Saturday, June 21, 2014

Tri-Fives highlight the Fontanel Cruise

It’s summertime in Nashville, and that means the Fontanel Mansion holds their classic car cruise every Thursday night in Whites Creek. This week, the featured club was the Mid-Tenn Classic ’55-’56-’57 Chevy Club. So after a nice Italian dinner and live music at Café Fontanella, we walked outside for more live music and a neat collection of cars highlighted by shoebox Chevys. This is one of the more picturesque places for a car gathering. Normal people would probably be happy coming out here without the cars even. But I’m not a normal person. Let’s check out the cars!

You’d think my favorite car would be one of the Chevys, and normally you’d be right. It certainly wouldn’t be some old Studebaker. But then there was this one. It’s a ’57 Silver Hawk, and it is so strange, I couldn’t help but be drawn to it. The thing that makes it unique is the Seaside Green exterior paint paired up with a red interior. This car is largely original, and I believe it came this way. The owner told me he had the original build sheet with this combination documented on it as well. Beyond the color, this was just a super nice old car. The Silver Hawk was just under the Golden Hawk in the lineup, and was powered by a 210-hp, 289-c.i. V8.

There were some very nice Chevrolets, though. I really liked this Matador Red ’57 Bel Air four-door hardtop. It wasn’t the body style so much that I loved, but the condition. This car was original from the paint to the upholstery. Sure, it had been spotted in here and there, but it was just the way you want an original car to look. The other good part is that it came with rare factory air conditioning. The fact that it was 90 degrees kept me from driving my old truck out there, but the owner of this climate-controlled cruiser had no such concerns.

And then there’s this 1955 Chevy Nomad. It has long been argued that these were the best looking wagons ever made, and you could certainly make a good case for that with this example. The color is an extremely pleasant Regal Turquoise with an India Ivory top. It’s in above average driver condition and looked right inside and out. These cars were straight out of the Motorama era, with styling and chrome that looked as much like a concept car as a real vehicle. When you look at something as rich and lovely as this car is today, it’s hard to imagine that you could walk into a Chevrolet dealership and actually buy one.

Shifting gears a bit, let’s look at this ’70 Buick Electra 225 convertible. Yes, these are big cars. But beyond that, I think this is a really good looking car. Just because it’s big doesn’t mean they didn’t nail the proportions. The fact that it’s Fire Red inside and out, and rolls on a set of beautiful Buick Road Wheels doesn’t hurt it either. With 455 cubes under the hood, and this kind of presence, these were a real luxury car. But interestingly enough, that vinyl interior was the best you could do—Buick didn’t offer genuine leather as an option.

I really enjoy going to the Fontanel Cruise. It’s such a nice atmosphere that you almost forget how hot it is here in the summer. But if you want to enjoy this event in air conditioned comfort, check out the slideshow below. You can also click this link for a better version.

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