Neighborhood cruise-in nights – expanded

Wow! I got a lot of feedback from all over the country about ‘neighborhood cruise-in’ nights. Not the big cruises, with thousands of classic cars and hot rods, but the local neighborhood cruise-in nights. Apparently there are thousands of cruise-in nights all across America, just like my local one on Mondays at Bearden’s Burgers, in Rocky River, Ohio.

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The other night I was in Erie, Pennsylvania on business. I wanted to catch an MLB baseball game that night, so I went to Quaker Steak & Lube, which is a sports bar with lots of big screen TVs and a few classic cars on display. One was a ‘50s Corvette convertible and another was a dragster. They had a few other classic cars, and I thought it was pretty cool how they had them displayed.

The TVs were all tuned to random ESPN stations with talking heads, but no games. The female bartender didn’t have a clue, which sports events were on TV that night, so I requested a particular Cleveland Indians/Chicago White Sox game. It took a different person a while, but they finally got the game. Then it hit me.

The sports bar obviously likes classic cars. Did they have any ‘cruise nights’ at this restaurant? “Yes,” responded the well-endowed bartender. “We have a Bike and Classic Car ‘cruise night’ every Wednesday night, but only from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

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I thought about it and realized this is local information that only locals would know about. I was correct in my thoughts, there must be thousands of cruise-in nights all across America. Wouldn’t it be great if there were a national listing of neighborhood cruise-in nights so visitors like me would know about them?

Well, that’s a huge undertaking and I sure don’t have the extra time in my already busy life to create one. Where I find out about different cruise-in nights is local/regional ‘cruise-in’ type magazines and websites like my friend, John Shapiro’s Cruisin Times Magazine, which is operated out of Cleveland, http://www.cruisintimes.org, and another great source out of Detroit, Michigan is Dana DeCoster, Publisher and chief floor Sweeper at Cruis’news Publications; http://www.cruisnews.com.

So, I’ve decided to start a listing of all the cruise-in sources like websites/magazines to find cruise-in nights in your area, and I need your help.

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I want to know about every cruise-in listing, website or cruise-in type magazine in America. Please respond and send them to me at my Facebook page, Dream Machines, at;

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Machines/560475744012570

If my instincts are correct, I’ll bet every region in the country has these type of cruise-in type magazines/websites. Send me your local websites and magazines, I will start this list this week and post it on my Facebook wall, or maybe I’ll start a new Facebook page. Keep reading because things have a habit of changing and maybe I can get this list on my blog as well. See ya next week and it’s getting closer to summer… time for Dream Machines to hit the street.

 

 

 

 

Old Car Trivia!

IT’S TIME FOR ‘OLD CAR TRIVIA!’

I love trivia and games like the TV shows, ‘Jeopardy’ and ‘Who wants to be a millionaire.’ But this is about cars and things related. Some questions are easy, some funny, some interesting and some will make you go, ‘Hm-m-m-m-m.’  There are some hard questions and, of course, some impossible to answer unless you are a real car nut with a photographic memory.

Trivia prep:  Ford, who made the first pick-up trucks, shipped them to dealers in crates that  the new owners had to assemble using the crates as the beds of the trucks.  The new owners had to go to the dealers to get them, thus they had to “pick-up” the trucks. And now you know the “rest of that story”.

A friend sent me the ‘Old Car Trivia’ and I thought you might like to play. READY? GO!  (don’t scroll down too fast or you’ll be cheating).

Q: What was the first official White House car?

A 1909 White Steamer

 

A: A 1909 White Steamer, ordered by President Taft. Does that order include a side of fries?

Q: Who opened the first drive-in gas station?

Gulf gas station in Pittsburgh

 

A: Gulf gasoline opened up the first gas station in Pittsburgh in 1913.

Q: What city was the first to use parking meters?

Oklahoma City parking meter

 

A: Oklahoma City, on July 16, 1935. Must have been some parking problems? I hate these things.

Q: Where was the first drive-in restaurant?

Royce Hailey's Pig Stand

 

A: Royce Hailey’s Pig Stand opened in Dallas in 1921. Dallas? Really?

