Sunday, November 22, 2009

Damn, I miss old fashioned antique car shows

Today a my wife, a friend and I went to a huge antique & classic car show in Pompano.
It wasn't of the best I've been to in Florida...but there still wasn't the magic of car shows i went to with my old lady and old man when I was a kid.

This show was about 60% muscle cars and hot rods (and Covettes), 25% Pre 1965 non-muscle cars and 15% hoopdies (70's cars with 22" rims through new cars customized). You could pic your year, engine and color for 'Vettes and 'Stangs. You could count the pre-war antiques on two hands.

When I was a kid, '57 Chevys were only around 20 years old, and 60's muscle cars were 10-year-old junk that only greasy kids that hung out in shop class wanted. You could take your pick of 50's finned cars, because most people thought of them as old, gas-guzzling, out-of-style clunkers. I knew a guy who lived in a 40-foot trailer, and had three '67 Caddy convertibles. He tried to sell me one for $300, and I remember telling him it was too much because the seat was ripped. So car shows in the ’70s & '80s were filled with line after line of Model A Fords, '32 Chevys, '30s Cadillacs and LaSalles, and rare cars from the '50s and '60s like the '58 Caddy Eldorado Brougham and the '63 Lincoln Convertible. There were always big-fendered cars from the '30s, and even a few bullet holes from the Prohibition era. Novelty cars like the Amphicar and odd-balls like American Bantam of the '30s were usually featured. Hot rods were generally cars that had been hot-rodded in the '50s, and still looked the same. And almost everybody did a good amount of the restorations themselves.
I also used to love the shows that were held at old-style locations. In particular, there was a show held in the Historic Towne of Smithville in South Jersey. The whole town was made up of houses and shops from the 18th century. Somehow those Tin Lizzies and fat fendered Fords looked pefect next to those old houses. Another was held at a little place called Gravely Run, also in SJ. It was a group of buildings from the turn of the century, and had the same appeal. One of the best was held throughout the city of Wildwood, NJ, a town that grew up in the '50s and 60's and has a the largest collection of "Doo-Wop" style mid-century motels and diners in the world. THAT was fantastic (I drove to it in my '56 Buick Draggin Waggin)
This show we went to today was held at the Festival Flea Market, a temple of modern, cheap commercialism. Not that it's a bad thing, but there was just something off-kilter about seeing a '53 Cadillac next to a 2006 Custom Escalade, in front of a plastic & aluminum modern sign for the mall.
Don't get me wrong, I still had fun today. There were a lot of cool cars and even a couple of antique motorcycles. But I don't think I'll ever get to go to a car show like the ones I went to as a kid again.
To see the photos from this show, over 100 with great views of the best cars, go to

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