Thursday, January 26, 2017

2017 Nashville Auto Fest

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.

This Roman Red ’61 Corvette was particularly outstanding. Not only does it have the desirable 315-hp fuel injection, not only is it all original except for a high-quality repaint in the early’70s, but it only has around 32,000 miles on the clock. If you’re in to stock, original straight-axle Corvettes, this is like a dream car. The owner tells me all the mechanical bits in the fuel injection system are well sorted, and he regularly drives it around his neighborhood to keep things oiled up. I’m pretty familiar with ’61 Corvettes, so I tend to nitpick them more than other things, but honestly, there was just nothing to complain about on this one.

If you’re a MOPAR guy, you might be more interested in this ’69 Plymouth Road Runner. B5 Blue looks downright dazzling under these lights. No, it didn’t have a Hemi, but that 383-c.i. V8 between the frame rails was plenty powerful in its own right, and most likely more drivable. I love all the little cartoon references on this, including the Roadrunners on the front fenders, the “Coyote Duster” decal on the air cleaner, and the horn that “meeps” just like the Roadrunner did on the Warner Brothers cartoons. Little hubcaps and redline tires didn’t hurt the high performance vibe either.

I was kind of smitten with this ’68 Bel Air two-door sedan. It was for sale for $19,500, which really didn’t seem all that unreasonable. It wasn’t a muscle car by any means. It was just a little 307-c.i. V8 with a three-on-the-tree. It’s actually kind of refreshing that somebody hasn’t already crammed an old 454 in there and tried to pass it off as an original 427-c.i. sleeper. The car is so nice, it certainly wouldn’t be hard to pull that off. Even the color, Ash Gold with a black vinyl bench seat, was sort of low key. Those flat center caps were only available on Rally Wheels for 1967, but it would be easy to switch them out with the ’68 sombrero type, and maybe exchange the white letters for some redlines, to really round out the looks of this car.

Speaking of 1968-style Rally Wheels and redline tires, here they are on a stunning ’68 Chevelle SS. This car was pretty, pretty in Grotto Blue, and it rolled off the assembly line with that 396-c.i. big block. One interesting tidbit about this car is that it has Buick Skylark seat upholstery instead of what normally came in Chevelles. Evidently, a small number of ’68 Chevelles were built with Buick or Oldsmobile interiors. This car was one of 23 in this particular configuration. I never knew that until I read this car’s information board and went out for a little more research. When I first looked at it, I just thought it had the wrong seat. It’s even cooler like this, though.

This is one of the most unusual takes on a customized ’55 Nomad I think I’ve ever seen. They went to a lot of trouble to incorporate styling cues from a ’56 Corvette into this. The Corvette grille teeth are a relatively common modification. Adding the chrome side trim to form the cove is a little less common. Completely changing the shape of the quarter panels to accept the flat Corvette taillights is a very unusual choice. Before Chevy put the Nomad into production, the first Nomads were Corvettes that toured the show circuit. I suppose this sort of pays homage to those. One thing’s for sure; you’re not going to see another one like it.

What you can see are about 200 pictures from the 2017 Nashville Auto Fest. All you have to do is click this link.


  1. .....nitpick a 61 corvette? You? A nice read. Thanks for keeping us up on whats happening.

  2. Great coverage! Tom