Thursday, May 30, 2013

May Car Show Highlights

This month has been host to a very large number of car shows and cruise-ins here in the sunny Texas hill country, and I've had the pleasure of attending quite a few different shows. I thought I'd assemble all of the shows into one and show the highlights all in one go. So stay with me, this could be a long one.

This 1966 Mustang Coupe was showroom nice.

The 1940 Ford Coupe is a favorite among hot rodders, though this one is fairly mild.

One of the most well-preserved fox-body 'Stangs I've ever seen.

This '32 Ford Coupe looked stunning in red.

Ford's answer to the Corvette, the 1956 Thunderbird.

This MGC was one of several British sports cars in attendance.

A lot of work has gone into this killer 1951 Studebaker.

A tastefully customized 1936 Ford.

A 1963 Corvette, the first year of this bodystyle.

A neat little hot rod running the wheels and engine off of a Chevy Vega.

Red pinstriping makes this '77 Trans Am look rather sinister.

One of the meanest Mustangs around, a 2007 Saleen S281 Speedster.

This 1936 Buick was spotless, and the rumbleseat was a fantastic feature.

This 1969 Malibu is rocking the red paint for maximum attention.

The rat rod look suits this Ford F-1 very well.

This Lotus Esprit S4 was a great performance car in its day, and it's still quick by today's standards too.

The 1967 Corvette is just as much a sculpture as it is a car.

This 1955 Fairlane Club Sedan summed up the fifties nicely: fins, chrome, and two-tone.

This 1971 442 marks one of the last years for Oldsmobile's premier muscle car.

This pro street 1941 Willys was sporting a colossal GM 502 crate motor.

I've always thought that 1961 was one of the prettiest years for the Impala, and this one is particularly nice.

This Ford Coupe had an American Graffiti vibe going on. It needs to be yellow.

I think this Austin-Healey is the perfect embodiment of the stereotypical red sports roadster.

The paint on this 1939 Chevy is absolutely stellar from every angle.

This 1978 El Camino has received a healthy dose of customization.

A black Ford coupe with the right modifications makes for a great hot rod.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air

Welcome to this week's RCW here on Shifting Gears. To contrast with last week's performance-inspired Porsche, this week's featured car is more of a boulevard cruiser, a 1957 Chevrolet. This particular Chevy is a pretty sweet ride. The trim indicates that it's a Bel Air, as opposed to a 210 or 150, and it's the four-door sedan model. To heat things up a bit, the car has received a two-stage flame job. The black paint is covered by orange flames, which are covered by black flames. The result is eye-catching to say the least. This Bel Air is also sporting the stereotypical muscle car rims, a set of 1960s-era Cragars. They work well here, and help to make this Chevy one of a kind. Very cool.

1957 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Porsche 944

Welcome to this week's installment of Random Car Wenesday. This time we have a German performance car, a heavily tuned Porsche 944. Although not nearly as successful as the iconic 911, the 944 and its predecessor, the 924, are both still very popular with Porsche enthusiasts and sports car fans in general. This one is heavily modified with a lowered suspension, modern Porsche rims, and a mild body kit consisting of a chin spoiler and rear spoiler. This is undoubtedly a quick and agile machine, exemplifying everything a Porsche should be and displaying it with retro 1980's style.

1989 Porsche 944

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1963 Buick Riviera

Welcome to yet another rendition of RCW on Shifting Gears. This time around the featured car is a classic American icon, the Buick Riviera. In stock form the Riviera is fantastic and utterly beautiful, one of GM's greatest hits. They're also popular cars to modify into lowriders or customs. I found this 1964 model particularly interesting. The wheels are alright, but not anything truly special. The paint, though, is what grabbed me. It had never occurred to me how well this design lends itself to a two-tone paint job. It looks absolutely marvelous, and the color selection is spot-on. The pure white is set nicely against the metallic red for a great contrast. In conclusion, it's a great take on a great car.

1963 Buick Riviera

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: Pontiac Bonneville Special

For today's RCW, let's look at something special. Special as in the Pontiac Bonneville Special. In 1954 Pontiac created this concept car, based loosely on the all-new Chevrolet Corvette, with the intention of unveiling it to the public in New York and Los Angeles. The designer, Harley Earl, was inspired by the high-speed racecars that were tested at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Key design features include two functional air scoops in the hood and a turbine-inspired spare tire cover between the rear fins, making the car appear to be jet-powered. Only two Bonneville Specials were ever made.

