Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Hendersonville Cruise-In makes moving to the neighborhood worthwhile

We just recently moved to Hendersonville, Tenn. The decision to relocate wasn’t necessarily because the Friday night Hendersonville Cruise-In is only 10 minutes from the house, but it didn’t hurt. This is one of the better cruises around town, with strong participation, music, door prizes, and quality cars. This year it was moved to an old Sears Outlet Store parking lot, which gets it away from the Indian Lake traffic and congestion that it had to deal with in the past. I was able to fire up the old truck and check out the neighborhood cruise last Friday night.

If there’s a better color on a 1962 Corvette than Honduras Maroon, I haven’t seen it. I think this one here was a star of the show. 1962 was a big transition year for the popular two-seat sports car. It was the last year for the straight-axle, first-generation Corvette. But it was the first year for the 327-c.i. engine, narrow whitewalls, and less chrome trim. Advertisements said things like, “It’s a car worth driving. It runs like all get-out because it has a mighty 327-c.i. V8 engine. It stops, it changes direction with the speed and ease of a gazelle because of its knife-edged balance and great, huge brakes. It’s a car to make driving enthusiasts of us all …” You gotta’ love that old Campbell-Ewald ad copy.

When we came back from getting a pizza, this ’51 Chevy pickup was parked next to the ol’ HMC ’63, making my truck look even crappier than usual. Most of these are green and industrial. This one was two-toned and accessorized. It had fender lights, sun visor, grille guard, trim rings, running board step plates, headlight visors, radio, and an accessory hood ornament. The dash, grille, and window moldings were all lavishly chrome-plated. Few trucks were this glamorous in 1951. It won the Maple Motors Ride of the Week award, as well it should have. This would have been like the Silverado LTZ High Country of its day.

If you like unusual models from the early days of the muscle car era, you’d probably appreciate this ’66 Mercury Cyclone GT convertible. This had it all: bright Cardinal Red inside and out, four-speed transmission, and wood-rim steering wheel. The wheels have been modernized since the last time I saw it. The Cyclone was a sporty version of the Mercury Comet, and in this configuration would have had a 390-c.i. V8 good for a healthy 335-hp. This one was as nice as it looks in the pictures, which is to say, pretty darn nice. I even like that little checkered flag emblem on the front fenders.

I love these first-generation Buick Rivieras, and this Regal Black-on-black ’65 was a fine example. The interiors and dashboards in these were absolutely spot-on, and that 445-c.i. Nailhead kept this personal luxury coupe lumbering along with ease. This one was pretty original. It obviously gets driven, but not too hard. From the Road Wheels to the wood grain on the center stack, this Riv had it all. These were the perfect mixture of classy and sporty. They’re impossible not to notice, but are as simple and clean as a design can be. Look at those clam shell headight covers. Perfection.

This ’57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible is sort of a timeline of customizing through the decades. From the 1950s, it features vertical grille teeth, real spotlights, and hand-painted pinstriping. From the 1960s, you’ll find Chevrolet Rally Wheels and a teakwood Chevy steering wheel. And from the ‘70s, look for plush, crushed velour seat upholstery, complete with tufted buttons. The color is sort of a modern light orange tri-coat. This hodgepodge of styles shouldn’t all go together. And yet, somehow, it doesn’t seem too bad here. I like stock ’57 Chevys as much as anyone, but sometimes it’s fun to look at one that has a little personalization.

And speaking of things that are fun to look at, let’s get to the pictures. It was getting a little dark before I was able to get to all the cars, but I did the best I could. There are 193 pictures in the album, and you can see them all by clicking this link.

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