Winding down the season at the Mafia's Pizzeria Cruise in Overland Park
We really have just about run out of car cruises around here this year. That’s too bad, because I know there are a lot of car guys just itchin’ to display their rides one last time. Luckily, there are a few late-season events, like the Mafia’s Pizzeria Cruise, which took place last Sunday in south Overland Park. Quite a few owners brought their cars out to take advantage of food discounts and T-shirt giveaways. It was a little overcast; a little breezy. But it was still nice enough to enjoy a great afternoon of fun.
I think one of the most impressive cars there was this ’56 Continental Mark II. They only made 2,550 of these in 1956, so don’t expect to see one on a regular basis. One of the reasons they are so rare is their price, which was an astronomical $10,000. You could buy five regular Ford coupes for that! This car has at least five-times as much cache, with their clean lines and chopped top look. This car said you were wealthy, but still had impeccable taste. This was a nice black car, but showed some signs of age. The interior had been done in black vinyl with red carpets and dash. By the way, these were not Lincolns; Continental was a separate division.
I think this is a ’66 Ford F-100 with a ’61 hood emblem, or maybe the other way around. The year is throwing me off a little, but the truck is worth a look. This little stepside had some great turquoise and white paint. And even better, the straight-six engine was hopped-up with an Offenhauser two-carb intake and custom header. This was a very cool example of one of these trucks, which seem to get better looking as time goes on. It just presented itself really well, and it sounded great when it drove by.
Here’s another stepside pickup that was surprisingly nice. Back when they were new, I thought these mid-‘80s Dodge pickups were horrible. I always wondered what would compel someone to buy one over a Ford or Chevy. But time has softened that opinion; especially after seeing one like this. The paint was smooth as glass. The wheel choice was spot-on. And the interior was finished in a cool houndstooth pattern. Suddenly, this ugly duckling has blossomed into a swan. Well, a red, V8-equipped Ram anyway. I never would have said this 15 years ago, but I really liked this thing.
Back in the early ‘90s, the Corvette ZR-1 was pretty much the fastest car you could buy in the world. I seem to recall them doing magazine articles on ’89 ZR-1s, but I guess they were first sold to the public in 1990, which is what this car is. For nearly double the cost of an already pricey regular Corvette, you got wider rear fenders to accommodate wider rear tires, a 375-hp overhead-cam LT5 engine that was designed by Lotus and built by Mercury Marine, and a valet key that would turn down the power if someone got behind the wheel that couldn’t handle it. This black-on-black example brought back memories of the car I lusted after in my mid-teens.
Here’s a ’75 Buick LeSabre convertible that caught my eye as it was floating in. This is everything people hate about the 1970s, but everything I love. The blue paint and white seats is light and refreshing. Having driven cars like this, I know how substantial they are and how comfortable they can be on the open road. This one looked great on its 15-inch Road Wheels. There was a little rust starting to bubble up on the quarter panels behind the wheel opening moldings. Rust was the Achilles heel on these old cars, though. The fact that this one even exists at all, not much less in such great condition, says a lot about how this car has been cared for over the years.