Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Spectacular turnout for the 35th-Annual Bowen Campbell Auto Expo in Goodlettsville

Just on a whim, BHo and I decided to take a Saturday swing by the 35th-Annual Bowen Campbell Auto Expo at Moss-Wright Park in Goodlettsville. And I’ve got to tell you, this was one of the best car shows I’ve been to in a long time. I mean, I really liked this one. They had 39 classes of cars, but they pretty much all had one thing in common. They were nice. Sometimes when there are this many cars in one place, you’re going to wind up with a bunch of stinkers. Not here. The only real complaint is that it turned out to be a little more hot and humid than I think most people were expecting. But that’s a small price to pay to see a show like this.

In 1960, no one would have predicted that an Oasis Green Studebaker Lark VI would show up at a car show in 2016. What’s more, this car was dang-near perfect, inside and out. In 1960, it was not particularly desirable or aspirational. It was just wheels. The “VI” in this car’s name refers to the 170-c.i. flathead six, as opposed to the optional V8 that was came in a Lark VIII. It’s got no whitewalls, no radio, a three-on-the-tree, and little hubcaps. It was as exciting as a bowl of split pea soup, with which it shares its color. But something happened over the years. Now you look at this thing, and it draws you in because it is so plain. Few people thought to preserve or restore cars like this, so you hardly ever see them. Suddenly, the mundane has become cool. It may not be a hot rod, but it sure is fun to look at.

While we’re on economy cars of the past, take a look at this Ermine White ’63 Corvair convertible. These were pretty good looking cars, and the wire wheels were a common and desirable upgrade back in the day. Other than the modern radio, which was a little jarring, this car appeared to be very original. The Azure Aqua interior was exceptionally nice, but if you told me it was exactly the stuff that came from the factory, I would totally believe it. As Corvairs go, this was a god one. I love the color, I love the wheels, and I love that stick shift sticking out of the floor. Even if you’re not a Covair lover, you have to admit, this one is pretty neat.

Novas aren’t normally my favorite old Chevrolets, but there were a couple of them at this show that completely changed my mind. Take a look at this ridiculous ’69 Nova SS. It’s so pretty. Garnett Red paint combined with red bucket seats isn’t a bad thing. And let’s not forget that 396-c.i. L-78 big block connected to a four-speed transmission. The owner claims this setup is putting out 425-hp. That’s a lot of muscle for such a little car. I’d like to have something like this, but it’s probably more than I could handle. At least it was out here so I could look at it.

If there’s a better color on a 1962 Corvette than Honduras Maroon, I haven’t seen it. This one looked pretty classy with its Tuxedo Black guts soaking up the sun. 1962 was a big transition year for the popular two-seat sports car. It was the last year for the straight-axle, first-generation Corvette. But it was the first year for the 327-c.i. engine, narrow whitewalls, and less chrome trim. Advertisements said things like, “It’s a car worth driving. It runs like all get-out because it has a mighty 327-c.i. V8 engine. It stops, it changes direction with the speed and ease of a gazelle because of its knife-edged balance and great, huge brakes. It’s a car to make driving enthusiasts of us all …” You gotta’ love that old Campbell-Ewald ad copy.

You don’t see tons of ’56 Chrysler Windsors, so this four-door sedan is worth a look. As Chryslers go, this was about as nice as you could get without stepping up to an Imperial. A 331-c.i. V8 was no slouch with 225-hp. Even the interior was made up of interesting colors and patterns. The color combination of Crocus Yellow and Cloud White might make you crave a banana cream pie. This one had an interesting A.R.A. aftermarket air conditioning system that was likely installed at the dealership when the car was new. Like many factory systems of the day, it featured large vent tubes that extended out of the unit in the trunk through the package tray.

This ’62 Olds Starfire shows up at car shows all over town, and it is always worth looking at. General Motors basically took a normal Olds convertible and trimmed it out with enough chrome and stainless steel to make it worthy of the Motorama. The leather and chrome-drenched interior in these is the stuff of legend. There’s not one detail that the people that designed this car missed in there. Seriously, find the pictures of this car and study them. The valve covers are special. The door panels are special. The freakin’ pedals are special—and that includes chrome trim on the emergency brake pedal. There are chrome ribs on the floor mats, and a tachometer nestled in the stainless steel-trimmed console back when tachometers were rare.

I saw this ’72 Cheyenne once at an indoor car show, and it looks just as amazing in the daylight. 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 they don’t get much better than this.

This car show had so many desirable vehicles that I could just keep on writing, but I’m sure you’d just rather look at this pictures. With that in mind, I have a very large gallery of 500 shots from the Bowen Campbell Auto Fest, and YOU CAN SEE ALL THE PICTURES BY CLICKING THIS LINK.

1 comment:

  1. Once again, a great show and terrific photos indicate a successful and enjoyable time. As you mentioned, the quality and upkeep of the entrants displayed their pride in their vehicles. Thanks...Roger G Grotewold Chevrolet Oldsmobile Dealership, Larchwood, Iowa