Monday, March 9, 2015

400 Shades of Grey

Sometimes when I haven’t been to a lot of car events, it’s hard for a little brain like mine to come up with things to write about. All the movie links on my Facebook feed have had a lot of stuff about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I haven’t actually seen it, or read the books, but I do know something that comes in several shades of grey—cars! You might think everything you see at a car show is red, but I actually compiled a huge collection of grey and silver cars for my slideshow. Let’s take a look at a few.

Rendered in grey primer, George Mallory’s 1941 Ford has quite a history. This car was built into a "Kustom" by none other than George Barris in about 1951. And if it looks like it came straight out of an old magazine, that's because it actually did appear in several of them in the '50s. George will talk your ear off about every detail of his historic lead sled, which is almost as much fun to be around as looking at the car itself. This car has even been to the Grand National Roadster Show. You see it quite a bit at car shows around the Kansas City area.

This is a replica of the “Little Bastard” 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder that James Dean was driving when he was killed. I saw this car at the Leadsled Spectacular in Salina, Kan., and again last year at the Goodguys show in Nashville. That means I’ve been able to see it both in my old neighborhood and my new neighborhood. It sort of makes the country seem a little smaller. At any rate, the actual car was also customized by George Barris, and the numbers were painted on by Dean Jeffries. Some people thought the actual car was cursed, as even the wreckage and castoff parts were the cause of numerous injuries and deaths. Hopefully this recreation is luckier.

Here’s a Marol Grey 1950 Oldsmobile 88 that was for sale at Wagner’s Classic Car Sales in 2012. It had all the stuff—303-c.i. Rocket 88 under the hood, the right body style, nice interior. There were a few things that were less than perfect, but if it was perfect, it wouldn’t be any fun anyway. This car could make a neat driver, and far more unusual than a comparable Chevy at the local cruise night. At the time, the Olds 88 was considered a muscle car—small body, big motor. That’s why these were so successful on the NASCAR circuit.

I realize I'm in the minority here, but I'm usually not that into the whole Gasser scene. That being said, one of my favorite cars at shows around Kansas City was this silver Henry J Gasser drag car that looked like it came straight out of the pages of an early '60s Hot Rod Magazine. From the way it was finished off right down to the wheels and wide-whitewall drag slicks, this is a really neat little car. “Husslin Henry” never fails to draw a crowd.

“You build a time machine … out of a DeLorean?” I took the accompanying photo at the World of Wheels show in Kansas City, last year. Obviously, these cars get their coloring from the stainless steel body panels. Joe Pace from Paces Auto Body built that dead-ringer replica many years ago, and his car has become quite well-known nationally in DeLorean and Back to the Future circles. Joe actually did a little body work on the Hover Motor Company ’63 Chevy pickup, and it was kind of cool to have it sitting in the garage right next to Marty McFly’s ride.

This one’s pretty interesting. It’s a 1949 Kurtis Kraft that was on display at the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed. That museum is mostly dedicated to things like open wheel race cars, but this thing is less out-of-place when you realize that Kurtis was mainly in business to build sprint and Indy cars. They only built 17 of these little roadsters, and most of the stuff under the skin was ’49 Ford. These cars were pretty fast, and even broke some Bonneville speed records. Eventually, flamboyant car dealer Earl “Madman” Muntz purchased the tooling for this car, and it was reintroduced with several changes as the Muntz Road Jet.

This is a ’58 Corvette finished in Charcoal with Inca Silver coves and a Signet Red interior. They made 1,341 Charcoal Corvettes in 1958, making it the third most popular color. ’58s are probably the easiest straight-axle Corvettes to identify. They’re the first year of the quad headlights, but the only year for the fake hood louvers and chrome trunk straps. They also had an unusual vinyl interior that was similar to the texture of reptile skin. This one was on display at the Starbird-Devlin Custom Car Show in Wichita, Kan.

I would continue with my Fifty Shades of Grey story, but I’m tied up with other work. In the meantime, the photo album below contains more than 400 shades of grey and silver vehicles for your erotic viewing pleasure. Click this link for a nicer version.

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