Friday, August 28, 2015

Relaxing at the Fontanel Cruise

It was Thursday night in the summer time. That means it was time for the weekly car cruise in the prettiest location in Nashville. The Fontanel Mansion hosts this event, and they always do a nice job. As usual, there was live music, food to eat, and beautiful, tree-covered hills in the shadow of Barbara Mandrel’s old house and amphitheater. Cruise participation has been a little light lately, which seems strange to me considering the enjoyable location and nice weather. But the car owners and their families that did show up were all having a nice time.

You can rarely go wrong with a ’55 Chevy Bel Air Convertible. This one was mildly modified, but pretty similar to the way it rolled out of the factory. The interiors of these are hard to improve on, so this one was simply restored to a high level. I’ve always liked those genuine Chevrolet accessory wire wheel covers. Under the hood you would see aftermarket cast, finned valve covers, headers, and a modern air conditioning compressor. Paint was similar to Gypsy Red, which was offered in 1955, but maybe a little different. You could get a beige top, but not exactly like this. It was a nice car that had a few of the owner’s personal touches.

Someone clearly spend a lot of time and money on this ’64 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight two-door hardtop. Everything about this car suggests big budget quality. Inside, you had a modern leather interior with all the power accoutrements. A lack of chrome and billet aluminum wheels enhanced the clean looks on the outside. A 6.0-liter Vortec GM V8 powered everything from the air conditioning to the rear wheels. The basic shape of this car may have been conceived in the 1960s, but the driving and luxury experience is straight out of 2015. This is the kind of car you could drive to California without much fatigue. Your biggest danger might be falling asleep at the wheel because it is so relaxing.

When Chevrolet introduced the Monte Carlo in 1970, it quickly became one of the most popular personal luxury coupes of its time. These early Monte Carlos look even better when they’re finished in a pleasant hue like Misty Turquoise. Personally, I like them better than Chevelles (the two-door Monte Carlo was built on the four-door Chevelle platform), but you see fewer of them today. This one has ’67 Chevy Rally Wheel centers, which is always a strong choice. Inside, it had the thickest, most contoured bench seat I’ve ever seen. It almost looked factory, but clearly this owner wanted a little more comfort than the original flat bench could provide.

I’m actually not sure how you tell what year this Model T Fordor Sedan is, but we can get it narrowed down to the mid-1920s. That makes this car about 90-years-old, which is pretty impressive. I think the wheels are probably from the Model A era. This car has lots of room inside, and it actually looks pretty comfortable in there. Maybe no other car has had as much impact on the history of the automobile than the Model T, and even today it doesn’t look out of place sitting with new Corvettes, hot rods, and other specialty cars. The familiar Model T may be old, but it never ages.

You want to see some car pictures? I’ve got car pictures. There are 138 of them from last Thursday night’s Fontanel Cruise in the slideshow below. Or, click this link for a nicer version.

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