Thursday, October 20, 2016

Streetside Classics in La Vergne is where the cars are coming from

If you’ve been following this blog for any time at all, you know there are a lot of car shows out there. But where do people get all those cars? Certainly, some people inherit them, build them, find them in barns. But not everyone wants to go through all the hassle. For them, places like Streetside Classic Cars exist. You can drive right up to La Vergne, Tenn., walk into an air-conditioned showroom, and take your pick from hundreds of detailed, show-ready classics. The thing that got me about this place was how nice most of the vehicles actually were. Whoever they’ve got out there buying these things must know what they’re doing. Of course, I went there and poked around the other day. Let’s check out some of the standouts.

I’ve never had a mullet, I don’t have a barbed wire tattoo around my bicep, and I’ve never been in a bar fight. And yet, in spite of the usual stereotype, I am a fan of this generation Camaro. By 1991, they weren’t exactly slow. I think they look great. And they ride and drive with a heavy, confident feel. The one at Streetside was like the ultimate example of one of these. The Z28 was the top-of-the-line back then, and this one only has around 10,000 miles. I haven’t seen one that looked this new since, well, since they were new. This would be a tough car to own. On one hand, it is awesome that something was preserved this long. On the other hand, I’d really want to drive it, which would obliterate that ultra-low mileage. What to do, what to do?

Take a look at this 1967 Oldsmobile 442. Now, in ’67, the 442 was a sporty trim level based on the Cutlass Supreme. In ’68, the 442 was considered its own model. So this boxy ’67 was the last of its kind. If you like red, this is your car. It’s bright Spanish Red on the outside, with red vinyl on the inside, and even rolls on redline tires. The inner-fenders are also red, indicating this was equipped with the W30 package. Other than a set of somewhat hoakey looking aftermarket gauges, and what appears to be a later-model steering wheel, this 442 is the perfect alternative to the more common Chevelle or GTO. A big ol’ 400-c.i. V8 with better than 300-hp hauls this stylish intermediate down the road with ease. $50-grand, and it’s yours.

Here’s a ’55 Chevy Two-Ten two-door sedan. This pale yellow was called Harvest Gold, and it’s set off with an India Ivory roof. Unlike some ’55 Chevys, only the roof was two-toned, not the rear quarters and trunk. If it had been two-toned that way, there would have been a little extra piece of chrome trim at the back of the quarter panel under the side molding to separate the colors. Green and white might not seem like the color combo that they would pair up with this for the interior, but in real life, it looks fantastic. That Del Ray interior is great looking, too. I kind of like it better than the up-level Bel Air interior. This car has been dolled-up a bit with accessory bumper guards and trim rings (I’d ditch the fender skirts, though). It’s one of the nicest Tri-Fives I‘ve seen in a while. Very sharp.

This ’40 Ford Deluxe convertible is listed for the exact same price as that Two-Ten--$47,995. And like the Chevy, it is a very nice car. I actually think this one is mostly original, with maybe a refresh here and there during the past 76 years (again with the under-dash aftermarket gauges). Garnet Maroon is always a nice, ‘40s color for one of these. The interior is finished in correct-appearing tan leathery vinyl. The “Ford” logo script on the tires is another great touch. You could get tires like this when the car was new. Coker Tires reproduced them for a while in the recent past. On this original looking car, they are almost a must. There really wasn’t much to complain about here.

’60 Pontiac Bonnevilles are cool cars—there’s no denying that. With their wide tracks, low tops, and tri-toned interiors, these Ponchos really stand out. The convertible at Streetside was a nice car with the potential to be even better. Someone resprayed the Skymist Blue paint to a fairly high standard. The leather is 56-years old, and shows its age. If the car was 100% original, I’d be fine with that. But since parts have been restored, I’d probably consider reupholstering it at some point. The worst part about this car is the white letter tires. There should be some kind of jail time attached to putting those on there. The first place I would even consider driving this car would be to the shop that installs the correct-sized white whitewalls. It would improve the curb appeal on this car 1,000%. $34,995 doesn’t seem too outrageous for a cool ad unusual cruiser like this. It would be fun to use immediately (minus those damn tires!), and there are things that could be improved upon as time and budget allows.

I obviously enjoyed my visit to Streetside Classics, because I ended up taking 262 pictures there. Check out the entire photo album by clicking this link.