Thursday, December 19, 2013

Happy times at Happy Days Dream Cars

Some of the best places to go look at old cars in the Kansas City area during the winter are at the dealerships that specialize in them.  This week, my dad and I went down to Warrensburg, Mo., and checked out the inventory at Happy Days Dream Cars.  The selection was a little light because they recently sold several of their cars at the Mecum collector car auction in Kansas City, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t several interesting things to look at.  Let’s check out a few of the cars that could be yours come car show season.

One of the more striking choices was this ’55 Cameo Carrier pickup.  Now remember, back in the 1950s pickup trucks were generally considered tools—utilitarian pieces of equipment meant to do a specific job.  That’s not the case with the Cameo, though.  These were all about style.  Chevy tacked fiberglass fenders to the bedsides, rolled the rear pan, and trimmed the interior with lavish fabrics.  This was like a concept sport truck; or at the very least, the Corvette of trucks.  This very pretty example was hard to beat, although a small-block V8 under the hood instead of that Stovebolt would be the perfect final touch.  They only built 5,200 of these in 1955, so it’s always a treat to see one.

My gaze kept going back to this ’79 Cadillac Coupe Deville.  The color had a lot to do with it—Colonial Yellow paint and leather with no vinyl top.  It’s like a creamy stick of butter or something.  This one is only supposed to have 27,000 miles on it, and you definitely don’t see too many this nice anymore.  I even thought the wheels they put on it were cool.  These had a huge 425-c.i. V8 under the hood.  You’d think that would make them real hot rods, but my dad had a few of these back in the day, and they were built more for smoothness than speed.  They were only asking $12,500 for this car, which I thought sounded pretty reasonable.

This ’70 Ford Bronco was unbelievably nice.  It’s a four-wheel-drive with a 302-c.i. V8—really everything a classic Bronco fanatic could ever hope for.  The paint, the colors, just everything was so spot-on.  You remember when Hank Kimball used to drive a red one of these on Green Acres?  Well his was almost new, and it never looked even close to as nice as this one.  Of course, I can’t imagine anyone ever taking this off-roading ever again.  There are a lot of people who are big fans of these old Broncos, though, so it would be quite popular at the car shows.  $39,900 take it home.

This ’69 Boss 429 Mustang was likely the most valuable car on the showroom.  Happy Days touts it as one of the first 50 hand-built prototypes and the very first Candy Apple Red Boss Mustang made available to the public.  These Boss 429 Mustangs are extremely rare anyway (only 859 produced), and the hand-built part of the story makes it seem even more special.  Happy Days fails to list the asking price on their website, so I suppose it’s one of those deals that if you have to ask …

There was no information available about this ’58 Dodge Sweptside pickup, because they were obviously still getting it ready to offer for sale.  This is sort of the Dodge version of the Chevy Cameo that we talked about earlier in this story, but you see even fewer of these.  They were a little odd, because the bedsides were actually Dodge station wagon quarter panels grafted to the stock Dodge truck box.  The proportions are just off on these.  But it doesn’t really matter, because that’s part of their charm today.  Since this one was on the lift, I got a good look at the underside.  It was absolutely spotless under there.  With a restoration this slick, you can bet that there will be a large price tag to go with it.

Take a look at all the cars and trucks that were on display on the Happy Days Dream Cars showroom in the slideshow below.  Or, click this link for a nicer version.

And for more information about this place, visit

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