Slice of Americana / Travel / USA

Roadside Americana: Crusin’ The Classic Car Show

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To the joy of oil companies, and the chagrin of environmentalists, the car culture is undeniably alive and well in the United States. If all the words written on the importance (or destructiveness) of automobiles in America were laid end-to-end, they would reach to the Middle East and back. Serious stuff, no doubt, but this post is about a slightly more cheerful facet of the car culture – how the automobile in our country has been converted to “Americana” … in the form of the Classic Car Show.

All over America, on any given weekend, there are hundreds of car shows. (In the South, the only events held more frequently are Civil War Re-enactments.) And on a recent weekend, Terri and I attended an antique car show in Brunswick, Georgia. And while there were two recognizable levels of enthusiasm, we both enjoyed the show.

Car shows are an acquired taste I suspect, but they’re always a colorful, and nostalgic sight to see. Most classic car shows include three basic categories.

First, there are the truly “classic” cars which are restored to their original form.

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Next up are the older cars which are used as a base for construction of expensive, fast, and noisy hot rods.

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Finally, come the radically customized cars. Frequently the end product only bears a slight resemblance to the original, but they qualify as automotive works of art nonetheless.

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Normally, classic cars are money pits. But they’re also a fun indulgence in nostalgia, and most of the aficionados I’ve talked to are hopelessly addicted to their hobby.

As a footnote, this wasn’t just a car show, it was also the celebration of the 70th Anniversary of The Twin Oaks Drive-In, which in the days of crusin’, was one of three popular hangouts on the weekend circuit in Brunswick. The other two being The Varsity, and The Pig ‘n Whistle.

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Strangely, in my hometown of Glasgow, Kentucky there were also three points on the being-cool compass, which were Jerry’s Drive-In, The Tastee Freeze, and The Dairy O. On my infrequent weekend nights off from my burger-flippin’ job, I always made the rounds in my distinctly uncool, but infinitely practical 64 Chevy.

For all those out there old enough to remember cruisin’, tell me about your wheels, and the pilgrimage sites in your hometown.

Happy Cruisin’
James

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32 thoughts on “Roadside Americana: Crusin’ The Classic Car Show

  1. Not a fan of the old classic cars, nor the hot rods. My choice is definitely the classic American Muscle. Don’t ask for makes, I just know what I like. Muscle cars all the way for me.

    • Thanks Pam. Ahhh, what I’d give for a dipped cone. One important bit of info I excluded from the post, is that before I got my driver’s license I was a car hop at the Tastee Freeze. Tater tots rule!

      • Oh that is great! Never got to work there – I was at Big Boy’s and the Hershey Chocolate Factory instead. My brother practically lived on tator tots growing up. 🙂

  2. Had a 53 Chevy for my cruising, James. (grin) My son-in-laws father is into the serious competition of rebuilding classics like the Model A using all original parts. He wins top national prizes. It’s amazing what goes into the process. The hundreds of hours and the attention to detail. No way could I do that.

    Curt

    • Curt I think that a 53 chevy passed through my family at some point. I remember that there was so much empty space on either side of the engine, that a basketball could fall through. Size was no problem in those days. ~James

    • Thank Rusha. It’s funny. I’ve been to lots of car shows, but until I wrote this post, I hadn’t really thought much about the different categories of classic cars. This is one of the things that I love about blogging – it’s a great motivation to learn. And I bet if you checked around Knoxville, you’d find a car show somewhere this weekend. Have a great holiday! ~ James

    • I guess that cruising spots were in short supply in Summer Shade, huh? Did you see Scott’s comment? I had no idea that he and Tish were car buffs. It sounds like a really big deal in Nashville. You and Dascal should check out the three-day car show. It sounds like lots of fun. ~Love, JH

  3. Car shows are a weekend event everywhere in Canada as well. Beautiful cars and lots of love and work put into them. 🙂 When I was a teen the cruising destination was A & W and later Dairy Queen, both of which were on the outskirts of the city.

    • I’m happy to hear that our brothers and sisters to the north were also into cruising. We had an A&W as well, but it really wasn’t a hot spot, at least for crusin’. But I certainly loved the frosty mugs of root beer. ~James

  4. I am one of those deranged individuals. I was just at the Good Guys show in Nashville this past weekend. Over 2,000 Customs, Classics, Hot Rods, and Muscle Cars over three days (www.good-guys.com). On top of that, in one week, Tish and I will be joining the Hot Rod Power Tour (www.hotrod.com/eventcoverage/hot_rod_power_tour/). It is the world’s largest road trip. Mostly made up of pre ’72 vehicles. This is their 19th annual tour. This year it begins in Arlington, TX and ends up in Charlotte, NC. We are picking them up in Memphis. It will be just us and around 5,000 other crazy folks and their cars.

    In mid-June, we will be attending an exhibition of Art Deco automobiles at the Frist Center here in Nashville. The name if the exhibition is “Sensuous Steel: Art Deco Automobiles“. (www.fristcenter.org/calendar-exhibitions/detail/sensuous-steel)

    And no respectable teenager would cruise around Glasgow without a trip up and down Happy Valley Road!

    Scotty

    • Scott, I just knew that somebody would comment that knew a lot more than I do about classic cars. I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s you. I had no idea that you and Tish were into old cars. That’s great. The traveling road show sounds very cool as well. BTW, what type of car do you have? The local show was tiny compared to 2000 cars. I suspect it would take three days to take it all in. Also, I had no idea there were “art deco” cars. I checked the link an they’re way cool. Thanks for the comment and hugs to Tish. ~James

    • Thanks Mike. Some weekend nights in my hometown were like American Graffiti. Appearances were everything, and the formula for being cool was complex. I never achieved it, but looking back, it was fun to try. ~James

  5. Great collection of photos. We have a vintage grand pier here in Pittsburgh, July, August where the old classic cars race around one of our parks. Thanks for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    • Thanks Kaye. The 60’s must have been the peak of hot rod mania, and Chevys were all the rage in my hometown. My brother had a 56 Chevy that was “souped up” and his pride and joy. I was the pain-in-the-neck younger brother, so I didn’t get many rides. ~James

  6. Pingback: Americana Clip – The Cars | Americana International

  7. Twin oaks is Crusin’ Car Show May 9th 2015 ! Please come back and join us for a day of BBQ, FUN, MUSIC and of course Cars ! May 9th 2015 will be a blast from the past ! Please introduce your self to Darlene water’s or Trina Haney and let us know you are the blogger from gallivance or that you are a reader! We welcome everyone! Hope to see you on may 9th 2015

    • Thanks for the comment Kim and for dropping by the blog. We really enjoyed the car show last year, and are glad that you found our post about the show. My older brother was into hot rods, and while I didn’t actually know much about them, I learned an appreciation through him. Unfortunately, we will be out of town and won’t be able to make the show this year, but hopefully our post will direct a few folks your way. Thanks again. ~James

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