Monday, August 11, 2014

Quality trumps quantity at the Grace Church Car Show

I’ve been itching to check out a good car show lately, so I was pretty excited to see a listing for the annual Grace Church Car Show in Nashville. This wasn’t a huge event, but the cars that were there were definitely worth looking at. If I know there’s going to be a ’54 Corvette on the premises, that’s an automatic must-attend event right there. So, BHo and I jumped in the Camaro (it was an air conditioning-type day) and headed to church. Here’s what we saw.

Surprisingly, BHo claimed that his favorite car was this ’71 Eldorado convertible. Maybe my influence really is starting to rub off on him a little. The Eldorado went through a considerable redesign in 1971, and this front-wheel-drive monster was about as indulgent as a car could ever be. Under that impossibly long bright red hood was a 500-c.i. V8. Five hundred cubes! This was made at a time when a Cadillac Eldorado was an honest-to-Pete status symbol. There’s not an automaker today that understands swagger like Cadillac did when this was made.

I told you there was a ’54 Corvette in the mix, and here it is. This was the second year for the Corvette, and only about 3,600 of them were separated from the fiberglass molds that year. The V8 was still a year away, so the only engine was a 235-c.i. inline six with three carburetors. I kind of like these cars because of their impracticality, though. You see all those cool Motorama dream cars they came out with in the ‘50s, and wish they actually built them. In this case, they did. This car didn’t even have roll-up windows; you had to insert the side glass after the top was raised. But the little details on these first Vettes were exquisite. I love studying these cars, and this one was a very original example.

This ’65 Mustang coupe had a neat custom look to it. I don’t normally lose it over gray cars, but this one worked with the white interior. The engine had a more modern look to its presentation, and there were air conditioning vents hanging under the dashboard to keep things cool. But it was the choice of wheels that really made this one stand out. These appeared to be Kelsey Hayes wires with the wide, smooth centers that you might expect to see on an early ‘50s Corvette (like the one I just wrote about). I don’t think I’ve ever seen them on a Mustang before. They did look good on there, though.

Since I talked about a Mustang, I should probably throw a Camaro in here too. This ’67 RS convertible was very attractive. Butternut Yellow looks just as smooth and creamy as the name suggests. The RS package included, among other things, those fantastic looking hidden headlights. This car even had factory air conditioning, which wasn’t always the case in an old convertible. The 327-c.i. V8 didn’t made this one the toughest kid on the block, but it still wasn’t a 40-lb weakling. It also makes this Camaro more drivable than some of its big block brothers.

Here’s a ’46 Chevy pickup. It has modern wheels and tires, but much of this rig was finished off with a vintage vibe. That’s especially true for the interior, which is rendered in two-tone blue rolled-and-pleated vinyl straight from the ‘50s custom playbook. The ’58 Chevy Bel Air steering wheel and Stewart Warner gauges completed the look. Those wheels they have on there are nice, but man, would this truck ever be a knockout with some chrome steelies, spider caps, and wide whitewalls. Not that my opinion counts for much—this truck is about 1,000-times better than the old heap in my garage!

If you’re saying to yourself, “I sure would like to look at 133 photos from the Grace Church Car Show,” right about now, you’re in luck. I just happen to have just that many pictures in the slideshow below. Or, click this link for a nicer version.


  1. Hi Craig,
    Roger Grotewold here from Grotewold Motor Company in Larchwood, Iowa. My brother Dwayne order one of the very first Corvettes almost a year in advance. We received the 13th 54 Corvette produced by Chevrolet. Pretty good for a small Iowa town of 417. I got to drive it when I came home from college at Christmas time that year. Boy was that ever an exciting time. Regardless of the winter weather, we had the top down and I got to drive it up to the Iowa and South Dakota State Line six miles away. I can still hear those dual pipes coming out of those Fenton Headers and exiting through the body when I accelerated on old Highway 9. Those were the days.........................RogerG

    1. That's definitely cool! I obviously wasn't around when these cars were new, so I love hearing the stories from folks who were there. I can only imagine how exciting it was for one of these to show up at your small town dealership. Thanks!

  2. Craig, Just this morning as I was looking at your latest car show at the church in Nashville, I happened to see the info on the right side of the site about old Chevrolet dealership photos in the Omaha Zone. Now I realize how and why our paths in life crossed. You happened to ask about the two Grotewold Dealerships on the internet and I responded with some answers. I did notice one photo of our Lemars Grotewold Dealership in your collection. I'm sure I have mentioned that with our Larchwood and Lemars Dealershps, we were the largest Corvette Dealer in the Omaha Zone. Sometime I will send you an email about some unusual rememberances I have about our dealerships, such as our owning an SR1 Corvette, etc. These photos sure do bring up so many nostalgic memories of my Midwestern upbringing from 1935 thru 1973. It is really neat to see that you and your son are doing this together now. He will remember these unique times the rest of his life. I'll include these comments in your latest Hover Website comment section............Roger Grotewold Grotewold Chevrolet Oldsmobile Motor Company, Larchwood, Iowa 1/17/15