Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dick's Classic Garage 4th Annual Car Show

I recently attended the 4th Annual Classic Car Show at Dick's Classic Garage, a local classic car museum. With a fantastic variety and a strong turnout, it was easily one of the nicer shows I've been to. Awards were presented at the end of the show, but I felt like certain cars really needed some extra recognition, so here are my own awards, presented for various classes. Let's get started.

Coolest Paint: 1972 Plymouth 'Cuda
Although not the most popular year for the 'Cuda, this 1972 coupe was absolutely brilliant. The paint was a jawdroppingly beautiful shade of pink, and in the afternoon sun it was almost unreal. Besides the color, I also give points for it being a straight-up cool muscle car. The spoiler, vinyl top and shaker hoodscoop are all great details and really bring out the big Plymouth's full potential.

Best Hot Rod: 1932 Ford Pickup
There were plenty of hot rods to gawk at, and quite a few were 1932 Fords like this, but none matched the levels of pure awesome that this extremely blue pickup was giving off. Wild color aside, the chopped top, lowered stance and vintage wheels were all great. The main attraction, however, was obviously the enormous V8 topped with a Weiand blower. This was without a doubt one of my favorite hot rods ever. On a side note, it's nice to see a '32 Ford pickup instead of the more common coupe.

Best Mopar: 1969 Dodge Coronet R/T
I'll admit, I love almost all of the vehicles Mopar built during the muscle car wars of the 60s and 70s, so picking one to be my favorite was tough. That said, it was impossible not to love this beautiful Coronet R/T. The green paint is a welcome departure from the usual red, yellow or black, and it works well with the white interior and tail stripe. The rims are perfect for the car, giving it just the right amount of chrome, and to seal the deal this R/T has a very potent 440 under the hood. This was possibly my favorite car of the show.

Best Chevrolet: 1969 Camaro Z/28
The first-gen Camaro is common fare at most car shows, with plenty of SS and RS models always on display. But the Z/28 is different. It's much more uncommon, making it far more interesting. I was quite pleased to see one at the show, especially one as nice as this. The paint job is the trademark twin racing stripes, in this case white over a red body. The engine is Chevrolet's 302 V8, which was aimed at the Trans Am racing series. This is definitely a car I'd be happy to take home.

Best Oddball: 1960 Mercury Meteor Montcalm
At first glance, this appears to be a Ford Starliner. Look closer, and you'll notice the grille is wrong, and it doesn't say "Ford" anywhere on the car. That's because this is the Mercury variation of the Starliner, the 1960 Mercury Meteor Montcalm. What classifies this as an oddball is that America never got the Montcalm. It was sold exclusively in Canada, and this one somehow made it back into the U.S. I have to say, I adore the execution on this car. The wheels are aftermarket but not flashy, and the color is pretty in a subtle, elegant way. It's a tasteful example of customization.

Best 1930's: 1934 Ford
 Most 1930's cars, especially Fords like this one, end up as perfectly-preserved originals or completely reworked hot rods. This one, though, has managed to find a middle ground. It appears fairly stock overall, but the lowered stance and the menacing rumble of a new exhaust system give away its modern concessions. The black paint is so perfectly accented by the red wheels and the red stripe around the car, and the chrome makes it stand out and catch your attention. I'd love to see more cars like this, that are not original but not extensively modified, instead being a well-blended mix of the two.

Best Fullsize: 1968 International Harvester Travelall 1000
These things simply don't exist anymore. At least, not in this nice of a condition. I had to do a double-take when this one pulled in, just to make sure I didn't imagine it. The Travelall, though not the first SUV, was probably the nicest. Not as boxy as the Chevy Suburban or the Jeep Wagoneer, the International was styled like a car, and came off as less of a truck and more of an overgrown station wagon. This particular Travelall was remarkably original, and attracted tons of curious viewers. Seeing one of these in such great shape really makes me smile.

Best Ford: 1968 Ford Mustang GT California Special
The 1968 Mustang GT/CS is a rare machine. Sold for one year only in one state only, they're among the rarest Mustangs around. Visually, the CS is easy to identify. They were all coupes, and came with the Shelby-esque side scoops, the square foglights in the grille, and Thunderbird taillights. They also had the sidestripe along the side of the car, running from the scoop forward. While most California Specials were white with a black stripe, this one is a much more tantalizing red and white. These are awesome to look at up close, and it easily stole the title of "Best Ford" from its contenders.

Most Original: 1941 Cadillac Fleetwood
This classic Cadillac was positively oozing elegance. A big, black, stately sedan, this Fleetwood was just as imposing and beautiful as it was when it rolled off the assembly line in 1941. As a matter of fact, this car is actually exactly the same as it was when new. Even the interior is original, and it looks positively unused. The lines of the car take a fairly squareish design and melt it into something that really flows. Seeing a car this old with so little evidence of decay is absolutely mindblowing.

Best Modern: 2009 Dodge Viper SRT-10
For the final award, we have this track-ready Viper SRT-10 coupe. There were a handful of modern cars on display, with this white monster being my personal favorite. The V10 in this car is simply massive, and it sounds wild. This particular car has the ACR suspension package, and is fairly exclusive in that it's 1 of only 4 coupes to be built in this color scheme. All in all, this Dodge has more than enough power to satisfy any adrenaline junkie.

This was such a good show. A little of this and that, a lot of nice people, and a spectacular museum that I'll be covering in a future post. As the car show season kicks into high gear, be on the lookout for plenty of show coverage, right here at Shifting Gears.

