Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snow couldn't stop the 7th-Annual Tennessee Motorama

The State of Tennessee declared a “state of emergency” because of the weather at the same time the 2018 Tennessee Motorama was setting up at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Those conditions do not lead to a super successful car show. But give Both Barrel Productions credit—they didn’t cancel it. For their efforts, they were rewarded with a reasonable number of vendors, and about 10 show cars. You might think the cars would be beaters because people would keep the high-end stuff out of the snow. But as it turned out, most of them were so nice that they came in trailers anyway. So there weren’t many cars, but the quality was outstanding.

Take this ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona. Sold new at Bill Breck Dodge in Colorado Springs, this car spent much of its life tearing up the roads in Germany. It is thought to be the only ’69 Daytona finished in Dark Bronze with a Saddle interior. No, it’s not a Hemi, but that big 440 is plenty potent in its own right. It also has a long four-speed shifter poking out of the console, so you can imagine you’re Richard Petty dominating the Daytona 500 when you drive this baby. Not that anyone is driving it much. This one is too valuable, and restored too nice, to see much street time. It was fun to study in the Motorama, though.

The same owner brought two pristine Shelby Mustangs. One was the ’68 Shelby Cobra K.R. 500 convertible pictured above, and the other was this ’65 Shelby GT 350. The sign said, “This is the way they came from Shelby American in 1965,” but I suspect this one is actually nicer. These were powered by a 306-hp 289, and Shelby added (and subtracted) all kinds of things to make these into street-legal racecars. It obviously gained cast wheels, stripes, gauges, back seat delete, etc. But more importantly, the suspension was dialed in for serious track duty. Mustangs were not fire-breathing monsters when they came out of the Ford factory in 1965, but Shelby did a good job of making them that way.

This ’64 Ford Fairlane is a regular at car shows around town. And who wouldn’t want to show it off? This is a real Thunderbolt lightweight, built to burn up the Super Stock class during the golden age of drag racing. This is the 25th of only 100 of these built in ’64. Speed tricks included a fiberglass front clip, the elimination of carpeting, radio, and heater, and a big, fat 427-c.i. engine. These would run the quarter-mile at 12-seconds flat. That was seriously fast for a factory-built car more than 50 years ago. It was worth the five bucks admission just to get to see it again.

One of the stars of the show was the Cox & Amos AA dragster. This righteous rail job was meticulously restored to its 1975 livery, and spends its retirement at vintage drag racing events and cacklefests. The 388-c.i. Hemi propelled Bob Amos to an NHRA speed record in the ‘70s, with a best E.T. and speed of 6.81-seconds at 205.94-mph at the prestigious U.S. Nationals. You don’t often see vintage racecars with this kind of history and provenance outside of a museum, yet there it was at the Tennessee Motorama.

So even with the light turnout, I still managed to take 137 pictures at this year’s Tennessee Motorama. That means that if you were afraid to get out in the weather, you can still see what was at the show. I do my best to keep you guys up-to date! Check out all the photos by clicking this link.

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