They don’t hold many car shows once winter comes along, so you have to find the old cars where you can. Luckily, St. Louis-based Gateway Classic Cars opened up a showroom in Nashville this year, so you can check out the inventory in indoor comfort. The large, well-lighted showroom offers a nice selection of mostly driver-quality classics, and if you find something you like, they’ll be happy to sell it to you. The inventory is always changing, so just because you see something here doesn’t mean it hasn’t already been sold and replaced. Let’s take a look at some of the stuff that was available during my recent visit.
This 1950 Cadillac Series 62 Sedan was one of my favorites. On paper, it really shouldn’t have been, though. This little four-door sedan is not the most desirable body style for one of these. Marlow Green is about at bland as you can get. The grey broadcloth interior isn’t even very opulent for a Cadillac. Nope, this is not the Cadillac most people dream about. But this car was nice—very nice. It was also mostly original. Condition is king. Suddenly, that color looks more dazzling. The interior, more inviting. Even the body style is more appealing. Almost any car that’s this nice is going to look good.
Almost. You can have the worst color on the least desirable ’50 Cadillac, and it’s still a ’50 Cadillac. How about a car that never had any redeeming qualities? Allow me to present the 1974 AMC Hornet Sportabout Wagon. This was not a desirable car when it was new. It’s what you bought if you needed a wagon this big and didn’t have a big budget. It didn’t get any more desirable 5-10 years later. But 40 years later, and this dismal nerd-mobile has suddenly become interesting. Again, the draw here is condition. This car really is a nice survivor. For all I know, it’s the nicest original ’74 Hornet wagon in the world. Every kid of the ‘70s rode around in some kind of car like this, whether it was a Vega or a Pinto or whatever. When you see things like this now, they give you a nice blast of nostalgia.
I thought this 1952 MG TD was one of the nicest cars there. It’s my favorite color—black with red guts. The red leather really are impressive here. The paint is nice. The real wood panel on the glovebox door is nice. It just looks like it would be a fun little ride in which to bomb around town. Plus, Nashville has a strong British car club presence, so you’ll instantly have something in common with an experienced bunch of enthusiasts. Jeff Lane, the owner and founder of Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum, first got interested in cars with a little MG like this. Who knows, it could lead to another automotive empire.
You can never go wrong with one of these ’66 Oldsmobile Toronados. Seriously, these cars get better looking all the time. This Ocean Mist example was mostly original and standing tall. No transmission and driveshaft hump here; these were GM’s first front-wheel-drive car. Sure, there was a huge 425-c.i. V8 ahead of the front wheels, but these cars were so heavy and smooth that torque-steer wasn’t much of a problem. This one had a white Strato-bench seat and factory air conditioning, and that drum speedometer is just cool. You can have this for $23,995, which is less than a new Camry. Of course that high-compression Rocket Olds engine will consume the difference in fuel, but I say it’s worth it to have a car like this.
I went ahead and took 178 pictures from Gateway Classic Cars, which you can peruse at you leisure in the slideshow below. Or, you may see a nicer version of the slideshow at this link. But remember, the only way to see the latest cars that Gateway has to offer is to go visit the showroom yourself.