Sunday, August 13, 2017

Double coverage of the Mt. Juliet Providence Cruise-In

Every Saturday night throughout the summer, the car nuts gather in the parking lot outside the American Jewelry store in the Providence shopping center, Mt. Juliet, Tenn. My family is temporarily living in Mt. Juliet during a move, so it’s easy for me to run over and snap pictures at this one. For this story, the photo album actually contains photos from two different weeks, July 29 and August 12. That means double the pictures for you to look at all in the same album! It’s hard to tell the difference, though, because they were all taken at the same time of day, and always on a hot, clear night. Let’s take a look at a few of the standouts.

There was a point in time where most people considered ’62 Plymouth Savoys to be, um, unattractive. They were definitely a love-it or hate-it affair, and most people didn’t love it. But as is the case with many things, these polarizing Plymouths look a lot better today. This was actually one of my favorite cars at the cruise. The owner says it was ordered as an Oklahoma highway patrol car, but was never fitted with lights and stars. More than likely it was a detective hitting the push buttons on the TorqeFlite transmission. And even if you don’t like the looks of it, remember, these lightweight Plymouths were a favorite of none other than the King himself, Richard Petty.

Unlike that Plymouth, the looks of this ’64 Corvette roadster were never controversial. These were about as good looking as any car could ever be. Riverside Red inside and out doesn’t hurt anything either. This car was just like it looks in the pictures—restored; beautiful; desirable. It appears to have a later-model Chevy small block under the front-hinged hood, but many of the stock components remain such as the ignition shielding and the radiator overflow tank. I can’t imagine why anyone would not want to cruise around in this car. It’s just, you know, pretty awesome.

This ’65 Chevy van shows up at a lot of local cruises. Back in the day, nobody ever bought one of these because they wanted it (maybe Scooby Doo and the Gang, but no unanimated people). They were scary to drive, dangerous to wreck, and not particularly beautiful. They were a utilitarian box that served a purpose. But this one here is outstanding. Thunder Flames uses it to showcase their custom painting business, and they do some damn nice work. The candy red paint just glows on this heap, and the colorful motorcycle fuel tanks inside demonstrate their painting skills even more. The polished slotted mags and ’56 Chevy steering wheel complete the look. This might be the nicest ’65 Chevy van I’ve ever seen.

This was a pretty nice ’51 Pontiac Deluxe two-door sedan. The “Pontiac Eight” script on the front fenders refers to the 268-c.i. flathead straight-eight. I wouldn’t call this car all-out restored, but it had been sort of refurbished along the way. It had been painted, there was some newer upholstery in there, and there was a mismatch of radial and bias-ply tires. It was pretty stock, though, and looked like it could be a lot of fun to play around with. The biggest changes I would make would be to match the tires up, maybe with a set of wide-whitewall radials, and find some nice chrome bumpers and get rid of those incorrectly painted ones. It was fun to study the details on this one.

Franklin, Tenn., resident and NASCAR star Darrell Waltrip cut his teeth racing in the Nashville area. His biggest fan has to be a guy named Preacher Franklin, who owns no less than five street legal, Darrell Waltrip tribute cars. Two of them were at the cruise, including this Buick Regal painted in DW’s 1981-’82 Mountain Dew colors. Darrell won the Winston Cup championship both of those years driving for car-owner Junior Johnson. With their bold graphics and memory-evoking significance, these tribute cars are undeniably striking at a car cruise. I love it when they show up—they look great.

Here’s something else that’s great. Because there are two cruise nights involved with this story, the double-sized album contains 277 photos. That ought to keep you busy for a few minutes. Check them out by clicking this link.