Q: True or False?  The 1953 Corvette came in white, red and black?

1953 Corvette

 

A: False.  The 1953 ‘Corvett’s were available in only one color, Polo White.

Q: What was Ford’s answer to the Chevy Corvette, and other legal street racers of the 1960’s?

Carroll Shelby's Mustang GT350

 

A: Carroll Shelby’s Mustang GT350.

Q: What was the first car fitted with an alternator, rather than a direct current dynamo?

The 1960 Plymouth Valiant.

 

A: The 1960 Plymouth Valiant.

Q: What was the first car fitted with a replaceable cartridge oil filter?

1924 Chrysler

 

A: The 1924 Chrysler.

Q: What was the first car to be offered with a “perpetual guarantee”? A ‘Lifetime’ warranty?????

1904 Acme

 

A: The 1904 Acme, from Reading , PA.  Acme closed down in 1911. I heard of 100,000 mile powertrain warranties, but forever for the whole car??? This was doomed from the first day.

Q: What American luxury automaker began by making cages for birds and squirrels?

The George N. Pierce Co.

 

A: The George N. Pierce Co. of Buffalo , who made the famous Pierce Arrow, also made iceboxes. I unfortunately remember iceboxes in the ’50s. We lived in the country and couldn’t afford those new-fangled refrigerators. A guy would come around about once a week selling blocks of ice. We also had a coal furnace. Geez, do I sound old. Crap!

Q: What car first referred to itself as a convertible?

1904 Thomas Flyer,

 

A: The 1904 Thomas Flyer, which had a removable hard top.

Q: What car was the first to have it’s radio antenna embedded in the windshield?

1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

 

A: The 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix. A man’s car. Yeah!

Q: What car used the first successful series-production hydraulic valve lifters?

1930 Cadillac V12

 

A: The 1930 Cadillac 452, the first production V16.

Q: Where was the World’s first three-color traffic lights installed?

First stop light Detroit , Michigan

 

A: Detroit , Michigan in 1919. Two years later they experimented with synchronized lights. Then they experimented with traffic jams on Woodward Avenue, the first American highway and the first paved road in America.

Q: What type of car had the distinction of being GM’s 100 millionth car built in the U.S. ?

1966 Olds Tornado

 

A: March 16, 1966 saw an Olds Tornado roll out of Lansing, Michigan with that honor. Great design for ’66.

Q: Where was the first drive-in movie theater opened, and when?

First drive-in movie Camden, NJ in 1933

 

A: Camden, NJ in 1933. Making out in a car got different too!

Q: What autos were the first to use a standardized production key-start system?

1949 Chrysler

 

A: The 1949 Chryslers.

Q: What did the Olds designation 4-4-2 stand for?

Oldsmobile 442

 

A: 4 barrel carburetor, 4 speed transmission, and dual exhaust. Oh, yeah.

Q: What car was the first to place the horn button in the center of the steering wheel?

1915 Scripps-Booth Model C

 

A: The 1915 Scripps-Booth Model C. The car also was the first with electric door latches. You didn’t know this???

Q: What U.S. production car has the quickest 0-60 mph time?

1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409

 

A: The 1962 Chevrolet Impala SS 409. Did it in 4.0 seconds. Didn’t look fast, but out on Woodward Avenue in the 1960s they were a formidable drag racer.

Q: What’s the only car to appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and Newsweek?

'66 Mustang

 

A: The Mustang. Great idea at the right time at the right price.

Q: What was the lowest priced mass
produced American car?

1925 Ford Model T Runabout

 

A: The 1925 Ford Model T Runabout. Cost $260, $5 less than 1924. This is a car I can afford! I do remember buying a ’52 Mercury in 1962 for $50. Had rust up to the windows.

Q: What is the fastest internal-combustion American production car?

1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R

 

A: The 1998 Dodge Viper GETS-R, tested by Motor Trend magazine at 192.6 mph.

Q: What automaker’s first logo incorporated the Star of David?

Dodge Brothers emblem

 

A: The Dodge Brothers. Say what? Wow. Did not know this.

