Thursday, April 11, 2019

Nice start to the Tennessee Speed Sport Cruise

Tennessee Speed Sport is a cool, old-school speed shop in Goodlettsville that has been serving Nashville’s hot rod and racing community since the 1960s. It makes sense that they would start up a monthly cruise night, and so they have. The inaugural event was last Saturday night, and they had a pretty strong turnout for the first time. I even like their old sign, and my truck looks right at home next to it. The only thing I might change would be that they open up the store during the cruise. If you can get 100 hot-rodders in the parking lot of a speed shop, who knows—you might just sell them something. At any rate, let’s check out some of the stuff that was sitting outside that locked building. 

’57 Chevys are fairly ubiquitous at car shows, but this Bel Air two-door sedan hides a secret. Lurking beneath those dual bombsight hood ornaments is not the 283 small block you might expect, but instead a Chevy big block. There’s plenty of room under there, so why not? This color was Harbor Blue, and the interior was reupholstered in a similar-to-stock pattern. It also had a nicely installed aftermarket air conditioner for unexpected coolness in such a hot car. This was a nice ride that was a faithful representation of a late-‘60s-style ’57 Chevy hot rod.

One family brought in two big, red Oldsmobile convertibles. I was particularly drawn to this Matador Red ’71 Delta 88. This really was a good looking car, especially with that contrasting white interior. It also had the correct poly-cast Olds rally wheels, which really sealed the deal. Of course, a big convertible like this should have a big engine, so Oldsmobile stuck a 455-c.i. “Rocket” V8 under that expansive hood. It only had 185-hp, but there was plenty of torque to keep things interesting. I’ve always liked these big cruisers like this, and this one definitely had “the look.”

This one’s a ’64 Dodge Polara 500. These had some pretty neat little bits of trim, including the machine-turned inserts in the body side moldings, cool plastic emblems in the front fender tips, and the double shadow chevrons on the sail panels. If you think that side trim looks fancy, it may be because it was designed by George Krispinski, who formerly worked in the design department of Packard. I’m not sure which is under the hood of this one, but they came with either a 318-c.i. V8 or a 383-c.i. V8. This was a clean little car, and a nice change of pace from the usual show field of Mustangs and Chevelles.

Representing the Corvettes today, we’ll feature this nice little ’59. Two-toned in a chilly combination of Frost Blue and Snowcrest White, this one represents the late-‘50s era nicely. Tip the pancake hood forward to reveal a 283-c.i. V8 with two four-barrel carburetors, which is connected to a four-speed transmission. The only obvious deviations from stock were the later-model Chevy rally wheels and black tires, and the smaller-diameter steering wheel. I have a lot of good memories with an old Corvette like this one, and I’ve always been impressed with the attention to detail they put into every piece of these cars. There’s a lot of very thoughtful design that went into this generation Corvette.

Here’s a little bit newer Chevy that we can take a look at. This is no ordinary 2011 Camaro SS convertible. In fact, only 100 of these were made like this, and sold in the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog in 2011. These had a fancy Deep Bordeaux paint scheme with contrasting Amber leather, subtle stripes, and 21-inch wheels. These made news when they were new because the price tag was $75,000. That was big bucks for a Camaro eight years ago. It didn’t scare away the buyers, though. These sold out three minutes after they were made available to the public. Sadly, this was not something that showed up under my tree that year.

I took 159 shadowy pictures at the first-ever Tennessee Speed Sport Cruise, and as usual, you can see them all by clicking this link.

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