Random Car Wednesday: 1968 Chevrolet C-10

Welcome to today's RCW. I couldn't help but notice that there hasn't been a pickup truck in the spotlight yet, so it's about time we have one. This particular truck is a gorgeous 1968 Chevrolet that has been customized by the owner. The custom wheels and paint on the outside are matched by a more modernized interior on the inside. While built for utilitarian purpose, this Chevy now serves as a super-cool street cruiser.

1968 Chevrolet Pickup

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Car Show Highlights

Having been to a car show and a cruise-in lately, it's about time I get some pictures up. These are from the most recent Cars and Coffee event, as well as a cruise-in at a local car museum. Plenty of variety, and a ton of fun.

First things first, we have this classic Chevrolet Corvette convertible. There's rarely a shortage of Corvettes at Cars and Coffee, but this one caught my eye primarily due to its color. It lends a more cultured European sports car look, and it really suits the lines of this car. This one's a 1967, the last year for this bodystyle.

The classic 'Vette is a great convertible sports car, but this brand new Bentley Continental GTC convertible is not a bad alternative. The new front end design on the latest Bentley models is starting to grow on me. It's very modern and looks sportier than the previous generation. Of course, looks are nothing without performance to back them up, but the Bentley's immense W12 powerplant will provide enough horsepower to keep you grinning for days. The convertible also does a great job of making silver look good. On lesser cars it can come off as a bit bland.

I absolutely love cars that have a personality, and this old-school Ford coupe is chock full of the stuff. The owner has gone with the "little of this, little of that" design plan, and it comes together as a very unique car. To start with, it's a 1929 Ford coupe. The engine is a small-block Chevrolet V8, the taillights come from a vintage Cadillac, and the massive rear fenders cover some equally massive rear tires. Then there's the Jaguar hood ornament, and the mismatched front seats, neither of which are original to the car. It's essentially a giant mash-up of parts and pieces, and it makes it a personalized statement about the driver. Cars like this always make me smile.

Although not quite as cool as their '60s and '70s counterparts, the '90s-gen Camaros can be pretty cool if done right. They're also a low-budget way to get your hands on a RWD V8 American muscle car. This one's a 1993 Z28 with a couple of modifications. The wheels are tasteful aftermarket rims, and the chrome "V8" badge is small and simple, thus not coming across as tacky. It's hard not to like a red Camaro.

The Camaro is a nice car, but if you want a real muscle car, go for the classics. A great example is this immaculate 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302. The Boss 302 was Ford's contender in the Trans Am racing series of the '70s, where it battled it out with Cudas, Camaros, Challengers, and Javelins. The Calypso Coral paint on this one absolutely shines in the sun, and the ultra-'70s graphics are very cool. This one is unique in that instead of the far more common Magnum 500 rims, it has the base-model rims. This one also is devoid of the rear spoiler and louvers, but it retains the chin spoiler up front. I simply adore this car.

Not quite as sporty as the Boss 302, this 1941 Oldsmobile is more about elegance and luxury. The front end of this car always seems so cluttered to me. It seems like the headlights could be moved further out on the fenders, allowing room for the grille to be widened. All the same, it's still a very stately car. It's also extremely uncommon. I've never seen another Oldsmobile of this vintage, so I made sure to get a long look at it.

Take a close look at this Camaro. It appears to be essentially stock, and there's not even an SS badge. It's just a Camaro with stripes, right? Wrong. This is not just some milktoast yellow Camaro, it's a Hennessey. For those who don't know, Hennessey is like a modern-day equivalent of Yenko or Baldwin Motion. They're best known for the insane Hennessey Venom GT, but they specialize in horsepower upgrades for performance cars. It's likely this Camaro is producing over 500 horsepower, thus making it a modern-day sleeper.

While the Hennessey uses the element of stealth, this Ferrari 360 Modena is a blatant powerhouse. It's a mid-engined monster of a car, making 420 bhp from a 3.6 liter V8. That power is all sent directly to the rear wheels, which can propel it to a top speed of 189 mph. All of that amazing performance is wrapped in an utterly gorgeous body, all very elegant and smooth. It's nice to see this car in silver, as opposed to the typical Ferrari red.

That's all for now, but expect more to come soon. The weather is warm and pleasant, perfect for some really sensational car shows.

Random Car Wednesday: 1979 Plymouth Arrow

It's time again for another Random Car Wednesday, and this particular vehicle is one of the most oddball RCW's yet. This little pickup started life as a 1979 Plymouth Arrow, Chrysler's answer to the Chevy LUV and Ford Courier minitrucks. Though heavily faded, the graphics on this one indicate it was a Plymouth Arrow Sport. The owner has made plenty of modifications, such as the lowered suspension, custom wheels and new grille. These trucks are fairly uncommon nowadays, so it's good to see one in good hands.

1979 Plymouth Arrow Sport

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Mercedes-Benz 280 SL

This week's RCW is quite suitable for the sunshine we've been getting here in Texas as of late. The Mercedes Benz 280SL is Germany's entry into the world of sports roadsters. Pitted against MGBs, Austin-Healeys and Triumphs, the little SL offers much more luxury and class. The blue paint is sporty but classic, and the removable top means it can handle a little rain, too. Such a sweet ride.

1968 Mercedes Benz 280 SL

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Lamborghini Veneno

Welcome to another RCW. With the Geneva Motor Show in full swing, there are some amazing vehicles just now hitting the public eye, and my personal favorite is the Lamborghini Veneno. It's a psychotic monster of a car based loosely off the Aventador platform mechanically, but aesthetically speaking, it's radically different from anything you've ever seen before. It's a mix between a stealth fighter, an LMP racer, and the Batmobile. It's great to see Lamborghini build something this far out and crazy, even if they're only making three. All the same, this monster is a radical design that shows Lamborghini has still got a mental alter ego.

2013 Lamborghini Veneno