Longbranch Cruise proves that the Kansas City car scene is still going strong
My family is in the final stages of our transition from Kansas City to Nashville, and I was back in KC over the weekend to meet up with family and friends. I also managed to take in a car activity or two, including the Longbranch Cruise in Overland Park on Friday night. They’ve usually got some nice stuff at this one, and since I haven’t been in town since the beginning of car cruise season, much of it was new to me. One of the things I’m going to miss about Kansas City is the collection of exceptionally nice cars out there. Here are a few examples.
This black-on-black 1965 Buick Riviera was absolutely gorgeous. From the quality of the paint to the correct Buick Road Wheels wrapped in tri-striped tires, this car illustrates the best of the Bill Mitchell era. The 445-c.i. Nailhead also powered the factory air conditioning, a necessity with those black vinyl seats. A sign in the windshield indicated that this car only had around 60,000 miles. I’ve seen two-year-old cars with half that many miles that didn’t look as nice as this one.
Check out this ’69 Barracuda. This one is finished in a very agreeable hue of Blue Fire Poly with a matching vinyl interior. Under the hood is a 375-hp 440-c.i. V8, which was the biggest mill you could get in any Pony Car in 1969. Rare? You bet. They only built 340 of these. It might be because you couldn’t get power steering, a four-speed transmission, or disc brakes with that big engine. But if you wanted something that you could just take to the drag strip, drop in “D”, and punch it, this was the car for you. And you could run the quarter in about 14-seconds—if you could keep the tires from breaking loose.
I know, yet another Corvette. But look at how pretty this ’62 is. First of all, how can you beat the way Roman Red over red looks on one of these. Never mind the fact that it has factory fuel injection sitting on top of that perfectly detailed 327. These were good for 360-hp. That’s an impressive number now, but it was almost unheard of in 1962. This was the first year for the 327, the first year for skinny whitewalls, and the last year for the first-generation, straight-axle Corvettes.
I’m a sucker for the full-sized Chevys, so I can’t let this ’70 Impala Custom go unnoticed. This one was finished in the very period color of Citrus Green with black vinyl buckets. The hood was closed, but it appears to have a 454 judging by the fender emblems, and factory air conditioning as evidenced by the dash vents. I’m probably the only guy in the world that likes these big Impalas like this better than a comparable Chevelle, but what can I say—I’m weird. You don’t really see many of these around anymore.
There weren’t too many ‘50s cars at this one, but this ’54 Ford Crestline convertible was pretty neat. It had everything you’d want—bright red paint, three-on-the-tree, and a V8. The interior wasn’t exactly stock, but the pleated red and white vinyl was fitting here. This Ford ragtop was made for this very thing. Get it out on a nice day, drive it to a car cruise, go back home in style. How can you not look at this car and smile?
I was really glad I stopped at the Longbranch Cruise on my way to dinner Friday night. There was a lot of nice stuff there, and it reminded me how much I’m going to miss the car shows in Kansas City. Check out the pictures in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.