Q: Who wrote to Henry Ford and said, “I have drove fords exclusively when I could get away with one.  It has got every other car skinned, and even if my business hasn’t been strictly legal it don’t  hurt anything to tell you what a fine car you got in the V-8”?

Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde)

 

A: Clyde Barrow (of Bonnie and Clyde) in 1934. If alive today, would he build hot rods from those cars?

Q: What car was the first production V12, as well as the first production car with aluminum pistons?

1915 Packard Twin-Six

 

A: The 1915 Packard Twin-Six. Used during WWI in Italy, these motors inspired Enzi Ferrari to adopt the V12 himself in 1948.

Q: What was the first car to use power operated seats?

1947 Packard

 

A: They were first used on the 1947 Packard line. Packards were really the classiest car for the longest time (before I was born).

Q: Which of the Chrysler “letter cars” sold the fewest amount?

1963, Chrysler 300 J

 

A: Only 400, 1963, 300J’s were sold (they skipped “I” because it looked like a number 1) My father had a’63 Chrysler Newport convertible with push button automatic transmission.

Q: What car company was originally known as Swallow Sidecars (aka SS)?

Jaguar SS, 1935

A: Jaguar, which was an SS model first in 1935, and ultimately the whole company by 1945. Never would’a guessed this.

Q: What car delivered the first production V12 engine?

1915 Packard's Twin-Six

 

A: The cylinder wars were kicked off in 1915 after Packard’s chief engineer, Col. Jesse Vincent, introduced its Twin-Six.

Q: When were seat belts first fitted to a motor vehicle?

1902 Baker Electric streamliner racer 1902 Baker Electric streamliner racer

 

A: In 1902 on a Baker Electric streamliner racer, which incidentally crashed at 100 mph. on Staten Island ! Staten Island?

Q: In January 1930, Cadillac debuted it’s V16 in a car named for a theatrical version of a 1920’s film seen by Harley Earl while designing the body.  What’s that name?

Madam 'X'

 

A: The “Madam X”, a custom coach designed by Earl and built by Fleetwood (Mac?). The sedan featured a retractable landau top above the rear seat.

Q: Which car company started out German, yet became French after WWI?

1909 Bugati

 

A: Bugati, founded in Molsheim in 1909, became French when Alsace returned to French rule. This was impossible for me.

Q: In what model year did Cadillac introduce the first electric sunroof?

1969 Cadillac

 

A: 1969 Cadillac. Should have known this.

Q: What U.S. production car had the largest 4 cylinder engine?

1907 Thomas

 

A: The 1907 Thomas sported a 571 cu. in. (9.2liter) engine. That’s a big 4 banger!

Q: What car was reportedly designed on the back of a Northwest Airlines airsickness bag and released on April Fool’s Day, 1970?

1970 Gremlin, (AMC)

 

A: 1970 Gremlin, (AMC) I should have known this.

Q: What is the Spirit of Ecstasy?

Rolls  Royce hood ornament

 

A: The official name of the mascot of Rolls Royce.  She is the lady on top of their radiators. Expensive lady.

Q: What was the inspiration for MG’s famed octagon-shaped badge?

MG emblem (Morris Garages)

 

A: The shape of founder Cecil Kimber’s dining table. MG stands for Morris Garages. Huh?

Q: In what year did the “Double-R” Rolls Royce badge change from red to black?

Rolls  Royce badge

A: Come on! This is…easy? 1933 of course.

Well, how did you do? I didn’t do too well. Hope you at least enjoyed it. See ya next week.

Your neighborhood cruise-in night

A friend from California was intrigued in our conversation about my book, by cruise-ins. She asked if I had ever gone to the Big Boy restaurant in Pasadena for cruise night. The only time I was there, it was definitely cruise night. Well, every night was cruise night back in the ‘60s when I was there. Not a car over 1967. And I also liked the Big Boy burger and the Slim Jim.

