Several years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum at Graceland. It was fun to see the cars and all, but it was a dark, impersonal place that didn’t allow flash photography. That all changed with the opening of the brand-new Presley Motors Museum. The museum is part of the new, $45-million “Elvis Presley’s Memphis” entertainment complex that just opened in March, and it is a much better venue to display the King’s cars. In addition to the car museum, you can see archived Elvis memorabilia, watch Elvis movies, browse several gift shops, eat a peanut and banana sandwich in one of the restaurants, or buy tickets to tour the Graceland Mansion.
Well, the 2017 Daytona 500 is over. Kurt Busch earned his spot in NASCAR history and will be enshrined on the Harley J. Earl trophy. From the early days of racing on the beach, to the iconic two-and-a-half mile tri-oval, Daytona has had its fair share of historic moments. Luckily, there is an effort to preserve some of that history, and you can see quite a bit of it with a Daytona VIP Tour. We were there a few months ago to see this exhibit firsthand, and as usual, I brought back a few pictures to share.
My 13-year-old son hated trudging through flea markets and antique malls. Unfortunately for him, his mother and I enjoy going to places like that. A couple years back, someone gave the kid a Custom Barracuda Hot Wheels car at a garage sale. The Barracuda was one of the original 16 redline castings introduced in 1968. He did a little research, and found out how collectible a Hot Wheels redline can be. Now, our junking excursions are a little more tolerable for him. If we run across an interesting car that doesn’t cost a fortune (usually 12-bucks or less), we’ll grab it for him. You can be sure that he pays a lot more attention to what he’s looking at. The residual effect is that he’s amassed a nice little collection of Hot Wheels redline beaters. Last weekend, he helped me stage some photos of the cars in his collection so I could put a story together. These things are always more fun with an assistant.
Swap meets. I do enjoy them. They’re like the flea market, which I also like, but without all the antique furniture and vintage Christmas decorations. Nothing but the car stuff. Heaven. I’ve been to hundreds of automotive swap meets over the years, and although I don’t tend to buy all that much, there is that occasional treasure I can’t live without. But more than that, it’s just fun to walk around and look at everything. The Stones River Region AACA held their annual swap meet at the Tennessee Fairgrounds last Sunday, and of course, I was there. And thanks to the power of the Internet, you get to go there too.
I don’t know about you, but when I get through the Christmas holiday season, I’m ready to go do some car stuff. In Nashville in mid-January, that means the Nashville Auto Fest. 2017 marked the 26th year for this indoor car show and swap meet, and as always, it was nice to see some shiny cars under the florescent lights at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds. These things had been squirreled away in peoples’ garages all winter, and they needed to be aired-out. There was a little something for everybody, so without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the standouts.
A new president takes office this week in our nation’s capital. And it so happens that we were recently in Washington, D.C., so I’m using this as a tie-in for a car-related story. The Smithsonian’s Museum of Transportation is usually included on lists of car museums, so naturally we had to go here. Truth be told, there weren’t many cars to look at, though. Cars are presented as appliances here. They have a collection of cool cars hidden in their catacombs, but they aren’t available for public viewing. Really, all of Washington, D.C. comes across as anti-car culture. The streets are jammed with hideous red and silver taxicabs, police cars, and black SUVs. Personal cars are typically rough, beat-up hoopties that reflect the harsh traffic and parking issues that clog the streets. I snapped a few pictures, though, and there are a few interesting things if you squint hard enough.
Tennessee’s first snow of the season took place this week, which means it’s time for the 6th-Annual Tennessee Motorama. This indoor winter car show moved from its original home in Murfreesboro to the new the Wilson County Expo Center in Lebanon. And although the salty, snowy roads kept a few show cars away, there were still several vendors there selling a nice variety of automobilia. It might not have been the biggest turnout based on the circumstances, but it was still worth the short trip north of Nashville. I know I’ve been getting a little stir-crazy for a local car show.