Tuesday, August 23, 2016

2016 Wilson County Fair AACA Car Show

It’s county fair season, and folks around Nashville know that the Wilson County Fair is one of the biggest around. Even better, the AACA holds a big car show at the Wilson County Fair each year, so that makes it a must-attend event as far as I’m concerned. Attendance was down this year because it rained quite a bit in the morning, but the muddy conditions moved the show from the grassy field to the pavement surrounding the buildings. This turned out to be a pretty popular move, and it put the car show front-and-center among fair attendees. These AACA shows always draw a high-quality selection of show vehicles, and this event was no different. Let’s take a look at a few of the standouts.

This ’57 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer drew a crowd all day. These Forward Look Dodges had some of the best lines of any cars ever made, and they seem even more special because you don’t see them very often. The Custom Royal was the top dog in the Dodge lineup from 1955 to 1959, and this one had a classy look with its Moonstone Grey and Metallic Charcoal two-tone finish. These also had the power to back up that space-aged styling. The base engine in one of these was 325-cubes and good for 260-hp. Not too shabby. Look at it this way; they had special classes for 1957 Chevrolets at this show. I have never seen a special class for ’57 Dodges. This was an unusual sight to be sure.

Is this the world’s nicest 1963 Ford Falcon? Could be. It was definitely the nicest one at the fair. If you think all small cars in the 1960s were stripped down econ-boxes, you’ve never looked at a Falcon Futura. This was dolled-up from one end to the other, including a tri-toned, Mylar-encrusted interior, wire wheel covers, and fancy chrome moldings. Ford did offer V8s in their Sprint model Falcons, but this one was equipped with a 170-c.i. six. The color was Viking Blue, though, so I wouldn’t want to mess with it anyway.

Here’s your “best of show” winner in the stock class. This ’78 Pontiac Trans Am was exceptional. I wouldn’t have picked Laredo Brown as my first color of choice, but somehow it really works with all the gold trim. The grilles had also been painted gold for even more goldness. These cars have always been neat, especially by late-‘70s standards. The velour and checked seating material was nice. That machine-turned, gold dash applique actually looked like something special. And with “6.6-liters” under the hood shaker, these really were among the fastest cars you could buy at the time. Who’s ready for a beer run?

My personal favorite at the show was this ’65 Corvette coupe. This car didn’t strike you like a bolt of lightning or anything. There’s no big block; no side pipes; no aluminum wheels. It’s just a plain, Ermine White Vette with a Nassau Blue interior, full wheel covers, and a 327 under the hood. But sometimes it’s nice to see one of these that isn’t trying to be a street-legal racecar. This car appeared to be a mostly original driver. Very, very nice, but not “too” nice. Who wouldn’t want to own a car like this? I would love to have this car. What a great weekend cruiser.

This ’35 Ford pickup was parked next to my old truck all day, so it basically highlighted how crapy mine actually looks. The owner told me he’s had it 12 years, and it has undergone a complete restoration during that time. Trucks may have been considered utilitarian in 1935, but no one is doing any work with this one. That Dearborn Blue paint is danged-near perfect. I doubt Ford Motor Company even knew how to lay paint that nice in 1935. Everything about it, from the Flathead, to the tires and wheels, to the accessories, looked brand new. It just looks like a bunch of perfect parts were taken off the shelf, unwrapped, and bolted together. Old truck don’t get much nicer.

I love those old Cadillacs, and here’s a ’61 Sedan DeVille. Well, “sedan” is sort of a mis-classification, because these were actually four-door hardtops. The condition of this one is what you might have expected it to look like sitting on a used car lot in 1967. It’s a nice car, mostly original, with sympathetic use, not abuse. The color is Olympic White, which is good timing as the world’s athletes leave Rio. The interior was a combination of opulent leather and fabric, although it looks like the leather in the front seat was inserted with vinyl. This as a bright, cheerful place to spend time, and the factory air conditioning would make it feel as nice as it looks. And although those iconic fins were starting to get smaller in 1961, they were still pretty prominent. In fact, these cars had two sets of fins—on top of the quarter panels, and below the bumper!

I took around 300 photos from the 2016 AACA Wilson County Fair Car Show, including pictures of the many vintage tractors that were on display at the fairgrounds. CLICK ON THIS LINK TO SEE ALL THE PICTURES.


  1. The Wilson County Fair must be a pretty big deal back in Tennessee. The Truck, Tractor and Car Show certainly is a big deal with a such large number of vehicles in the event. I especially enjoyed seeing the tractors, especially the Minneapolis Moline Tractor. You see Craig, along with our Chevrolet Oldsmobile Dealership in Larchwood, Iowa, my Dad also sold those yellow and red tractors. I also really liked the picture of what looked like the old fashioned showroom with the 50's Chevrolet poster in the background, it really looks like a typical Dealership Office from those years and it kind of reminded me of ours. You really did a great job of taking many great photos of the show, as always....Thanks for the memories.................Roger Grotewold, Grotewold Motor Company, Larchwood, Iowa.

    1. That's good stuff. I know a lot of new car dealerships in small Midwestern towns also carried tractors back then. I don't write much about them because, frankly, I don't know much about them. They are fun to look at, though. That dealership-looking place is kind of a garage scene/clubhouse that the AACA has at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Definitely a cool place!

  2. Nice pic and nice display! Tom