We’ve always been big fans of the Fontanel Cruise. With lots of great scenery, quality restaurants, and live music, it’s just a nice place to be. For 2016, they have changed the schedule to make it once-a-month, and they moved things one parking lot over. We made it out to the first cruise of the season, and as usual, there was a nice selection of classic cars and trucks to keep everyone interested. We even drug the old HMC truck out for this one. I’m surprised more Nashville folks don’t make it out to this event, because the setting is easily more pleasant than a busy parking lot behind some shopping mall.
This style Corvette isn’t normally considered the most popular of the bunch, but they have really grown on me over the years. This particular car was at the top of the heap in 1980. Black-over-red is the perfect color combination. It even has the L-82 engine option, which pumped up the horsepower to 230. Corvettes had new bumpers and ground effects in 1980, and they really had an overall fresh look. 36 years ago, this car would have been just as impressive as a new Stingray is today. Heck, I think it’s pretty impressive right now!
Of course, if you want to look at an impressive Corvette that everyone can agree on, you can’t go wrong with this ’65 coupe. As far as I’m concerned, the styling of this generation Corvette was nearly perfect. Nassau Blue is a nearly perfect color for one of these, too. This one should have a 327-c.i. Chevy small block under the hood bump, between about 300 and 350 horsepower. It’s also got aluminum wheels, gold-line tires, side pipes, and a four-speed. Out of everything there, if someone said I could keep one for myself, I’d go for this one. Of course, in real life, I doubt if he’d trade for a crusty old ’63 Chevy pickup.
Corvettes are great, but if you like something a little classier, how about this 1938 Packard Twelve Sedan? They only made 157 12-cylinder Packards in 1938, so you certainly aren’t going to see many of them in any body style. The engine was huge—473 c.i.—and cranked out 175-hp. That doesn’t seem like much for such a big engine, but it was pretty strong in the late-‘30s. Plus, smoothness was just as important as power back then, and these big luxury engines were very smooth. You have to admit, this thing is beautiful. You really can’t name another sedan built in the last 30-years that even comes close to this. It’s nice to see something like this outside of a Concours show.
In 1967, Mercury introduced their own luxury version of the popular Mustang. If the Cougar was the gentleman’s Mustang, the XR-7 was the gentleman’s Cougar. These really were nicer than a Mustang in a lot of ways. The interior was far superior, and they had great little details like the sleek hidden headlights and ribbed taillights. This Fawn example at the Fontanel Cruise would appeal to any Merc-o-phile, looking overall pretty original and sporting a 289-c.i. V8 under the hood. As bejeweled and fancy as these were, I could see them competing with Thunderbird sales maybe more than Mustangs. At any rate, this was a good one.
Here’s another car you don’t see very often. It’s a ’66 Rambler Classic 770 station wagon. I really haven’t studied one of these very closely, but it really is pretty interesting. When they designed these, they spent quite a bit of effort detailing the moldings, window frames, and trim. You might not think of a Rambler wagon as all that fancy, but upon closer inspection they’re pretty impressive. This one is a driver, with diamond-pattered velour upholstery and thick pinstriping. But it looks like a fun driver, and likely the only one you’ll ever see at the typical car show.