Saturday, August 16, 2014

All's well at the Fontanel

Since I’ve been in Nashville, the Fontanel Cruise in Whites Creek, Tenn., is fast becoming my favorite car cruise in town. Thursday night was the third time I have attended this one, and I doubt it will be the last. There’s just something about the atmosphere out there that I really enjoy. The scenery is so beautiful. The live music is a nice touch. There’s good stuff to eat. And there seem to be more and different cars every time we go. I even took the HMC truck out there for the first time this week. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.

My wife has declared on many occasions that the ’56 Thunderbird is her favorite old car of all time. So when she saw this one, she was understandably excited. This really was an outstanding example of the second-year Baby Bird. This pinkish hue, known as Fiesta Red, is stunning and correct. It has those ever-popular genuine wire wheels—four on the ground and one on the trunk! And it was restored to a very high level. If you like ’56 T-Birds like she does, it would be hard to find a better one than this.

If my dad had been there, he would have chosen this car as his favorite. It’s a ’53 Oldsmobile Super 88 two-door sedan. I wish he had been there because he could have told me everything there was to know about it and this review would have been better. I know it has the Fiesta wheel covers, which is a must on a car like this. The colors are a very subtle Cadet Blue over Acadia Blue. Under the hood you’ve got a 303-c.i. “Rocket” V8, good for 165-hp and 275-lb/ft of torque, all hooked up to a Hydra-Matic transmission. This was a nice, restored driver-quality car that looked like a lot of fun.

I tend to be a bit of an oddball when it comes to picking favorites, which is why I was attracted to this ’71 Pontiac Catalina convertible. I like the color—Cumberland Blue with a white interior. I like the 400-c.i. Pontiac engine that is advertised on the grille. I even think GM’s styling was in a pretty good place at this point in time. The vintage white Pontiac floor mats are probably impossible to keep clean, but they looked good in there. This one is ready to drop the top, pop in a CCR eight-track, and go back to the ‘70s.

I also can’t seem to get this ’89 Corvette out of my head. I almost walked right past it at first, because the wheels and aftermarket radio and exhaust tips made me think it was just another warmed-over, messed-around-with Corvette. But upon closed inspection, it became obvious that it was more than that. This thing only had 18,300 miles on it, which averages out to about 675 miles a year. The old car was unusual, because while most of these Corvettes came with leather, this one had the rarely-ordered cloth seat option. The old car was for sale, too. It’s a good thing I already have a car, or this one might be in my garage right now.

This ’69 Riviera is 20 years older than that Corvette, but it’s still a cool, sporty ride. The color is Verde Green, which I’m pretty sure means “Green Green” in Spanish. I think these were really good looking cars, with flawless, flowing lines and luxurious interiors. They were Buick’s entry into the personal luxury coupe classification, which at the time included things like the Cadillac Eldorado, Olds Toronado, Ford Thunderbird, and Chevy Monte Carlo. In other words, big, cushy cars with relatively small interiors. I’ll fire up my 430-c.i. engine and drive myself—you take the bus. I love that attitude on these cars.

There are 165 photos of Thursday night’s Fontanel Cruise in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. My Dad would have chosen the 53 Oldsmobile as well, Craig. I well remember that my Dad's favorite Demonstrator was a 63 Starfire Hardtop. Your articles are really great, nostalgic and interesting....................Roger Grotewold Grotewold Motor Company Chevrolet / Oldsmobile Dealer Larchwood, Iowa