s excessive, with a 370-hp, 455-c.i. lump of iron under the hood.  And it’s indulgent, with a moderate-sized interior to go with that long, sleek body.  You think this is just like the one your grandpa had?  Doubtful.  They only made a little over 1,200 of them.  Your grandpa probably had a regular LeSabre.

This 1973 Dodge Polara was meticulously detailed as a Missouri highway patrol car.  It had everything from the early speed radar equipment to all the safety gear in the trunk.  This was a big ol’ car, but with 400-cubes under the hood, it was ready for some high-speed chasing.  You just don’t see cars like this that are this nice.  They were either worn out back in the day, or some movie studio destroyed them on an episode of Kojak.  There was a lot to study on this one.

Finally, here’s a 1985 ASC McLaren Mercury Capri.  First of all, you didn’t see many Capris even when they were new.  And then, you saw even fewer McLaren anything’s.  How rare is this?  Try one of 150.  This had a 210-hp 5.0-liter V8 under the dual snorkel-style hood.  That might not sound too impressive now, but it was pretty stout in 1985.  And no fuel-injection here.  It all runs through a big Holley four-barrel.  This was a genuine, grey and orange muscle car, built at a time when true muscle cars were hard to find.

On to the pictures.  I took more than 450 of them in the harsh, glaring, late afternoon sunshine.  You can see them in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.

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