Friday, June 10, 2016

Nice cars indeed at Art & Speed

I was watching the Memphis news Wednesday morning when I heard about a food truck event at the Memphis Botanic Garden, and they mentioned that there would be a car show. That sounded like a good reason to eat a grilled cheese sandwich out of a Step Van. The “car show” turned out to be a display put together by Art & Speed, a classic car gallery in Collierville. I’m glad I saw them there, because it prompted me to go visit their showroom the next day. This is a really nice place with a great selection of cars. I mean it—seriously impressive. Let’s take a look at some of the standouts.

One of the cars that Art & Speed brought the food truck event was this ’59 Oldsmobile 98. I know—it’s a four-door sedan. But still, this thing is nice. It’s about as original as could be, and it has the minor battle scars to prove it. The odometer hasn’t even turned over 30,000 miles yet, which seems unbelievable for a 57-year-old family sedan, but the condition of the car confirms it. The color is perfect for a late-‘50s cruiser—Russet and Polar White, and a 394-c.i. “Rocket” V8 keeps things moving. It was not one of the most desirable cars in this collection, but it was one of my favorites.

Here’s another original old car with ridiculously low miles. This ’61 Chevy Bel Air only had 12,000 on the clock. This one’s a two-door sedan, which beats the two extra doors in the Olds for most people. I guess the Achilles heel in this one is that there’s just a 235-c.i. six under the hood with a three-speed on the column. I kind of liked it that way, because it really is unusual to see one that hasn’t been replaced with a V8. It doesn’t help the value, though. I suppose at some point someone will take this unmolested Fawn Beige cream puff and throw a 409 in it or something. I’m glad I got to see it this way, though.

Vintage wagons are popular these days, and few are classier than this ’52 Buick Roadmaster. With its Golden Sand paint and real wood accents, this is more like Cornelius Vanderbilt’s den than your typical grocery-getter. You could just sit in this thing with a mahogany pipe and take in the ambiance. Maybe read a leather-bound law book. Anyway, it’s nice. This one has a big ol’ 320-c.i. straight eight, but don’t worry because the hood is long enough to handle it. It also has some desirable creature comforts, like power steering and a period-correct Buick under-dash air conditioning system. With a few nicks and dings, this car might not have been perfect in the technical sense, but it looked just right to me.

If you’re more of a MOPAR fan, you’ll probably be interested in this ’72 Dodge Challenger. Again, this is a very original, well-cared-for old car. It’s not perfect; there are a few things that detract from it like that old God-awful Sparkomatic cassette player. But there’s no denying how dazzling the Top Banana paint shined, or how desirable that 340-c.i. V8 is connected to a four-speed transmission with Pistol Grip shifter. The new Challenger drew many of its styling cues from these Challengers, but it’s hard to beat the original.

In 1967, Chevrolet named the colors of Corvettes after famous racetracks. The Elkhart Blue on this ’67 Corvette was named after Elkhart Lake’s Road America in Wisconsin. They could get away with that, because these Corvettes were pretty racy. This one has a 300-h.p. 327, and it was the base engine. There’s a lot to like here, including a quality restoration, side pipes, aluminum wheels, and aftermarket air conditioning. I also liked the headrests, which is an option you don’t see all that often. The big block Corvettes get all the attention, but if you wanted a livable, drivable car that you could actually enjoy on the weekends, this is the way to go.

We did an article here awhile back on the history of the Ford F-Series, and you may recall that the first one so-named was in 1948. Here’s what they looked like—the forbearer of the F-150 they sell today. This model was known as the F-1, and it was very popular even back then. You could get a V8 in 1948, but this one has a 226-c.i. Flathead inline six, good for 95-hp. This one is finished in eye-searing Vermillion Red paint, and it has some nice touches like a period-correct under-dash heater and a beautifully finished chrome and wood bed. This truck is so nice you might not want to use it as a truck, but for something pretty to take to the local car cruise, you could do a lot worse.

I appreciate the folks at Art & Speed showing me around their showroom. If you love cars, this is a must-see. I took 231 pictures while I was there, and you can see them in the slideshow below. Or, click this link for a nicer version.

For more information, or if you would like to visit Art & Speed yourself, visit

Also, the link to the food truck event at the Memphis Botanic Garden is


  1. Beautiful display of automobiles with great photography. Tom

  2. Very nice pictures great to see the varity

  3. I photographed a fundraising conference here recently. What a wonderful place for photos. I almost always hate being anywhere at 6am, but this breakfast event proved an exception. The manger and his staff from San Francisco venues were extremely professional.