I saw the sign promoting the upcoming car show at the Mt. Juliet branch of Wilson Bank for a week. I sort of figured it would be ten or twenty cars that the bank staff rounded up. Actually, this was an event for the Middle Tennessee Region of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), and there were not only a large number of cars, but there was a large number of good cars. I noticed the same phenomenon when I lived in Kansas City, too. Overall, I think the AACA draws an older crowd that not only can afford nice cars, but have enough experience in the hobby to really understand them.
You don’t see many ’55 Chevy Bel Air convertibles prettier than this one. The outside is India Ivory-over-Coral, and the inside is Shadow Grey and Coral. That’s an appropriate breakdown of color on a convertible. This one had some nice little goodies like the GM accessory bumper guards and power windows. Nothing was customized, and every little stitch of the upholstery or bolt on the engine looked just like it did when it rolled out of the factory. I like red and white ’55 Chevys too, but there’s something refreshing about seeing one in a more unusual color combination.
This ’56 Bel Air Sport Coupe wasn’t no slouch, either. This color combination is fairly unusual as well, and consists of Nassau Blue on the back and Harbor Blue on the front. Of course, most early Chevy V8s were painted orange, but the 265-c.i. plant in this ’56 was painted the correct bright red color. This was a really rare bird, because it also featured factory air conditioning and a three-speed manual transmission. It just had a lot of odd option combinations that added up to one stellar car. And besides—just look at how pretty this thing is!
This one is a little older than my normal field of expertise, but it’s very cool nonetheless. The sign proclaims that this 1913 Chevrolet Royal Mail roadster is the oldest known Chevrolet in Tennessee. That’s the kind of cool stuff that shows up at an AACA event. Chevrolet technically started in 1911, but the first real production models began rolling off the line in 1913. This was also the first year that the now-famous bowtie appeared. Just think about how much the world has changed in 102 years. I doubt there was one person at this show that was even alive when this car was built. Fascinating.
In 1977, the Pontiac Firebird really was one of the most powerful, best handling cars you could buy. The Formula had, well, the Formula. It wasn’t as powerful or extroverted as the Trans Am, but that 400-c.i. V8 was pretty stout for its day. This example here, finished in Goldenrod Yellow, had the W50 appearance package to let everyone know it wasn’t just a base Firebird. It looked absolutely right to me inside and out. It even had an 8-track player if you wanted to clank your way through some Rod Stewart or Andy Gibb.
You see a lot of nicely restored Chevy and Ford pickups, but you don’t see many Internationals like this example from 1974. Honestly, there weren’t even that many of these around when they were new. This was a 100 series, which was the lightest-duty International 4X4 you could buy, but it looks pretty heavy duty with the lift kit and five-slot mag wheels. This truck was restored to a very high level, which had to be a daunting task considering parts availability on these. It had an International V8 engine, a buddy bucket seating arrangement, and air conditioning. It may actually be the nicest one of these I’ve ever seen.
I absolutely love this ’67 Corvette coupe. I had a chance to chat with the owner for a couple of minutes, and learned that he has owned this car since 1970. The color is Marlboro Maroon, named after the long-defunct road course, and Tuxedo Black, named after the formal men’s suit. I’m told that the big block under the stinger isn’t the original engine, but with the way this car is put together, that doesn’t really bother me. The finned valve covers and American Racing Torque Thrusts give it just the right period hot rod look.