Friday, January 18, 2019

8th-Annual Tennessee Motorama rolls through the Wilson County Fairgrounds

Just because winter is here doesn’t mean that the car hobby is dead. The Tennessee Motorama has been proving that for eight years now, drawing in a nice little display of cars and swap meet booths at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. This is an indoor event, so everyone stays warm and dry while they peruse the aisles looking for bargains and ideas to complete their own projects. This show hits a variety of automotive tangents. On one end of the spectrum you’ll find a crusty old truck dripping with patina, and on the other end you’ll see someone showing off their Tesla. There’s definitely something for everybody at this show.

This 1970 Ford Torino GT makes it to lots of car shows throughout the year, and you can’t blame the owner for wanting to show it off. This Calypso Coral beauty really struck you under the lights in the arena. I actually like it better than an equivalent ’70 Mustang because you don’t see as many of them. You even see a lot more Chevelles than these. This one had a few aftermarket speed parts, including an MSD ignition system and a big old Hurst shifter. This is the Torino high school students dreamed of building in 1975. Just hang on tight, because when you lay down the power of that 375-hp, 302-c.i. V8, you’re going to be sliding all over that black vinyl bench seat!

Here’s a ’59 Dodge Coronet two-door sedan that seemed to stand out from the crowd. You almost never see these, so it gets extra points for not being a Chevy or Ford. I don’t know what it looked like before they painted it, but it hasn’t disintegrated from rust like most of these did. The upholstery may not be exactly right, but it’s pretty close to what this came with. It has a V8 and chrome wheels and all kinds of eye appeal. The engine was a 440-c.i. V8 out of a late-‘70s MOPAR, but if fit right in with the rest of the car. The chrome artillery-style wheels and whitewalls also didn’t look out of place. This car was nice enough to hold its own at a show, but not so nice that you couldn’t have fun with it.

You don’t tend to see too many ‘50s Oldsmobiles even at a bigger show, but the Motorama had this ’55 and a ’56. That’s almost as unusual as the fact that there was not a ’57 Chevy in the place, but I digress. This ’55 was a nice Super 88 four door sedan, finished off in a refreshing, era-correct combination of Glen Green and Mint Green. Everyone likes to talk about the 324-c.i. “Rocket” V8 in these, but let’s focus on the dashboard. When you get behind that pretty steering wheel, you’re treated to a vast expanse of symmetrical chrome. It’s so dazzling that you need to wear sunglasses just to be near it. Things sure did look better when the designers only had to worry about beauty and didn’t get too concerned with safety.

Here’s a very original looking 1959 Edsel Ranger two-door sedan. The Petal Yellow paint looks largely untouched or at least very old. It may look fancy now, but this was your entry-level Edsel. This one was even powered by the base 223-c.i., 145-hp “Economy Six” with a three-on-the-tree. Someone had recently laid down some pinstripes, which I’m usually a fan of. I could take it or leave it on this particular car, but they did compliment the color scheme nicely. I really liked this old car. It was a real survivor in a cheery color. Who said Edsels were ugly?

The “Best of Show” award went to this 1940 Willy’s gasser that belonged to a guy with the very appropriate name of Brian Willis. This isn’t a shiny show car, and it probably wouldn’t do well in one of those shows where they tally up points for perfect paint and perfect chrome. But in this case, the judges looked beyond that and realized this is a historic drag car. It was built in the 1960s and competed on actual drag strips. It still has old paint, old tires, old seats, and old gauges. It’s like someone parked it in their garage after the last race, then 50 years later said, “oh yeah, I forgot that I had that back there.” Sometime these cars get restored, and sometimes people try and build new ones, but something with authentic, untouched history is hard to beat.

So here we go with the pictures. I took 197 of them. I wish I would have taken three more to make it an even 200, but I wasn’t paying enough attention. At any rate, you can see pretty much everything that the 8th-Annual Tennessee Motorama had to offer by clicking this link.

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