Friday, February 7, 2014

Bring on the Spring

That’s it.  I am tired of winter.  You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing as much lately.  That’s because there just aren’t that many car events to go to right now.  This snow needs to melt, and the grass needs to start growing again.  And speaking of grass, let’s green things up around here a little.  I’ve got spring on the brain, so I decided to look at some green cars from various car shows around town.  I have shared a green album before, but this is new version, with some 150 more pictures.  I’m hoping that this will help everyone get in the mood for spring.  Because even  though it doesn’t seem like it now, car show season is just around the corner.

This 1930 Model A truck from Warrenton, Mo., was on display at the Goodguys show at Kansas Speedway in 2010 and 2011.  This is why it’s a shame that that show went away—it takes away from opportunities to see top-shelf cars like this.  Dubbed “Emerald Tide,” this is exactly how a traditional hot rod should be done.  The paint and workmanship is flawless.  The stance, tires, ’55 Dodge Lancer wheel covers, and even the three-carb-topped Chevy small block are spot-on.  This was a new build when I saw it, but it looks as good, or better than, many of the cars that made the cover of Car Craft in 1960.

Here’s a show-stopping ’58 Chevy Suburban that was for sale at the Mecum auction last December.  You rarely see them as nice as this.  It was a NAPCO 4X4 with a 235-c.i. inline six under the hood.  The four-wheel-drive makes it rare, but it was the stock presentation that really made it stand out.  From the tires to the options, this was as nice, or better, than it was new.  In the case of this particular truck, I cannot think of one custom touch that would have improved the looks.  I like customized cars, but not here.

Easily the greatest Kustom car ever built as far as I’m concerned was the Hirohata Merc, which was created by George and Sam Barris in 1953.  If you’re interested in these types of cars, I’m sure you know all about it.  It’s a ’51 Mercury, and it was treated to some of the most harmonious custom touches ever.  That chopped top with the curved side glass is absolutely lovely.  The actual car still exists, but the one in this picture is a faithful recreation, owned by Jack Walker of Belton, Mo.  You see it around occasionally.  This was at the 2013 Greaserama.  I could just study this car for hours.

This 1965 Peterbilt Model 251 was at the OOIDA Heart of America Trucking Show last fall.   This truck was photographed at Kansas Speedway, but it lives in Pleasant Hill, Mo.   It is simply breathtaking in person. Everything from the stretched and louvered hood, to the custom paint was planned out in meticulous detail. The vintage Mercury sleeper, low front bumper, and huge, chrome stacks all contribute to the effect. And the interior is just as impressive, with hardwood floors, leather and suede seats, and enough chrome on the dashboard to blind you on a sunny day.

In addition to being a new car dealer, Jim Raysik owns “Downtown Desoto” in Clinton, Mo.  This is a restored dealership that houses his vintage car collection.  So here we have a vintage car that is also a new car.  This ’76 Vega coupe had virtually no miles, and still sat on its original tires.  Now in spite of their reputation, I always thought these Vega coupes were great looking little cars.  Of course, I wouldn’t be comfortable enough in this car’s reliability to turn it into my daily driver at this point, but it’s still fun to look at.

This ’53 Hudson Hornet was at the Cruise to the K event at Kauffman Stadium last August.  It was really hot out when I took this picture—unlike now. 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.

So here come the pictures—517 of them in this album.  And they’re all freshly-mowed green machines for your viewing pleasure.  They even smell like spring.  Check them out in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.

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