Friday, January 22, 2016

Choice Chevys and much more at the 25th-Annual Nashville Auto Fest

The 2016 Nashville Auto Fest was the latest in a quarter-century of winter car shows at the historic Nashville Fairgrounds. Participants came from all over the Mid-South to show off a great selection of hot rods, classics, and muscle cars. This is my second year in Nashville, and my second Auto Fest, so I liked it enough to make it two-for-two. And why wouldn’t I? Winter gets to be pretty long when there are no cars to go check out. This event is definitely highlighted on my calendar. I just wish they had one every week!

My favorite car was probably this ’62 Chevy Bel Air two-door hardtop. It had practically everything you could ever want in one of these. Naturally, it was Roman Red with black tires and dog dish hubcaps. Of course it had a 409 with a four-speed. There was even a die cast that looked exactly like it sitting on the air cleaner. This thing was so nice that the hubcaps were in the trunk so the paint didn’t get knocked off the wheels. The only possible drawback to this car was that it is so nice, you really wouldn’t want to drive it anywhere. If you like these cars, and most people do, you’d love this one.

Here’s something that was also nice, but you normally wouldn’t expect it to be. This ’55 Chevrolet 3800 stake bed truck was built to work. You would typically expect to see something like this on a farm, which is more-than-likely where this one had been. But somewhere along the way, it was treated to a lavish restoration. The paint is beautiful. The wood in the bed floor is of the same quality as fine furniture. There are new gauges in the dash, but the Stovebolt still remains under the hood. It was by far the nicest old farm truck at the show. You could even buy it for $32,500, which seems pretty expensive, but try restoring one for that.

I almost always gravitate toward ’67 Corvettes, and this one had more character than most. This Marlboro Maroon beauty was mostly original, and had the dings and chips to prove it. What’s more, it earned those battle scars, because this car had 240,000 miles on the clock. It was driven in comfort, with a 327, factory air, and a Powerglide automatic transmission. This is how you wish all Corvettes were treated. It was definitely used, but not abused. The high mileage doesn’t hurt a car like this; it only adds to the history. You could spend a lot of time studying this time capsule. Hopefully no one ever fully restores it, because there aren’t enough of them out there like it.

This ’72 Chevrolet Cheyenne long bed was a stunner. Frost White on the roof, Meadow Green on the upper edges, more Frost White in the middle, and another layer of Meadow Green on the bottom gave this rig an upscale look. The Dark Green seat was kind of a clashing choice, though. This truck was loaded with factory options, including air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, tilt steering wheel, and deluxe gauges. It was also restored to within an inch of its life. I like that they did it to factory specifications, with details like the original-style BF Goodrich bias-ply tires and simple painted wood bed. You see this series of trucks in lots of different configurations, but one like this is at the top of the food chain.

I made it through the story exclusively featuring nice, stock Chevrolets, so I guess I’ll write about one more to make it perfect. This is a ’55 Bel Air rag top, and a nicer one you will not find. You could have purchased this at the same dealership as the stake bed ’55 Chevy truck that I wrote about above, but this one was considerably more luxurious. Do 1950s colors get any more perfect than Coral and Indian Ivory? The seat and carpet were accented with impeccably-stitched shadow grey inserts. Chevrolet’s revolutionary 265-c.i.small block V8 and a Powerglide kept things moving along, and factory A/C kept things cool.

There were other nice Chevys, and lots of cars that weren’t Chevys, at the 25th-Annual Nashville Auto Fest. And even if I didn’t cover them here, I probably took some pictures of them. You can see all the pictures in the slideshow below, or click this link for a nicer version.


  1. Hi Craig, Glad to see you publishing another car show. It's been awhile. A couple of questions and a comment. That appears to be a 78 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car. My brother Dwayne purchased one of these for the window sticker price and put it away undriven. At the time the Chevy dealers were selling them for $2000 over MSRP. He thought that it would escalate in price, if he kept it for a few years. Though he did get a decent price for it, it was nothing like he expected. My next question is: That looks like a Silver Chevy II with a really unusual looking 6 cylinder engine with 4 carbs. Is that correct and the owner simply constructed and chromed a beautiful valve cover for it?.....Roger Grotewold, Grotewold Chevrolet Company, Larchwood, Iowa

    1. It seems like a lot of guys stored those '78 Corvette pace cars. I've probably seen 15 or 20 of them over the years with no miles on them.

      I'm pretty sure that's just a hopped-up Chevy inline six on that '67 Nova. Pretty slick, though!

  2. Great pics, always....Tom