Friday, May 10, 2019

24th-Annual AACA Spring Meet features factory stock in Mt. Juliet

You might think that having a car show on the same weekend that Goodguys is in town, on a cloudy, misty day, might not be a recipe for success. And while the car count may have been a little light for the 24th-Annual AACA Spring Meet at the Wilson County Bank in Mt. Juliet, I would still consider it a win. As usual, there were some very nice cars out there. I’ve always liked this event because it draws in a lot of interesting, unmodified cars. I like hot rods, but I also like to see things the way they came from the factory. Many of the car owners at this show do a great job of preserving that history. 

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that cars like this 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ were everywhere. Now you rarely see them at all. At 38-years-old, this one is nicer than most were when they were two-years-old. Cameo White with a white top and blue interior really suits this car, and it was loaded with options like T-tops, bucket seats, lace aluminum wheels, and a cassette stereo. Curiously, in spite of all those options, it also has the standard 3.8-liter V6 between the frame rails. Of course, the V8 that came in these only got you 10 more horsepower (110 on the V6 vs. 120 on the 4.3-liter V8), so why not save a little gas? One thing’s for sure, that V6 looks like it just rolled off the assembly line. This car had 49,000 miles, and it was pampered all the way.

This ’66 Dodge Coronet 440 two-door hardtop means business. “440” seems like it would designate the engine size, but actually it just means it wasn’t as fancy as a Coronet 500. This car did have a mighty big engine, though. If you noticed those 426 Hemi badges on the front fenders, you know that this thing was a genuine street terror. I mean, it has two carburetors, a four-speed, and 425-hp. In addition to having that ridiculous Street-Hemi, it’s also my favorite color—black with red guts. This is a nice car, of course, but not so nice that you wouldn’t want to drive it. Well, you’d want to drive it if you could afford the gas bill. I think anyone who’s into pure muscle cars would really like this one.

Here is a great example of what I love about these AACA shows. Where else are you going to see something like this 1930 REO four-door sedan. It was called the Flying Cloud. I mean, what a great name, right? When Ransom Eli Olds left his namesake Oldsmobile after General Motors acquired the company, he went on to build lavish cars like this one. This was no cheap car when it was new, and it doesn’t look like one now. It’s full of great details, like thick, button-tufted and pleated seats, silver and gold filigree details around the gauge cluster, and furniture-quality wood around the window frames. Robin Red paint with black accents give it an overall opulent aura. It’s still looking great at 89-years-old.

Here was a classy, yet potent 1965 Oldsmobile 442 two-door hardtop. In the case of this car, “442” meant it had a 400 cubic-inch engine, four-speed transmission, and dual exhaust. And that white ball in the console was connected to a genuine Hurst shifter. This car is understated, but not invisible. I just think it’s a nice car that had a lot of power, but didn’t try too hard to show it off. The Nocturne Mist color, the interior, the console-mounted tach, the wire wheel covers, and even the red line tires all worked well together here. Plus, it was just an all-around slick car.

Look at this little cutie. It’s a 1953 Chevrolet Two-Ten two-door sedan. It’s not a top-of-the-line Bel Air. It’s not the bottom-of-the-line One-Fifty. It’s a great example of the type of bread-and-butter car that most people owned back in the day. They were powered by a sewing machine-smooth 235-c.i. Stovebolt six that provided a torquey 115-hp. Woodland Green on the bottom and India Ivory on the top was an attractive, non-offensive scheme that fit right in the driveway of a Cape Cod-style house. This was made two years before Chevy hit it out of the park with their Tri-Fives. But this car looks perfect to me. It was exactly the right car for its day.

You wanna see 200 pictures from this show? Great—I just happened to take that many pictures. Check them all out by clicking this link.

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