Monday, May 15, 2017

The Fontanel kicks of its 2017 Concert Cruise season

My favorite car cruise location in the Nashville area is back in business for the 2017 season. The Fontanel really is a beautiful place for a car show. They also have live music that isn’t crappy, food trucks that aren’t crappy, and plenty of shade, which again, is not crappy. The only thing they don’t get a lot of is cars. I don’t understand that, either. I would rather be out here any day than sitting in some dirty, noisy old parking lot. Hopefully folks will get the message and grow this into something, because it’s worth the drive to Whites Creek.

There were a few cars worth checking out, including this ’72 International Scout. I wouldn’t call this Cosmic Blue Binder a luxury vehicle, but it did have cloth bucket seats and air conditioning. This is actually a Scout II, which debuted in 1971. They were a little bigger and plushier, as was the custom of the 1970s. They were still capable and tough, however. There was a good 20 years there where you couldn’t go to a dirt track anywhere in the country where they weren’t using one of these as a push truck. This one’s pretty nice, though. I don’t think it was ever put through that kind of severe service.

Speaking of plushier, how about this ’76 Buick Electra Limited. Really, the only thing Limited about this Boston Red deuce-and-a-quarter is the length of your garage. This has the distinction of being the longest four-door hardtop ever built by General Motors. It had a big, ol’ 455-c.i. V8, but the governmental emissions regulations of the time had it choked down to only 205-h.p. Those seats are just like contemporary pillowed luxury sofas. This car doesn’t have a sporty bone in its body. I don’t think it has any bones; just a skeleton of shag carpeting and velour. Just point it in the direction of California, set the cruise, and wake up on Malibu Beach.

Here’s a very different car that could be purchased at the local Buick dealer in the early 1970s. The Opel Manta “A” was a car GM built in Europe and sent to the U.S. I actually like the looks of this thing. For a little car built during a time when little cars were considered substandard (see ’76 Buick Electra above), the Manta had a lot going for it. The body style works, the little four-lug wheels look great an even the interior looks like a fun place to be. These were known to handle well, and actually one quite a few European road rallies back in the day. These don’t seem to turn up at car shows very often, so it was cool to see.

Caliente means “hot” in Spanish, and that’s what the emblem says on the quarter panel of this ’65 Mercury Comet. The Caliente was the top model in the Comet lineup in 1965, and this one had a 271-hp, 289-c.i. “High Performance” V8 under the hood just like the one you could get in a Mustang. This was a nice little car here, looking good inside and out and feeling good with air conditioning under the dash. You obviously see a lot of Mustangs around, but fewer of these to be sure. With similar performance potential and considerably more rarity, I can see why someone would be attracted to one of these.

Take a look at all the action from the Thursday night Fontanel Concert Cruise by clicking this link. And if you have an old car, bring it out to the next one. This location is worth it, I promise.

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