Cars & Cures

I grew up in southern California, and was in high school 1959-1963. Think American Graffiti. There were lot of drive-ins then, the movie type and especially the food type. Car hops, burgers & fries and vanilla (or cherry) Cokes were the staple and so were cool cars. When it came to the best drive-in, it was a close call: I liked Bob’s Big Boy the best, but a lot of people preferred Nixon’s, which was owned and run by the then-future President’s brother, Don. Both places – and the several others in the area – were as much about the cars as the food. Looking back, it seems to have been the perfect time to be a young guy in southern California – times were simpler and more innocent – we were too – and the cars were really cool.

I guess I’m still a “car guy”. I’ve had some pretty nice cars over the years; a 1949 Ford Tudor bullet nose – my first car – a 1962 ‘Vette, a 1964 Jaguar XKE roadster and others. I don’t have a “weekender” now – that’s what I call a car that’s only for fun and occasional driving – but I enjoy going to local car shows. In this area, one of the biggest and best, Crusin’ for a Cure (HERE), (the “cure” refers to prostate cancer) is held late each September at the Fairgrounds. This year it’s this coming Saturday, September 26th. CFAC logo tall stretch

These days my tastes run to the pony cars and muscle cars, not that I’d say no to a nice 1956 Chevy Nomad if someone handed me the keys, but my really, really first choices are the 1965-1970 muscle cars; Camaro, Barracuda, Challenger, Chevelle, GTO, that sort of thing. So every couple of months I go to small local car shows, thirty or fifty or so cars parked at a shopping center overflow lot or somewhere similar. I take pictures, and talk to the guys (it’s almost always guys) who own the cars and have spent a lot of money and rubbed a lot of wax on their babies.

I think about buying one now and then, but with a two car garage and two cars now (mine and my wife’s) something would have to give. I don’t want to park my daily driver outside all the time, and I wouldn’t drive a weekender very much, so why spend the money? Speaking of which, these cars are NOT inexpensive. I was sorely tempted by a 1967 Chevelle early this year, but the price tag was $32 large. Wow.

So this Saturday we’ll go look, take pictures, buy a T-shirt, a snack, watch the cars. One of the cool things about this show is they have a “cruising lane”, so you can watch, and listen to, the cars loping around the fairgrounds. No, it’s not Woodward Ave., but most of the shows are static, so it’s fun to see the cars in motion.

We’ll have a great time. The show starts pretty early, which is good because the weather man says it’ll be a scorcher. To get parking we need to be there by about 8 am. That’s okay. There’s lots to do. I just have to remember to take the SPF.

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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11 Responses to Cars & Cures

  1. Patti Abbott says:

    We have the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise where thousands of old cars drive (and stall) going up this classic street for cruising-miles and miles. It goes on for days in August.

  2. George Kelley says:

    I love muscle cars! I’ve read reviews that the new Camero captures some of the excitement of the original

  3. Richard says:

    I’ve looked at the new Camaro, George. The problem with it – in my humble opinion, is that it’s too darn big. If only they (and the folks at Dodge who re-invented the Challenger – had looked at the original size of the car, and not just worked off the available rear-wheel drive platform. But no.

  4. Richard says:

    Patti – as I mentioned in the post, this is no Woodward Ave. But then it’s not really meant to be. At most local car shows, the sponsors have to agree that, once parked, participants won’t even start the car unless it’s leaving. Noise abatement issues. So it’s nice to see them moving, rumbling, along.

    This is really, really car culture country, in spite of the number of imports I see every day. No where else can you see a Ferrari, Lotus, Lamborghini, let alone the Mercedes, BMWs, hot rods, muscle cars, and so on, all on the drive to the market. Every day. Common term here for a Mercedes in a “SoCal Ford”

    I’d like to see the Woodward cruise someday, but this is a lot closer.

  5. Jeff Meyerson says:

    Maybe it was growing up in NYC or maybe it’s just me, but I’ve never been a car guy. I like looking at them but to me they’re just transportation. As long as they run right and get me where I want to go and back safely, that’s all I really care about.

    Jackie, on the other hand – who doesn’t drive herself, you understand – is in love with the Bentley convertible.

  6. George Kelley says:

    I hate driving, but I do like cool cars. I think GM’s issues with the new Camero centered around costs. They cut a lot of corners to make it affordable.

  7. Richard says:

    Jeff – the car culture in southern California was like no other. It was just about wrong for a young man to not care about cars, and the peer pressure was always there, since we talked about, compared, looked at and coveted a lot of them. It was always a big deal in the Fall when the new models came out. My friends and I would go to the dealerships – during off hours, so they didn’t shoo us away – to ogle and beg for brochures. I wish I had all those brochures today!

  8. Richard says:

    George – GM had to use a rear wheel drive platform, a front drive Camaro would have been a joke. The only one they had was the Aussie one, which Pontiac was using in the G-8, a larger four door.

  9. william says:

    Enjoyed this one. As you know, I worked at Nixon’s drive-in for two years while in HS. Anything later than the 1960s is too new for me.

    Still prefer Fords to the General.

  10. Richard says:

    I extend my cut-off to 1970. As for Fords, they didn’t seem to make as many really desirable cars, though we were a Ford family. I have a real soft spot for the 1956 T-Bird, and a couple years of Mustangs are pretty nice, but a Camaro would be my first choice.

  11. Cap'n Bob says:

    I never had a muscle car, but I loved my ’61 T-bird and wish I still had it.

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