Totem Pole art

Back in the ‘60s in Detroit, Woodward Avenue had two Big Boys. One was near where I lived, but it was not a drive-in. The other Big Boy at Thirteen Mile Road on Woodward was a drive-in with curb service. They had a minimum charge to eat in the car because kids would come in, and park for hours watching the cruising scene.

There were a lot of drive-ins on Woodward back then, like the Totem Pole. But what has taken it’s place are bars and restaurants that attract classic cars by designating a ‘cruise night.’ A lot of Big Boys, Steak and Shakes, and Sonics (one of the last chains of drive-ins with curb service besides some A&Ws) around the country have them and so do a lot of sports bars like Quaker Steak and Lube that also have bike nights.

Totem Pole menu

A good source for drive-in restaurants is Jilly’s drive-in restaurant page; http://www.jazzkeyboard.com/jilly/jillys-drive-in-restaurant-page/

Here’s their list of Drive-in restaurants:

Drive-in restaurant homepages:

Jilly’s list also has a list of interesting articles about Drive-ins. I would think that most of these places have a designated ‘cruise-in’ night where you will meet friendly people that have awesome ‘Dream Machines.’ Hey, Google it for a cruise-in night where you live.

 

Classic car shows

I love 1972 and under classic cars and also the hot rods made from those classic cars. All baby-boomers wish they had kept their old cars and many of them did.

If only I would have kept some of my cars; ’52 Mercury, ’62 Alpine Sunbeam, ’62 Pontiac Bonneville convertible, ’64 Olds F-85 Jetfire, and a ’57 Lincoln convertible (it was light violet with white leather interior. I probably looked like a pimp, but it was a great car). I have no idea where I would have stored these cars even if I were smart enough to keep them. Oh well.

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The next best thing to owning a nice classic car is going to classic car/hot rod indoor shows in the winter, or in warm weather, to classic car ‘Cruise-ins’ at local hangouts that are typically listed in ‘Cruisin’ type regional magazines like, Cruisin’ Times out of Cleveland, Ohio, http://www.cruisintimes.org, or Cruis’news Publications, http://www.cruisnews.comwhich is out of Detroit, Michigan.

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Because I was sick, I missed three great shows;the Autorama, a Classic car and Hot Rod show at Cobo Center, Detroit, MI, The Cleveland, Autorama and in Dayton, Ohio, the World of Wheels I hate being sick. A friend sent some pictures – so that softened the blow.

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As I always mention, the biggest and best classic car and hot rod festival in the world is The Woodward Dream Cruise, http://www.woodwarddreamcruise.com. It is also the event in my novel, Dream Machines. The Dream Cruise is a one-day annual event, the third Saturday in August in the northern suburbs of Detroit. It is actually the second largest one-day event in America. Number one is Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in NYC at 5 million spectators. The Dream Cruise attracts around 1.3 million spectators. More impressive is the 40,000 classic cars and hot rods.

Yes, you read correctly; forty thousand (40,000) classic cars and hot rods. I grew up on Woodward Avenue in the ‘60s and every Friday and Saturday nights all the kids and adults would cruise all the drive-in restaurants on Woodward and drag race in-between the stop lights, placed ½ mile apart.

Remember the movie, American Graffiti? Or the TV show, Happy Days? Woodward Avenue, in the 1960s, was like those shows… times a thousand. For fifteen miles, Woodward had a lot of drive-ins with roller-skating waitresses and burger wars. Each place had their own special burgers. My favorite Drive-in and burger was the, Big Chief, from the Totem Pole. You can still get it at a place called, Duggan’s Pub, on Woodward in Royal Oak, MI. It’s like biting into history.

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The northern suburbs were also the home to many auto execs from the ‘big 3,’ Ford, GM and Chrysler. Many auto execs got company cars and many times they brought next year’s model home. Their kids immediately brought out those Mustangs, GTOs, Chargers and everything else to cruise the drive-ins and drag race. There were so many people drag racing, the cops could never keep up.

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The ‘60s came to a close, kids went to war and came back to find all the drive-ins had closed. It was the end of an era. It wasn’t until years later that someone had the thought to do a ‘cruise’ on Woodward to celebrate those old days and this year will be the 20th Anniversary.

