Monday, July 10, 2017

Hot Rods on Beale Street, June 2017

Thanks to my job, Memphis is sort of my home away from home. So anytime the Hot Rods on Beale Street Cruise is happening during my time in the Bluff City, I always try to be there. The June installment followed the usual trend with this one. There were lots of great cars, there was lots of great music, and there was plenty of good food all along the historic entertainment district. Not everyone can get into this one, because with only a limited number of spots, you need to have a pass. It does control the crowd, but it also sort of stifles the variety of cars that can come from month-to-month. The cars are just a backdrop for the party, though. I can look at the same ones over and over again.

If someone mentions a red Ford Gran Torino, the Starsky and Hutch car probably comes to mind. But here we have one that is not the Starsky and Hutch car, and somehow even manages to not look like it. This ’72 Sport fastback makes and impression with its Bright Red paint, white bench seat, and white vinyl top. It has a few modifications, like the chrome wheels, GT steering wheel, and beefed-up 400-c.i. mill. But that stuff is pretty subtle. Overall, this particular Gran Torino makes a car that normally seems relatively common seem very uncommon.

The appeal of Hugger Orange on a late-‘60s GM muscle car should not be underestimated. This ’69 Chevelle SS is a good case in point. Of course, it has everything you could ever want on one of these. Is that a 350-hp, 396-c.i. big block under the hood? Yes, yes it is. Four-speed transmission? Yes. Factory air conditioning? Five-spoke, Magnum 500-style rally wheels? Yes and yes. Teak wood steering wheel? Of course. If you’re into old Chevelles, I don’t know how you could do much better than this one. I thought it was one of the nicest cars at the show.

This ’64 Cadillac Coupe DeVille isn’t considered a muscle car, but its 429-c.i. engine is considerably bigger than the one in the Chevelle. The Cadillac actually seems more at home out here surrounded by Blues and soaking up Memphis music history. This car has obviously been tweaked a bit. It’s lowered. There are some hand-painted pinstripes here and there. The interior got the Mexican blanket treatment. The yellow inner headlights are, um, yellow. But you can imagine this car cruising this street back in the day. It fits in here, and it’s cool.

I’m not normally into small British sports cars, but this Triumph TR6 was admittedly pretty cool. They made these between 1968 and 1976, although I don’t know enough about them to be able to tell you exactly what year this one is. I think the fact that it’s Royal Blue instead of British Racing Green makes it stand out a little more than usual. It has a little 2.5-liter inline 6 with a four-speed, and it looks like it would be a lot of fun to drive. The wide wheels and the stance also make it look like it means business. I don’t know much else about it, but it looks cool, doesn’t it?

This is a ’61 Oldsmobile Dynamic 88 convertible. It says “Rocket 88” on the engine cover, but the original 394-c.i. engine was replaced by a modern Chevy LS lump. It’s Tropic Mist with Alpine Green accents in the interior, and it’s quite refreshing looking. This has the resto-mod thing happening, right down to the navigation screen in the custom-built console. But it looks pretty stock overall. It even has wide whitewalls and little hubcaps. Vintage on the outside, modern on the inside. That’s not a terrible combination.

You wanna’ see more cars from the Hot Rods on Beale Street Cruise? Of course you do. Check out the entire photo album by clicking this link.