Friday, May 9, 2014

Fontanel Cruise packs a bunch of cars in at Barbara Mandrell's old place

The big car event in Nashville last Thursday night was the weekly cruise at the Fontanel Mansion. Like most of these places, I had never been there before, and didn’t really know what to expect. What I found was one of the coolest places to have a car event I’ve been to in a long time. The Fontanel was originally Barbara Mandrel’s 27,000 square-foot log home, but now it’s used for private events. There are zip lines, restaurants, an amphitheatre, the world’s only Goo Goo Clusters store, and much more. And everything is surrounded by rolling hills, lush grass, and green trees. It’s really pretty out there.

I hadn’t planned to park in the car show, but when I arrived in my plain, white 2012 Camaro, a guy waved me in. I parked in the back, and a couple of people came right up to the car. I figured I had parked in the wrong spot or something. Actually, the Music City Camaro Club was the featured club at this show, and they had a whole bunch of Camaros like mine there (well, most of them were better than mine, but they’re related anyway). They seemed like a fun group of people, and they really like their Camaros, as I’m sure you can tell from the pictures.

Here’s a really nice Pontiac Bonneville station wagon. I’m guessing on the year here, but I’m going to put it at about 1984. I’m bringing it up because of its condition, which is remarkable for this kind of car, and also because I remember our neighbor having one like this. She was a Tupperware lady, and she sold enough Tupperware that they provided her with the blue-and-wood wagon. Hers had a little rainbow sticker in the back window that identified her as a Tupperware lady.

Here’s something with a little more power. This is a ’70 Buick GS 455 Stage 1 finished in a refreshing combination of Aqua Mist with a white interior. Don’t let the tropical color scheme fool you, though. This car is a beast. Stock, this would have produced 360-hp and a stump-pulling 510 pound-feet of torque. I’m not sure if this car was stock or not. It looked like it under the hood, but those wide drag radials wrapped around the rear steelies would indicate that the owner is using this car competitively. This is quite a car however you want to look at it.

It seems like I’ve been commenting on a lot of old Mercurys lately. I’m not sure why there are so many nice ones down here—must be something in the water. This was a nice ’64 Park Lane convertible. This one was really striking with its two-tone blue interior and chrome-drenched dashboard. The horn button had “XXV” featured in it, commemorating the 25th-anniversary of the Mercury brand. This was a pretty high-end car in its day, and would have competed with something like an Olds Starfire.

Finally, let’s look at this ’57 Thunderbird. That’s not just white—it’s Colonial White. And those seats aren’t just black—they’re Raven Black. This car looked like a pretty nice driver, and those genuine wire wheels always stand out on these cars. But what made this one unique were the three carburetors and velocity tubes under the scooped hood. The only thing it was really missing to make it a true ‘50s hot rod was a four-speed.

I took 162 photos at this. They don’t really convey how nice this atmosphere was in real life, but you can at least see what the cars looked like. Check them out in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.

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