In my novel, Dream Machines, a young-couple love the Woodward Dream Cruise so much, they decided to make it their wedding day so they always will remember. A week before the Dream Cruise, they have a meet-and-greet party for both of their families. When their grandfathers meet, they recognize each other from a drag race on Woodward back in 1965 over a girl that ended in an accident. The hot-headed teen rivals swore to God that some day, some how they would finish the race. They kept their grudge for over 50 years, and the kept their old hot rods…just in case.

They challenge each other to finish the race on Woodward the coming Friday night, same as 1965, same time, same place. I can’t divulge any more than that, but I wrote it using the natural comedic circumstances along with the two grandfather’s hate for each other and it turned out pretty funny. People tell me they laughed out loud many times and smiled a lot through the story.

Can’t afford the high prices a lot of these classic cars bring? Go to a classic car show/cruise. There’s one coming soon to the Sandusky, Ohio area where Cedar Point Amusement Park is. It’s called the ‘Blue Suede Cruise’ at Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk Ohio on July 18-20, 2014. This cruise is a blast with over 2400 cars ’72 and older, drag races, camping and a concert by the ‘Van Dells.’ See http://summitmotorsportspark.com.

 

New Car Auto Shows 2014

When shopping for a new car, most people go to the Internet and get all the little details on what kind of car they are going to look for. That’s all good, but it doesn’t compare to actually seeing all the new cars at your local New Car Show.

Every year I go to the North American International Auto Show, which is in Detroit… in January…in winter…br-r-r-r-r!. I bring a small digital HD Sony Mini-Cam so I can shoot some background video for some of my auto dealer clients. I do their broadcast advertising. I also bring a Canon Rebel T3i still camera to shoot pictures for my blog.

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This past week I went to the New Car Auto Show in Cleveland, Ohio. It wasn’t as grand as the Cobo Hall, in Detroit, but offered the basics for any car buyer looking to scout out all the various models. Cleveland’s show also featured a classic car section, which I thought was a great addition.

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I have always loved Mustangs and the new 2015 Mustang is off-the-wall. When I was at last year’s Woodward Dream Cruise, I had the opportunity to meet Mustang chief engineer Dave Pericak and got to talk about the all-new Pony. This was at ‘Mustang Alley,’ a display area Ford put up in Ferndale, Michigan, for the Dream Cruise.

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For ‘Mustang Alley,’ the city closed off 9 Mile Road at Woodward to the east and showcased Fords, but more specifically, Mustangs. Ford had around 100 new Mustangs on display with all the after-market customizers like Roush, Saleen and Lingenfelter. Classic Mustang owners displayed over 700 Mustangs of every color, year, model and customization.

To the west, on 9 Mile, Chrysler sets up it’s ‘Mopar’ display with all the muscle cars they offer, especially the Challengers and Chargers, two sharp looking future classics. Also had hundreds of classic Chrysler products, primarily pre-1970, but a great car is a great car.

2015 Mustang2015 Mustang

At the Cleveland Auto Show, my 17 year-old daughter, Courtney, stopped in front of a new Charger Hemi AWD with wide eyes and declared, “It was her ‘dream car.’” I opened the car’s door and when she sat in the driver’s seat, I saw the look that I must have had back when I was a kid in Detroit going to the Auto Show. Sweet.

IMG_2459 Price: $482,000.00.

Just about every big city has New Car Auto Shows and a lot of medium sized towns have them as well. I highly recommend going and bring some youngsters along too. It’s good for young people to compare cars, vans, trucks and SUV’s to see what they might like, and it just might affect what your choice will be. This is where everybody can start dreaming about what kind of ‘Dream Machines’ they will be driving into the future.

Bobby Darin’s Dream Car

Between Elvis and the Beatles, there was Bobby Darin. He married America’s sweetheart of the moment, Sandra Dee. They were a dream couple. Bobby also got a real ‘Dream Machine’ when he bought a 1960 DiDia, one of the most unusually designed cars ever. It kind of reminds me of the TV show, ‘The Jetsons.’ If this car could fly, it would be theirs.

The 1960 DiDia 150 is a luxury handmade car, also known as the “Dream Car,” forever associated with its second owner, singer Bobby Darin. The car was designed by Andrew Di Dia. Bobby met him in 1957 while on tour in Detroit.  Darin told Di Dia that he would buy the car if he ever “hit it big”. Well, he did and he bought it.

The DiDia 150 was hand-built by four workers, at a cost of $93,647 and sold to Darin in 1961 at a cost of over $150,000 (1.5 million today). At the time, the car was listed as, ‘the most expensive ‘custom-made’ car in the world,’ by the Guinness Book of Records. The body was hand-formed by Ron Clark and constructed by Bob Kaiser from Clark Kaiser Customs.

Built in Detroit, Michigan, only one was ever finished. Its metallic red paint was made with 30 coats of ground diamonds for sparkle. V8 engine displacement 365/427, rear-wheel drive, and the body and chassis was hand-formed from 064 aluminum with a 125-inch wheelbase alloy tube frame.

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It has a glass cockpit in back, a squared steering wheel and thermostatically controlled air conditioning system.

The design included the first backseat-mounted radio speakers and hidden windshield wipers that started themselves when it rained.  Other features include retractable headlamps, and rear indicators that swivel as the car turns.  Each of the four bucket seats have their own thermostatically controlled air conditioning, individual cigarette lighters and ashtrays, as well as a radio speaker.  For some reason, the original engine, a Cadillac V8, was later replaced by a 427 high-performance engine by Ford, when it was taken on the show circuit.

Bobby Darin with his Dream Car

Darin and his wife, Sandra Dee, took the car to the 34th Academy Awards in 1961. When Darin wasn’t using it for public appearances, Di Dia toured the car around the country. After publicity and film use ended, Darin donated his “Dream Car” to the St Louis Museum of Transportation in 1970 where it remains today; A true ‘Dream Machine.’

Forward….March! Oh, wait!

I haven’t minded most winters, probably because I grew up in Michigan. You can actually do a lot of playing in the snow besides the obvious snow angels and snowmen. I’ve skated and skied my whole life. I grew up by a small lake and when it froze over, me and my buddies would skate across to the north side, then turn around and put the corners of a towel into the front of our pants, then raised the other corners way up to catch the north wind like a sail, which would carry us all the way back to our side.

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Ice fishing is not for me, although my brother and his kids love it. I do have friends that ice fish off South Bass Island/Put ‘n Bay in Lake Erie and their shanties can be quite comfortable, with a heater, lots of beer, food, portable TV to watch the games, soft cushion easy chairs, beer (again) and friends. Oh, yeah, once in a while they catch some fish.

Snowmobiles are a blast and I really got into cross-country skiing for a while, but my friends usually would bring too much peppermint schnapps. Way-too-much!

But one of the things I dislike about winter…is that you never get to see really nice classic cars.

Classic cars and hot rods belong in the garage in the winter, or at least covered. Salt and classic cars do not mix well and is like keeping an expensive painting outside on the porch. So, we people in the north have to forgo classic cars in the winter, unless you go to those car shows in the big convention centers, but that’s only for one day, and not out on the road.

At least we haven’t had a blizzard…yet (knock on wood). I remember living up in Traverse City, Michigan and was trapped in by the big blizzard of 1978. My roommate, Ron (I know – two Rons living together) had a place on the second floor above an ‘open-only-for- summer’ family funland called, ‘Arne’s Funland.’ It was my brother Arne’s place. He still builds miniature golf courses around the world and on top of cruise ships. www.adventureandfun.com/

We had a fantastic view of East Grand Traverse Bay and Old Mission Penninsula across the Lake Michigan bay. The blizzard came from the northeast and buried us under 4 feet of snow with over 20 foot drifts. It closed all the roads and highways. I was lucky because a girlfriend was snowed in with me. Ron was not as lucky and had to put up with thin walls;-)

As I looked down on our cars in the parking lot, all I could see was a couple of antennae poking through the snow like reeds. One belonged to my ’72 BMW Bavaria 5.0 and the other was on Ron’s new ’77 Corvette. Both belonged in a garage, but we were young, single, and they were the only cars we had.

The weather people have predicted even lower temperatures this week with even more white stuff coming down from the grey sky. It’s been a long, cold, snowy winter…so far. I’m definitely going to bring my 17 year-old son, Chase, to the New Car show in Cleveland this week at the I-X center. I went to the International Auto Show in Detroit in January and saw some hot new cars (wait till you see the all new Mustang).

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Further in March is the Autorama in Cleveland (https://www.pistonpowershow.com/), which I will go to see classic beauty, hot muscle cars mixed in with hopes of summer, when we can let all our Dream Machines out of the garage.

 

Winter in Cleveland persists like an ice cream brain-freeze; it can’t go away fast enough.

But I received some nice warm news from a friend of mine, Jeff Wilkenson, who lives in the paradise of Sarasota, Florida. I lived in Sarasota for over 10 years and still can’t figure out why I moved to the frozen tundra north. Oh, yeah. Got married to a gal in Cleveland and next thing you know, I have two kids, a mortgage and a dog

The warm news is this last weekend, Jeff went to the Zypherhills winter Autofest in Zepherhills, Florida and his wife Anne, sent some photos.

Plymouth at Zephyr Hills show#2#4#3

I love Sarasota. When I lived there, I had a nice red ’88 Mustang GT convertible that I treated like a baby. You know. It had a V8 High Output 5.0 with 225 HP, which doesn’t sound like much, but it was a small car, and very fast. It took me over 6 years to pay it off. I loved that car, but I found out that there are a lot of people who are so deranged that they hate people that have nice things.

My '88 Mustang GT

First thing that happened was at a bar/restaurant, in a town that I had never been to before (I travel a lot by car in my business). The Mustang looked beautiful and the parking lot light gave it a nice photogenic pose. When I came out, some jealous loser had slashed all four tires.

Where I lived on St. Armand’s Key, an island off the coast of Sarasota, we lived just blocks from beautiful Lido Beach. I say ‘we’ because I had to have several roommates to pay the rent on this ‘greatest-of-all bachelor pads.’ St. Armand’s Circle is where two streets meet and an extra-large circle helps the traffic flow. It is an area of fantastic restaurants, shops and nightclubs with the inside of the circle a perfect place for a picnic, art show or a concert. One night, another bitter loser came around the neighborhood and slashed all the convertible tops. Gr-r-r-r-r!

By the time I moved north, I had one of the first cell phones out. It was large, but I needed it for travel and the only charger I had for it was designed for a car lighter. So I had to leave the phone in the car at night to charge. Yep, one night another moronic loser broke the window and stole the phone, even though I had hid it pretty well. Someone had to know it was in the car.

A year after that, I brought my Mustang into a local Lincoln dealer to have the upper portion re-painted because someone in a parking lot somehow caused a long scratch on the side. I received a call from the dealer, “your car was stolen and by-the-way, you owe us for the paint job.”

The cops eventually found a body part of my car that had a VIN on it. They said the car must have been stolen and taken to a ‘chop-shop’  (thieves take apart cars for it’s parts, then sold). They also said there was no evidence that it had been painted and instead looked like faded paint. I confronted the dealer, but he kept my payment because there was no proof and yeah, I was pissed; he was a client.

But, to bring me back to warmer thoughts, spring is the light in winter’s tunnel and I can hardly wait for the warm nights that bring out the cruisers in their incredible Dream Machines.

PS –   Oh, yeah; I’m going to try and do this blog with a little bit of regularity, something I’m blessed with in the morning (is this too much information?). I plan to write it over the weekend and start posting on Mondays. I hope that works for me… and you.

Mid-February-Cabin fever-too much snow-winter blues

I’m in Cleveland, Ohio and it’s been a brutal winter…so far. The weather is bad too. Mid-February and we just got another five inches on top of the fifteen inches already on the ground. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, this winter has had over 20 days that was at or below zero. Lake Erie is froze over. I’m froze over. When will spring come? I have the ‘cabin fever – too much snow – winter blues’ (Is that a country song?)

Coming up in March there’s some cool indoor activity that’s warm. In Detroit, March 7-8-9, there’s the Autorama, a Classic car and Hot Rod show at Cobo Center, Detroit, MI (Championship Auto Shows). 

The Cleveland Autorama is coming up at the IX center, March 14-15-16 (Piston Powered Cleveland AutoRama )

And Dayton, Ohio has the World of Wheels at the Expo Center, March 21-22-23 (Championship Auto Shows)

But I’m looking forward this summer to something warm and blue that is awesome; The annual ‘Blue Suede Cruise’ at Summit Motorsports Park, Norwalk Ohio on July 18-20, 2014. This cruise is a blast with over 2400 cars ’72 and older, drag races, camping and a concert by the ‘Van Dells.’ See http://summitmotorsportspark.com.  By-the-way, this event is just minutes from one of the best amusement parks in the world; Cedar Point, in Sandusky, Ohio.

A lot of this information comes from my friend John Shapiro via his great Cruisin Times Magazine, which is operated out of Cleveland, http://www.cruisintimes.org, and is an incredible source of information on a lot of mid-west cruises and like events as well as a good read about classic cars and hot rods.

Another great source out of Detroit, Michigan is Dana DeCoster, Publisher and chief floor Sweeper at Cruis’news Publications, http://www.cruisnews.com. Cruis’news also has articles on classic cars, hot rods and a whole list of related subjects.

During the incredible annual 40,000 classic cars and hot rod festival, the Woodward Dream Cruise, Dana can be seen on Woodward Avenue, scrambling between his, at least four, ‘Cruis’news tents.’ (see photo – The Cruis’news tent at Duggan’s Pub, the Dream Cruise headquarters).IMG_2316

In the meantime, us Clevelanders and many mid-western people, are all going to just keep shoveling our driveway (actually I have my 17 year-old son do it now), and hope that at some time soon, it will warm up enough, so we can all get out our Dream Machines and just cruise – without worrying about all that damn salt on the road.

Valentine’s Day 2014

My very good friend Rod got married on Valentine’s day at the top of a ski mountain in California. It was very romantic, but unromantic when he got divorced a few years later.

'62 Alpine Sunbeam

’62 Alpine Sunbeam

When I first met Rod, he was driving a 1964 MGB fastback with a large British Jack painted on the hood. I liked him right away when he told me his first car was a ’59 Anglia, a small English car. My second car was a ’59 Anglia and we had a great time talking about all the dumb things we did in those cars that are slightly bigger that a roller-skate.

At the time we met I had a small 250cc Honda motorcycle that I eventually had an accident on and pretty much screwed up my right leg. I also had a 1962 VW van that pretty much looked like your typical ‘hippy’ van. That thing ran and ran and ran and ran until I stupidly sold it.

I’ve had a lot of cars that I shouldn’t have sold, but what the heck are you going to do with them when you’re a young person with no real home. My mother died when I was in the US Army during Vietnam. My father traveled the country with a pull behind trailer, so, nowhere to store any of these cars.

In my teens I had a number of jobs that afforded me money to buy cars. I had a red ’62 Alpine Sunbeam convertible, which is the car Maxwell Smart drove in the old TV series, ‘Get Smart.’ Bond, 007, also drove one in one of the movies with Sean Connery. It only had a 6 cylinder engine, but I drag raced it on Woodward back in ’65.

My old friends always remind me of a car I wish I still had; a lavender ’57 Lincoln convertible with white leather seats. I probably looked like a pimp, but that was one hell of a car. I remember driving that car on I-75 north of Detroit and the speed limit at that time was 75 MPH.

My true Valentine’s Day car was a ’62 red Pontiac Bonneville convertible with black leather seats that burned my butt in the hot summer days. The 389 engine gave the car plenty of power, but the heavier convertible wasn’t a good car for drag racing on Woodward, in the ‘60s, even on Valentine’s Day. However, the car was perfect for cruising all the drive-ins on Woodward.