Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Even non-car folks like the Fontanel Concert Cruise

As you know, we’re big fans of the Fontanel Mansion Concert Cruise around here. For the June edition, my wife actually encouraged some non-car people to meet us out there. None of them strolled into the car show area even for a minute, but that’s the beauty of the Fontanel. You can go out there and enjoy the lush scenery, eat a nice dinner, and enjoy some quality music. Now for me personally, the car show is still the main attraction. I like the scenery and all, but cars are where it’s at. So I ditched the company for a while and perused the show field. As usual, there were plenty of nice rides to keep my attention. Let’s take a look at a few.

A ’54 Oldsmobile 98 was a big, wallowing whale with a catfish face and a two-tone treatment that looks like a pocketbook flap. And while that description doesn’t sound flattering, when you see one in person, it all comes together. The Copper paint covering most of this car appeared to be original, while the Maize Cream out back had been repainted. This was a pretty common color combination in 1954, and in the case of this Oldsmobile, came with a green interior. That interior, incidentally, was very nice and very original. I enjoyed looking at this car for quite a while, but I really got the full effect when I saw it leaving. It’s hard to see how long and low this car really is until you see it in motion.

There were three old Thunderbirds at this cruise; a gorgeous Fiesta Red ’56, a Colonial White ’57, and this Gulfstream Blue ’58. Now I really liked this car in spite of its side marker reflectors and curb-feelers. It wasn’t perfect in the traditional sense, but it was the perfect driver. The biggest deviation from stock is that it wears ’57 wheel covers, but that’s an easy fix. These Square Birds are great cars, and they have a beautiful, airy interior. The interior in this one was very nice, and mostly original. I loved looking at this car. I would love driving this car. If it wasn’t a Ford, I’d enjoy owning this car. If you’re an old T-Bird lover, this setup would be hard to beat.

I’m not an expert on the nuances that differentiate the model years of Volkswagen Beetles, but I know this one is newer than 1968 because it’s equipped with the “Automatic Stickshift” option. As the name implies, it was not really an automatic, and not really a stick. There was no clutch pedal, so the “clutch” was sort of built into the gear shift. It worked similar to a Fluid Drive in an old Chrysler. Most reports were not very favorable, as it wasn’t particularly reliable or user-friendly. One thing it had for sure was a great looking emblem on the rear lid. I liked the looks of this whole car. The red paint combined with the wide whitewalls makes this little Bug undeniably cute.

Here’s something that might be a future collectable. 1999 was the 30th-anniversary of the Trans-Am, so Pontiac built 1,600 of these special editions to commemorate that event. They were all Arctic White with white interiors, blue stripes, and anodized blue wheels. The color and stripes mimicked the original ’69 Trans-Am. They were all WS6 cars, which meant they had a real ram air hood feeding a 320-hp LS1. They also used a 30th-Anniversary Trans-Am as the Daytona 500 pace car that year. I actually think they look pretty cool, and these V8 F-Bodies are a blast to drive. Are they ever going to be worth the big bucks? I don’t know, but they have as good a chance as most anything built in 1999.

You’ll have a good chance of finding a picture of something you like in the slideshow below. I took 113 pictures, so it might take you a few minutes to get through it. Or, click this link for a nicer version.