Monday, March 10, 2014

Vintage cars from the 2014 Greater Kansas City International Auto Show

When you go to an event like the Greater Kansas City International Show (GKCIAS), you expect to see the latest and greatest new cars, trucks, and SUVs.  What you might not expect to see is a first-rate classic car show.  But if you were in Bartle Hall over the weekend, that’s just what you saw.  Several groups had vintage iron on display, including the Kansas City Automotive Museum (KCAM), the Art of the Car Concours, the Heart of America Corvair Owners Association (HACOA), and the auto show itself.  So if you’re one of those people that says, “they don’t make ‘em like they used to,” there was still something for you at this event.

This fuel-injected 1963 Corvette coupe was on display with the KCAM.  If was provided by Vintage Vettes in North Kansas City.  Now Daytona Blue is a relatively common color on a ’63 Vette.  But this one had a red interior, which is very unusual.  I’ve never even seen one like this.  At first blush, it would be easy to speculate that this car did not originally come this way.  But you never know.  There were some odd color combinations that made it out of the factory in those days.  I can’t say for sure one way or another.  But I will say that I thought it was pretty cool looking.  Sometimes it’s good to be different.

This ’66 Corvair convertible in the HACOA display is everywhere.  Car show season hasn’t even started year, and I’ve already seen it at the Starbird show in Wichita, at the World of Wheels, and here.  This is a crazy car, because the flat-six was replaced with a 215-c.i. aluminum Oldsmobile V8. The owner stated that the car had been built in New York, and it was quite a job. Heavy plumbing was required to connect the rear-engine to the front-mounted radiator. But somehow, it all came together to look “right”. Still, you have to wonder, if Corvairs handled as scary as Ralph Nader claimed, how wild would one be with a V8 behind the rear axle. No matter; it is a neat little car.

Another car that really makes the rounds is this gorgeous ’53 Buick Skylark, which was in the KCAM display.  Along with the Cadillac Eldorado, the Oldsmobile Fiesta, and the Chevrolet Corvette, the Skylark was like a General Motors concept car that you could purchase off the showroom floor.  Of course, it was outrageously expensive, and they only built 1,690 of them.  The owner told us he has driven this car on some long trips, and we see it around often enough to know that it’s no trailer queen.  But that doesn’t diminish from this car’s undeniable presence.  It’s so pretty.

The Art of the Concours had some pretty high-end Classics in their display, including Don Armacost’s painfully impressive ’31 Studebaker Speedway.  Armacost owns a private museum in Grandview that features Studebakers, but this has to be one of the crown jewels of the collection.  I remember reading a feature about it in Hemmings Classic Car.  Only 100 of these cars were built, with a primary focus on chasing land speed records.  Normally you see it with the beige top up, but it looks pretty racy here with the lid popped.

This ’53 mercury Monterey coupe was on display with the KCAM. It features some mild ‘50s hot rod touches, like two carburetors on its dolled-up flathead, hand-painted pinstriping, and a spotlight. I actually saw this car in the Vintage Vettes showroom awhile back, but it was in pieces at the time while they worked on it. It looks great now, though.  I even like the color.  If you like it, Vintage Vettes will probably sell it to you.  They were asking $26,500 when we stopped in there a couple months ago.  You’d have the only one on the block!

This ’32 REO Royale is owned by Vic Macek. The Maceks have a repair shop, and they used to work on my cars when I lived closer to Mission.  The little sign they had with the car had all kinds of interesting factoids, like this was the first car ever to be tested in a wind tunnel, only 48 of them were built in their four-year production run, and only eight of them still exist today.  All I know is that anybody that maintains a car this nice is probably a good person to have work on my old junkers.  Actually, I’m not sure if I’m worthy to be their customer.

The GKCIAS ran a Facebook contest where you could enter your classic car and beg your friends to vote for it.  Ten cars would then be in the auto show, and people could again vote on their favorites in person.  I actually entered the HMC truck, and finished eighth in the online voting.  But then I learned that a panel of auto show experts would override the voting and make the final decision on which ten would be allowed in.  Alas, the old truck didn’t make the cut.  This ’48 Lincoln Continental did, though.  And it should have.  This is a nice car that you see at car shows pretty often around here.

There are 149 photos of old cars from the 2014 Greater Kansas City International Auto Show in the slideshow below.  Check ‘em out, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. Craig,
    All Corvairs came with a flat 6, not a flat 4. Not trying to be negative, but I had four Corvairs, three Monzas and one Corsa and I happened to notice this in the Corvair article.
    Roger Grotewold
    Grotewold Chevrolet Co.
    Larchwood, Iowa
    Lemars, Iowa

  2. in re : the blue and red Corvette. My guess is that it was special ordered that way; why, I dont know, but if it were 'incorrect' I imagine someone would have changed it during refurbishment/restoration. I know I would, original or not...
    Way back in the day - 1979 to be exact, a local person ordered that same colour combo on a Corvette. Friends tried to dissuade him to no avail. The dealership tried also. regional sales office bounced it back twice assuming the salesman had made a mistake on the order form, then basically refused to turn the order in. Central sales [guess technically you could say the car was a COPO...] even called the dealer thinking there was a mistake. When they were assured that such was what the customer wanted, the car was produced.
    In approximately 3 months the new owner was ordering all new interior pieces from the same dealer in black...