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept

Sunday, May 5, 2013

First Annual Fly-In & Drive-In Roundup

Yesterday was the first annual Fly-In/Drive-In show at the CAF hangar in San Marcos, Texas. Being a "first annual" event, I wasn't sure what the turnout would be, but the allure of classic cars and classic aircraft was more than I could ignore. Thankfully, it was a terrific turnout, with plenty of great cars and awe-inspiring aircraft. Here are some of the machines that attended.

To start things off we have this 1934 Chevrolet Master. Fords of this generation are plentiful at any given car show, but it's not too often you see a Chevrolet from this time period. This one is customized rather nicely with a gorgeous two-tone paint scheme and a sweet set of Hot Wheels rims.

This 1950 Plymouth Suburban was another pleasant surprise. The mild patina shows the little wagon's age, and those curb feelers are a great touch. Vintage station wagons are awesome in my opinion, and this one is one of my favorite examples yet.

That said, I also adored this 1962 Corvair 700. I'm not sure I've seen a prettier shade of blue, and it fits this car perfectly. As far as I could tell, this Corvair is in great condition. It's also one of the most practical classic cars you can drive. I love it.

Mustangs were plentiful at this event, and this 1965 2+2 was a very nice example. The Torque-Thrusts are perfect for this car, and this shade of red is not too dark or too bright, and accentuates the classic lines of the car. It's hard to go wrong with a classic Mustang.

Not all of the Mustangs on hand were Fords. Take, for example, this 1941 P-51D Mustang. Nicknamed "Pecos Bill", this is one of the most iconic aircraft ever built. A WW2 legend, not many P-51s are left, so seeing this one was awesome. The Ford Mustang was actually named after this airplane, not the horse. The horse simply served as a convenient logo.

I imagine the paint on this Bel Air can be seen from space. It is best described as "In-Your-Face Blue", and it makes this classic Chevy hard to miss. 1959 was a great year for the Bel Air, and the design has aged well. The modifications on this car work fairly well, it's a handsome machine.

This 1929 Ford Speedster is bursting with character. Named "Bear Flag Special", it's a one of a kind car, to say the least. The hood straps and vintage helmet in the passenger seat complete the look. It's great to see a car with so much personality.

Here's something you don't see everyday: A 1935 Hudson Terraplane. Hudsons in general have become pretty rare, but the 1930s Hudsons, like this one, are practically extinct. This one has been updated with modern rims, a surprising choice for this car. Still, they look good, and so long as it's being driven I really can't complain.

This 1968 Chevelle SS 396 was simply beautiful. I love muscle cars, and the Chevelle is one of the most iconic muscle cars of all time. This one, looking very nice in silver, had the black decals and white letter tires, must-have items for any muscle car. The big 396 V8 doesn't hurt either.

Another airplane on display was this Nanchang CJ-6. Primarily a training aircraft for the Chinese, it's a very cool classic. I'm digging the checkered nose and yellow wingtips. This is something you don't get to see too often outside of a war museum. Very cool.

This 1956 Chevrolet is a very clean car, and it's pristine condition is amazing, considering it's story. It was wrecked pretty severely a few years back, but the owners slowly rebuilt it to the condition you see here. It's very lucky to have avoided the junkyard, and luckier still to look so good now.

Also in remarkably good condition is this 1941 Dodge Business Coupe. There aren't very many of these around, and this one looks brand new. The chrome and the whitewalls are great, and make this classic really stand out.

This customized 1955 Buick Special is fantastic. The color is unlike anything else, the chrome is spectacular in the sunlight, and the whitewalls match the roof. This Buick really is special.

This 1973 Plymouth Duster was a great little muscle car. Packing the Mopar 340 under the hood, it's a street machine all the way. Cragars on Radial T/A tires are a perfect fit here, and the factory graphics are quintessentially 70's. Super cool.

Last but not least is this spectacular 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1. The Mach 1 is one of my all-time favorite cars, and this one is particularly nice. Power comes from a 351 Windsor V8, a sturdy motor that Ford used in many of its muscle cars. The only thing I coul complain about is that this shade of red hides the graphics, which are the Mach 1's defining characteristic. The optional spoiler and louvers would be a nice touch, too. Still, a killer car in awesome condition.

That wraps up this roundup here on Shifting Gears, but there's plenty more to come, so stick around.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Car Wednesday: 1965 Chevrolet Corvette

It's time once again for RCW here on Shifting Gears, and this week's ride is this super clean 1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible. What makes this particular Corvette so impressive is the fact that it's unrestored. Everything you see is original. For a car this old, it's aged remarkably well. The paint looks great, the interior is perfect, and the engine runs like a champ. This car is located in my hometown, so I often see it cruising about, enjoying the Central Texas sunshine as only a classic convertible can.

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible