Mid-west classic car season begins

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This year has been harsh on mid-westerners. 6 months of winter followed by a week of spring. It is finally June, the month where you usually expect mid-80s weather with the back yard grill working overtime. We all hope that is true.

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But what is true, is that there are a number of mid-western cruise-ins scheduled in June and the weather can just be damned if it’s bad. This weekend was calm with a smattering of cruise-ins at smaller venues, like the big sports bars like, Quaker Steak & Lube. Usually their cruise-ins are just bikers, but many times they have classic cars and hot rods as well. You just have to look in a directory. What directory?

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There are many mid-western sources of cruise-ins and events with classic cars and hot rods. One is cruisin’ times magazine out of Cleveland, Ohio: http://www.cruisintimesmagazine.com. Another is Cruisenews magazine out of Detroit at: http://www.cruisnews.com.

There are a number on online lists for mid-west cruise-ins as well:

In Chicago you could go here: http://www.carcruiselist.com/.

In Columbus, Ohio go here: https://www.facebook.com/columbuscruisein.

Cincinnati car fans can go here: http://www.countrycruiser.com/cincy.htm

In Louisville, southern Indiana, go here: http://www.cruisenightcars.com/

In Pittsburgh, go here: http://www.carcruises.com/cruise_list.asp?month_select=5&state=Pennsylvania.

Indianapolis: http://www.oldcarsonly.com/page/page/187576.htm

St. Louis FB users go to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/St-Louis-Classic-Car-and-Hot-Rod-Clubs/97883669371

This online list has cruise-ins all over the country: http://www.carshowguide.com/

And this one also offers a nationwide source of various classic car and hot rod events here: http://www.carshowlist.com/

There continues to be an amazing source of cruise-ins in every town in America. Google or Bing “(Your city) classic car cruise nights” and I think you’ll find cruise-ins, auto collections, auto museums, and auto shows everywhere. That’s because America still has a love affair with their automobiles. It’s their personal ‘Dream Machine.’

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Restoration projects and metal benders.

I have been thinking about this for a good while. What makes a person restore an older car? What drives him/her? How does a normal everyday person decide to rebuild a car they saw in their childhood?

This week I ran into a quasi-relative at a first-year-old’s birthday party for my…Nephew-in-law’s son. Cliff is the child’s father’s uncle, which would make him a great uncle? I’m sure he is. Or is it…well, it doesn’t matter, I’ve played golf with Cliff for over 20 years so he’s considered, a friend, a friend that I never knew that well. I didn’t know, until now, that he is an artist…with metal.

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Cliff also told me something else that he never mentioned to me, that he rebuilt a classic ’56 Chevy B210 into a very nice lookin’ Dream Machine that has some nice power as well. The car used to have a straight 6, but now has a Chevy 350 V8 that has about 300 HP. He also mentioned that he made many parts from scratch; he’s an expert welder and bends metal to his liking.

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This I had to see. So, my kids and I rode out to Cliff’s place in the country. Way out in the country. My 17 year-old daughter, Courtney, and her twin, my son, Chase, was with me and when they saw the car as we drove into the driveway that features a four-car garage, they gasped and their eyes grew large.

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The Chevy is a gorgeous shade of orange, like an Orange Crush. Beautiful. Cliff told us that he carefully, and meticulously painted the car in his garage. I took a peak inside at the interior expecting to see floor shifter and yes, there it was, but it looked different. It was an automatic transmission. Cliff said he didn’t like shifting a lot whenever he’s in a parade or at a cruise-in.

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Cliff’s wife, Joy, invited us inside for a drink and we got surprised again. Cliff is such a good metal bender, that he makes model ships…out of stainless steal. Not small ships, large art sculptures with a lot of detail. I’ll post some pictures. Out back of his house was another surprise; a 30’ deep pond with fish and a diving board. Not a bad lifestyle.

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Cliff wanted us to see his neighbor’s project car, so we hopped in his Chevy and took a short ride with a low rumble. His friend Rocky, lives just a few houses down, but his large barn-like garage told me a lot. The garage door was open and inside was a hot rod made from a ’30 Ford. It was on a lift, but the closer you got, the better it looked. Court and Chase were mesmerized by this…work of art.

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Rocky told us that many parts on the highboy were hand made from stainless steel (I could see Cliff, had a hand in this). Rocky agreed to build the car for a guy named, Jerry Bullock, who is going to give it to his 70 year–old wife. Jerry gave Rocky plenty of money to work with so it would come out spectacular. It’s quite evident that Rocky is another artist. The paint job alone was gorgeous, which included a very detailed paint job on the engine as well. The 350 Chevy Corvette engine was ground down to smoothness so the paint could go one evenly and smoothly. Awesome. Even the bottom of the car was spectacular.

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In the back of the garage was a ’64 Pontiac GTO that needed a lot of work. Cliff mentioned that he needed a body panel so he just made it from scratch. In another room, Rocky converted it into a paint shop. Inside, under wraps, was an old Jaguar that they had just dropped an engine into, but it was a long-term project.

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Metal benders like Cliff and Rocky can turn a piece of metal into art, functional art. They built a real Dream Machine, pretty much from scratch.

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There’s an interesting article about restoring a car that is in much more detail than I can give. Check out this Dream Machine project at:  http://www.chevyhardcore.com/project-cars/project-swinger/project-swinger-the-project-build-wrap-up-for-our-71-nova-part-i/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=project-swinger-the-project-build-wrap-up-for-our-71-nova-part-i

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Rained out cruise-in

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Cruise-ins are so much fun, unless it’s rained out. Nobody shows up. No classic cars. No hot rods. Nada. Zip. Nothing. It was also a bummer.

So, this will be a short blog with some pictures I took from last year’s Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit and some pictures from last year’s Blue Suede Cruise in Norwalk, Ohio.

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While at a birthday party this weekend I talked to a few people that were relatives of a sister-in-law. They know about my book and one asked about the value of his 1972 Ford F-250 pickup truck. I don’t know, but I do have a lot of friends who know the value of classic cars.

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The problem with determining value of a classic car is that there are many determining factors; Popularity of that model and year, the amount of factory options, the amount of after-market products, the engines size and horsepower, the interior’s condition, exterior’s condition and a whole lot of other stuff. Also, the person doing the appraisal can make a difference.

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I’m going to do some research and come up with a list of classic car sales sources. I know a lot of sites that do this, but I know there are many more. So coming soon to this blog, will be that list.

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Another subject that came up at the birthday party was restoration projects on classic cars. Another relative of a sister-in-law has several cars he is working on and he invited me to stop by. So, another future blog will be about restoration projects and all that it entails.

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So, sorry this is so short today, but I’ve been rained out of this one. The weatherman says it will be nice this weekend, so I will have plenty of time for a couple of cruise-ins checking out all the awesome Dream Machines. Talk to ya next week.

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Roger’s Chevrolet Camaro show

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I wasn’t sure I was going to drive 2 ½ hours to go to a Camaro Show in Trenton, Michigan, but I did. It was beautiful weather and my 17 year-old son, Chase, needed driving time for his license, so I had him drive me. I didn’t have to grit my teeth…much. My hidden reason to go was that I used to live in Trenton for only one year, during my 9th grade of High School. It was a nice chance to show the school to my son.

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By the time we got to the Chevy dealership at noon, the place was packed with Camaro fans and Camaros. The cruise-in was dubbed, ‘The 6th annual Rodger’s Chevrolet Camaro Show,’ and it was sponsored by the, Detroit 5th gen Camaro Club. I was surprised this many people were here at a Chevy store because this was in the middle of Ford country, way downriver from Detroit. Ford’s massive Woodhaven assembly plant is a stone’s throw and it sure looked like a lot of Fords were driving by.

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The dealership had a lot of gorgeous new Camaros intermingled with the Camaro club’s classic Chevys on display and the crowd loved it. We were checking out a ’69 Camaro SS convertible when, VROOOM!!! A Camaro started up with a roar and everybody ran toward the sound of power.

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It was a Camaro with a big block V-8 Yenko engine and a large hood scoop sucking in air. The deep-angry-loud revving shook the ground and reverberated right through your body. This Camaro was drag-strip ready and the girl that got to start the car was in shock how loud it was inside the car, even while wearing ear protectors. When it shut down, a huge silence occurred, but only momentarily as the crowd gave up a rousing cheer.

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Something caught my eye; a Camaro with flip-up doors like some Ferrari’s have. Nobody was there to answer my questions if it was from an after-market company or just an individual with a talent for sculpting metal. Definitely, cool.

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A guy sitting next to his classic ’68 Old 442 convertible responded to a guy complaining his car wasn’t a Camaro, “Go play in someone else’s yard.” He awkwardly walked away, apparently looking for another yard. Goes to show, you just can’t please everybody and there’s always a grumpy person in every crowd.

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There were probably about 100 cars in the show and it was fun to see some of the old designs and paint jobs Camaros had over the years. It seemed most of the cars were SS models, but a few V6s were just as nice looking. In a way, it was like Mustang Alley at the Woodward Dream Cruise, woodwarddreamcruise.com, only with Camaros. Of course, Mustang alley featured close to a thousand Mustangs, but this was nice seeing these American, iconic classics.

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There were free hotdogs, drinks, trophies, raffles, door prizes, music, photo booth, as well as plenty of friendly and not pushy salespeople around, just in case you wanted to check out a new car. There were also several after-market companies hawking their ability to boost your Dream Machine’s speed.

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All-in-all, a good time and worth the drive. Pictures cannot compare to actually being there, seeing and touching. America has always had a love affair with cars and classic cars run even deeper to the heart. In Motor City, this is very true and has been like that since Henry Ford started the very first assembly plant here. It’s the stuff that Dream Machines are made of… (yeah, I stole it from Sam Spade).

Also- check out my Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dream-Machines/560475744012570

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Cars & Coffee cruise-in at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering

Every town has them. They gather like birds in the park on a statue. Cruise-ins. Cruise-ins for classic cars and hot rods. Going to your local ‘cruise-in’ to either park your Dream Machine or gawk at them, is a great pastime. You get to see some very cool classic cars and hot rods, as well as meet some interesting people that have similar interests. Just don’t be shy.

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Most cruise-ins I go to usually are on certain nights of the week or maybe a Saturday or Sunday afternoon at a drive-in, diner, dive, restaurant, sports bar, or even a large parking lot. Not this one. It happens every Saturday morning from 8am to 10am at the ‘North Engine build facility’ of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at 47451 Avante, at Beck Rd. in Wixom, Michigan.

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This was the kickoff event for the summer, except spring hasn’t sprang out of there yet and it was a cold and rainy morning. Despite that, a good crowd showed up with lots of hot iron. I say ‘hot’ because on closer examination under the hood, a lot of these muscle machines were sporting a Lingenfelter Supercharger. Hmmm.

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My daughter, Courtney and I went inside for some coffee. Inside, there were a couple of gorgeous cars displayed that had…Lingenfelter Superchargers. Hmmm. I was anxious to see the main engine building room, but my friend Ken Lingenfelter, the host of the cruise-in, said it was closed today because, “there’s some super secret ‘future’ stuff going on back there now.” Hmmmm.

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My immediate thought went to a ‘Flux Capacitor.’ Then again, that’s from the movie, ‘Back to the Future.’ ‘Dilithiam Crystals?’ No, that’s ‘Star Trek.’ Apparently, they are doing some hanky-panky with superchargers to do what? Increase the warp speed, of course.

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Ken said he goes to a lot of drag strips to test his motors and to show spectators what they can do with cars that come right out of the new car showroom. I asked him if he’ll be at the ‘Blue Suede Cruise at Summit Motorsports Park Dragway in Norwalk, Ohio in July. “Oh, yeah.” I don’t know how he keeps up his schedule of going to racetracks and cruises. Norwalk is by Sandusky, Ohio, home of Cedar Point, where they have the ride, ‘Top Thrill Dragster,’ Courtney’s favorite ride. I want to go too!

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We finally found the black gold: great tasting coffee and a ton of donuts of all shapes and sizes from Tim Hortons. That took the edge off the cold 50 degrees and a light drizzle back outside. More cars and people showed up and the two hours went quickly. If you’re looking to put more muscle into your Dream Machine, be it new or not-so-new, a supercharger will give you more…speed. For your Dream Machine, give Ken a call at Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, http://www.lingenfelter.com. Or, on Saturday mornings, stop by and gawk and drool all you want.

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Classic car collections – Ken Lingenfelter

Wow. Talk about, ‘Dream Machines,’ this car collection has been listed as one of the top ten car collections…in the world. I believe Jay Leno’s collection is also on that list.

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The Lingenfelter collection is owned by, Ken Lingenfelter, who is an old friend from back in the…’60s. He’s all grown up and owns and operates a ‘speed shop’ type company called, Lingenfelter Performance Engineering, http://www.lingenfelter.com, which has in the past specialized in modifying GM products, like Corvettes and Camaro, but now they have been expanding into some Fords, like Mustangs, as well.

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If you have the ‘need for more speed,’ but don’t want to buy another car, Ken is the guy to call. His speed shop will build muscle into your machine. They can also modify the car body, making dramatic statements, sometimes with spectacular results.

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Ken’s collection is in a very large building in Brighton, Michigan that makes a large new car dealership look small. There are enormous rooms and each over-sized room is jammed with classy cars. I didn’t count, but one person at the hot dog stand told me there were around 200 cars…indoors.

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Each room is filled with primarily one type of car. Like, one room had predominately foreign muscle cars like Bugati’s, Ferraris, Porsches, a Bentley, and one I wasn’t sure about.

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In another room is a lot of classic cars like ’63-’72 Chevelle SS’s, 442’s, Camaro SS’s, and too many to list. Check out the photos. One car was a ’64 or ’65 Pontiac 2+2 convertible, which had 421 inches of modified power. It was very similar to my old ’62 Bonneville convertible, but with more power per inch.

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In yet another room was a beautiful sight. It was packed tightly with wall-to-wall Corvettes. Mainly early ’54-mid-60s, but all the way up to a 2014 ‘vette. Walking into that room, I overheard a guy in the crowd, who was looking at a ’67 Covette with a 427 LS7 engine say, “Smells like America.”

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REEE-OAR!!! In the foreign room, Ken fired up a hot looking Enzo Ferrari and the loud blast from the sweet sound of high-performance power, sent the excited crowd running toward the rumble. By the time I got there, the large crowd was squeezed against the car and Ken was out of the car waving to a loud cheer, and now crushed by admirers and their high-tech questions on super-chargers vs turbo charged and power-tech issues that were way out of my league, but he could answer off–the-cuff.

 

Ken Lingenfelter

Ken Lingenfelter

I’m hoping to see Ken again soon at his very cool new summer-time Saturday morning tradition, ‘Cars & Coffee’ cruise-ins. They start May 3rd and go on every Saturday morning from 8am-10am. It’s at the ‘North Engine build facility’ of Lingenfelter Performance Engineering at 47451 Avante, at Beck Rd. in Wixom, Michigan.

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All makes and models are welcome to this cruise-in, it’s free and according to the printed announcement, the Cars & Coffee is, “a gathering of like-minded enthusiasts. It’s a place to take your ride, share stories and see some amazing cars.”

Of course, I prefer to call them; ‘Dream Machines.’

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Classic car collections – 1

Remember the ‘Cannonball Express?’ The race that Burt Reynolds made famous in his movies, was inspired by Erwin George ‘Cannonball’ Baker. Cannonball Baker, to create publicity for the Templar line of cars, was timed from New York City to Chicago, in 1920, covering 992 miles in 26 hours and 50 minutes (which included stops for fuel and sandwiches without turning off the engine). The race may be over, but the cars still exist; in a collection.

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I am constantly amazed at car collections, big and small. Car collections are a reflection of our history, which is sorely missing from our education today. Ask any college freshman what the constitution guarantees, our Bill of Rights says, or even what Abe Lincoln said in his historic, Gettysburg Address, and you’ll typically get a blank face reaction.

Car collectors I know normally have some kind of a car connection; like owning a car dealership. However, I found a classic car collection from the most odd source; my sister-in-law Chris. Her cousin, Dave Buehler, has a fascinating collection of cars manufactured in Cleveland, but were failures in mass sales; The Templar Motor car company. These are not what I’d call classic cars, but antique cars because they were built in 1917.

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I think the name kind of doomed the brand; Templar, which comes from The Order of the Knights Templar, which was a monastic order formed in Jerusalem in 1119 to protect the holy sepulcher and defend the crusaders. Yeah. We know how that turned out. However, free masons and the Masonic Lodge would be proud.

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These Masons wanted a beautiful, luxury car; their own ‘Dream Machines.’ The cars were very advanced for their early beginnings; like aluminum bodies and an array of nifty innovations like the closed circuit battery ignition system, Jacox steering gear, Perfection springs, Nigrum oilless spring bushings, Schwitzer universal joints and Goodyear tires.

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Apparently a lot of competition in auto manufacturing at the time is what killed the brand. After WWI, a long time ago, a lot of auto manufacturers thought that there would be a post-war boom for cars. Ford won this battle to prove at the time that, ‘less expensive’ was better. Smaller companies that offered excellent quality, but higher prices, went out of business.

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The Templar collection I visited is in an odd corner of Cleveland in a manufacturing building that the original Templars were built. I was shown how the final product had to be delivered by elevator to the main floor. According to everything I’ve read about the history of building cars, Henry Ford would not approve of car elevators.

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I asked Dave, who owns all these cars, what he’s going to do with the collection. He didn’t really know. I thought of the Crawford Automobile Museum, in Cleveland, but apparently they’re not sure what to do either. Anyone out there, especially Masons, know what to do with these antique ‘Dream Machines?’ Let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.