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By Brian Kennedy
Well, on your behalf, dear reader, I went back to the Classic Auto Show on Saturday. It was a quick visit as I was just heading into the hockey arena next door for NHL All-Star action. But I realized that in my story of yesterday, I was both so, so right about the show, and so, so wrong.
The right: I told you about much of what’s there and how urgently I thought you should go and see it for yourself. The quality of the cars, the overwhelming number of them, and the size and scope of the show, I was all spot-on about.
But I was wrong to even think that one could take all of this in in one day. My second visit showed me some of what I’d missed.
There were more vendors than I had accounted for. Spring and suspension companies. The guys who make the car bubble (actually called an “Air Capsule”) to store your car in perfect condition,; Reelcraft, which makes things to wind hose up on; Borla—you know them for their growly exhaust. These and more were there to answer questions about the suitability of their goodies to enhance your experience of the hobby.
Oh, and there was RC racing on a giant track, complete with commentator and lap times being kept. Harder to do than it looks, I’m sure, which is why they had people lined up all around the “track” watching.
The Grand Boulevard of cars, which sweeps down the length of the building, is actually spread out on two sides with gorgeous vehicles. How could I not have seen this before? Well, because I was so taken with what I’d seen on the one side. But going back showed me rides like a 1934 Miller Rail Frame Indy Car, the “Burd Piston-Racing Special.” Other high-end race cars, some from the “cigarette era” (describing the shape of the cars, not the sponsorship, which was also mostly tobacco back then, come to think of it), and others from the older era of Indy, were there.
But then there was the pedestrian that was also fun to see—a 1961 Corvair, robin’s egg blue and sporting four doors. It was there mostly because it illustrated the point that strippers (not the people kind) can be fun to own, and perhaps more significantly, that they represent an important part of the auto heritage we enjoy. They also featured an original Meyers Manx dune buggy.
Kinda makes you think it would be good to find something with some “poverty caps”—cheapo hubcaps intended to do nothing more than keep dirt out of the wheel bearings—and maybe radio delete, and fix it up to drive around.
And the expensive stuff was on the Grand Boulevard too—a Delahaye from 1937 (135 M model). Nice, almost like Marlene Dietrich would walk right out from behind the driver’s seat, or maybe the back seat.
And there were car clubs that did more than just display their members’ collectibles. For instance, the Crazy 8s Cars and Social Club had sand and surfboards set up, like they had their rides on the beach. The San Fernando Valley Model A Club had no props, but they did have a number of lovely vehicles. Funny, though, it’s like the magazines are saying in their more frightened moments—there were mostly grayheads in their booth space. Is the hobby fading? You have to wonder.
Individual cars not on the Grand Boulevard but tucked away in corners included an amazing 1956 Century Buick (that’s what the sign said) in white and salmon with a matching interior. There was a black 1966 Corvair. A perfectly restored 1964 Riveria, complete with adoption story in the front windshield.
And something so uncool that, in the reverse logic of these days, it deserved attention: the first FWD Toyota Tercel. Remember those from the late 70s and 80s? Doors so thin and tinny that they almost bent when you closed them? Unbelievably horrid interiors? Yep, but I gotta say, seeing this one made me smile. And others too—people were taking pictures of it at least.
To finish out the catalogue of goodies, there were some Studebakers, a cool radical custom called a “Rog riguez,” and a gasser.
You could spend a week seeing all this stuff. I hope you spent at least a day.