Monday, August 21, 2017

Tons of stunners at the 2017 AACA Wilson County Fair Car Show

When you go to the fair you expect to see a lot of things. Giant watermelons. Big, fuzzy chickens. Shaky carnival rides. Mullets. What you might not expect to see is one of the best car shows of the year. But that’s exactly what you got at the Wilson County Fair during the AACA Car Show that took place last Sunday. I rarely go to an event that has this kind of quality. It’s like the Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction got dumped out in a field or something. There are so many top-notch restorations, so many desirable cars, and so many knowledgeable people that it’s an unusual situation indeed that you can get them all together in one place.

Did you know that one of the most valuable Hot Wheels redlines is the ’70 Oldsmobile 442? There’s a reason for that toy’s popularity. Just look at the real deal. This Rally Red hardtop was as fabulous as one of these cars could ever be. This one has the desirable W-30 package, which means the scoops in the fiberglass hood help force air into that 370-hp, 455-c.i. V8. This thing had it all—dog dish hubcaps wrapped in Firestone Wide Oval tires, red inner-fenders, and all the factory-correct grease pencil marks. You can see why a kid would want to play with a small version of this.

Old Dodge Power Wagons usually seem like ugly, old Army trucks, but this beast here was never enlisted, and has a stunning restoration. No, it’s not something left over from World War II. This is a ’56 model, finished in its original color of Rackham Blue. It crawls over rocks and ruts with the help of its 230-c.i. flathead six. Concessions to comfort and style include sparkly, diamond-plated running boards and a button-tufted cloth seat. A truck like this was maybe too heavy-duty for most people, so you don’t see many of them around. But that makes it better, because it really stands out today.

Here’s a lighter-duty old truck that’s also pretty unusual. This Nassau Blue ’46 Studebaker M-5 pickup also had an exceptional restoration. They did produce these for quite a few years, even for military use during World War II, but you still don’t see many of them. Power on this one comes from an 80-hp, 169-c.i. flathead six, which was sufficient for this little Studebaker. Chevy, Ford, and Dodge trucks are pretty easy to find, but some people have never even seen a Studebaker truck like this. It’s no wonder there always seemed to be a crowd of people checking this one out.

My mom had a bright orange ’76 Vega wagon when I was a kid. She really liked it, mainly because she thought it was “cute”. I remember it having trouble starting during the cold Nebraska winters, and the heater, A/C, and radio barely worked. This ’77 wagon is fancier than hers was, because it’s an “Estate” with the genuine fake wood. It might be the nicest Vega wagon left in the world for all I know. Most of these rusted into piles of dust, but this one seems mostly original and intact. In spite of the Vega issues that have been documented over and over, I always thought these were good looking little cars. It was nice to see this one sitting there—I’m just glad I don’t have to keep it running in the winter!

Check out this ’63 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible. This was the top-o-the-line Plymouth, and it has all the chrome trim, bucket seats, and push button transmission you could ever want. “Golden Commando Power” has nothing to do with leaving the house sans underwear. It does, however, refer to the potent, 330-hp, 383-c.i. V8 under the hood. This was another unbelievably nice car. It was sitting on period-correct tires, and there was not a wrinkle in that white convertible top. I don’t know how it could be any more perfect. I’ll be honest with you; I like ’63 Impalas better than this. But you see them all the time. I actually had more fun looking at this Plymouth, because again, you hardly ever see them.

I can’t really call this story complete without writing about one of the many nice Corvettes at the show. This Silver Pearl ’66 is as good as any. I particularly like the silver vinyl interior. It’s all very icy and refreshing. Assuming nothing has been modified, this one should have a 327-c.i. small block under the hood, which is really the right choice if you intend to drive one of these on a regular basis. It has side pipes, which were an option, but retains its steel wheel/wheel cover combo. I used to kind of think that factory aluminum wheels were a must on these. But now when I look at one equipped like this, I like them about as much as the fancy turbines. I guess once everyone put a set on their car, they didn’nt seem as special anymore. It’s hard to go wrong with any Midyear Corvette, though. They’re all pretty great.

Really, this whole show was pretty great. I’m even happy with the way the pictures came out. The sun may have been hot, but it was in the right place to make these cars shine in front of the camera lens. There are 508 pictures in the gallery, and you can check them all out by clicking this link.


  1. Sorry Craig, That vega wagon is'nt the nicest.When I get the 76 nomad done I'll send you a pic.Larry C.

  2. Nice show, so many makes and models, great pics......Tom