Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 Nashville International Auto Show

The Nashville International Auto Show is sort of an interesting affair. You can go there and find two McLarens, a half-dozen vintage Ford Broncos, and a Bentley SUV, but there’s not a new Cadillac in sight. Want to take a glimpse into the future with a concept car? Nope. But there is a replica of Buford T. Justice’s Pontiac police car. As auto shows go, this one seems to have limited support from the OEMs, so they make up for it with other things. I guess that’s OK, though. I’d rather look at the vintage Mustang club display than have to endure a bigger Toyota space.

Gateway Bronco takes these early Broncos and builds them up with modern drivetrains and suspensions and whatnot. But this particular ’67 Bronco “prototype” from their display had not been given the restomod treatment. This one was left alone to preserve history, as it was the first Bronco to be sent to Shelby American in Los Angeles so it could be converted to a V8. It was later used on Carroll Shelby’s ranch, and spent a lot of time doing off-road and camping duty, as these Broncos were wont to do. It’s not particularly stunning, and normally you might not give it a second look, but it does have an interesting backstory.

Here’s the one Japanese car I’m going to write about. It’s a late-‘70s Nissan Sovereign V8E President. You don’t really see these around here because they weren’t available in North America. It was basically a corporate limousine used to haul Japanese muckety-mucks around Japan. In the movies, you’d expect the Yakuza bosses to be riding in these. Anyway, I think it’s kind of interesting. With its styling and chrome, it looks older than it is. The header emblem looks just like the one on a Chevy Caprice. The whole thing is sort of oafish and cute at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one, so I can’t tell you much more about it. But here it is, anyway.

You see this ’65 Mustang around at car shows all the time, and it definitely holds its own in a room full of fresh-from-the-factory examples. The workmanship on this build is exceptional, with deep black paint and perfect vinyl upholstery. The newer-style dashboard is a nice touch. The mirrors, the wheels, and really all the little details are what make this one stand out. I normally don’t get that excited about customized first-generation Mustangs, but it would be impossible not to like this one. It really is a beautiful car.

If you’re a MOPAR fanatic, this ’67 Plymouth GTX should trip your trigger. I’ve seen this car before, and it never fails to impress. That green color is really pretty, and the white interior did nothing but compliment the look. This GTX isn’t all show and no go, however. Under the hood, you’ll find a 440-c.i. “Super Commando” V8. That doesn’t just mean it leaves the house with no underwear. It also means it’s packing 375-hp. This was a cover car on MOPAR Muscle Magazine. There’s a reason for that. This car is a real eye-catcher with the power to back it up.

Velocity Motorcars brought out this 1996 Corvette Grand Sport. They only built a total of 1,000 Grand Sport coupes and convertibles in 1996. They were all Admiral Blue with a white stripe, and you could either get them with a black or red interior. These are by far my favorite iteration of the entire C4 line, although I’d prefer the red interior over this one—go big or go home! They were powered by the LT4 engine, which was good for 330-hp—a real monster in 1996 terms. I’d actually love to have one of these someday.

This was actually the new car show, so the majority of the floor was occupied by new cars in spite of how this article reads. Here’s a new Corvette Stingray convertible in Blade Silver with Adrenaline Red leather. They let people sit in it, so that driver’s seat was getting a workout. It was friendly and docile sitting here, but a base Corvette like this comes with a 455-hp, 6.2-liter V8 with 460-lb/ft of torque. I’ve driven these before, and they’re awesome. You cannot appreciate the joy of driving and not have a pleasurable experience behind the wheel of one of these. You just can’t. Now, this car prices out at better than $75,000, and that’s not chump change. But you only live once, so what the hell.

I guess there were other new cars besides the Corvette at the 2017 Nashville International Auto Show. You can see some of them by clicking this link to check out the photos.

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