Thursday, January 24, 2019

28th-Annual Nashville Auto Fest brings the good stuff out of hibernation

When you have an event that has been going for 28 years, you know they’re doing something right. That’s the case with the Nashville Auto Fest, which made its usual appearance at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds last weekend. Sure, there was the threat of bad weather on Sunday, but every building on the property was still full of classic cars and swap meet vendors. You often see some very high-quality machines at this one, and the 2019 edition was no exception. Strong club participation made it heavy on MOPARs and Volkswagens, but there was a little bit of everything at the Nashville Auto Fest.

I’ve always considered these ’62 Dodge Polaras a little weird looking, but I really haven’t had the opportunity to look many of them over either. This Dusty Rose two-door hardtop had a lot of interesting details to study. It has a cool interior with two-tone bucket seats. I’m a sucker for chrome trim, and there’s plenty of that stuck on this car. Plus it has that big old 413-c.i. Max Wedge V8 with two four-barrel carburetors sitting on their intake at an intimidating angle. This one had an exceptional restoration, deviating from stock only with the chrome Cragar mags.

General Motors really had that fastback design nailed down on their full-sized cars in the mid-to-late ‘60s, and this ’65 Pontiac 2+2 is a perfect example. Finished off in Cameo Ivory, the owner claims it has 126,000 miles on the clock and “Survived ‘2’ Teenagers.” That’s significant, because with a 356-h.p., 421-c.i. engine and three carbs under the hood, there was plenty of opportunity for disastrous shenanigans. This car also has a three-speed stick, which I thought was interesting. Oh, and check out those wheels. If anyone made cooler factory wheels than Pontiac eight-lugs, I sure haven’t seen them.

This Ford Fairlane 500 four-door sedan is also from 1965. Now I wouldn’t ever say one of these is as cool as that Pontiac, but this one is pretty interesting all the same. First of all, it’s easily the nicest ’65 Fairlane four-door I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t look sporty, as it wears full wheel covers and fender skirts. But under the hood it has a 289-c.i. V8 that has been significantly hopped-up with all manner of performance goodies. The owner says his family won this car at a church raffle in 1984, and it has only traveled 25,000. That’s a pretty believable claim, because most of this car looks brand new.

What can you say about a 1957 Chevy Bel Air Sport Coupe that hasn’t already been said? But then one like this shows up and you can’t not talk about it. Sure, there are other ones out there with Onyx Black paint, India Ivory roofs, and red interiors. There are fewer of them with factory fuel injection. And there are fewer yet that are this unbelievably nice. I used to think all of these came with silver painted wheels, but as I understand it, some of the early cars had the wheels painted body color. So based on that logic, assuming this one was restored exactly like it came from the factory, it should be an earlier-production model. This was a very well-presented, well-equipped car.

I think two of the most iconic cars of the late-‘50s are the ’57 Chevy and the customized ’40 Ford. I know 1940 isn’t late-‘50s, but they were very popular back then. This Cloud Mist Grey Tudor (Ford’s nomenclature for “Two-Door”) Deluxe Sedan had all the subtle upgrades a senior in the Class of 1959 would want. Under the hood you’ll find a beautifully decked-out Flathead V8, complete with three deuces and finned air cleaners. It’s comfortable inside, with a high-quality-but-subtle pleated seat, automatic transmission, and air conditioning. Give me this presentation over a billet-drenched street rod with 20-inch wheels any day.

Here we go with the photos. I took 247 of them, and all you have to do is click this link to check them out.

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