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I remember the first time our youngest daughter saw a Chevy El Camino. She was about three years old, and even though the very last El Camino was built at least three years before she was born, she literally started bouncing with joy and kept exclaiming, "look, a car truck!, look, a car truck!". OK, she is my kid, but that genetic defect aside, I have found that people in general have a great fascination with this relatively obscure automotive niche.
Even though there were examples of these vehicles in the 30's and 40's, with Hudson being the most notable, the genre really took off with Ford's introduction of its very handsome Ranchero for the 1957 model year in December of 1956. It took Chevrolet a couple years to catch up, but the El Camino was introduced for the 1959 model year and the car-truck wars were on. Over the next twenty years, cheros and minos appeared in all shapes and sizes on various platforms with Ford and Chevy jockeying for an edge. In 1979, with the elimination of the Torino/LTD II platform, Ford finally gave up on the Ranchero. They did briefly consider building a car truck on the new Fairmont (Fox platform) chassis but, after just 212 pilot "Durango" vehicles, decided that the investment in tooling was too much. GM soldiered on for several more years producing Chevy El Caminos and badge engineered GMC Caballeros before giving up production in 1987.
Well, it's time for many of us to make the annual trek to Hershey, Pennsylvania for the annual AACA Fall Swap Meet. Official dates are October 7-10. I've been going for years so I can say "it ain't what it used to be." eBay is only part of the problem. The Hershey Company (not the candy company), which owns two of the major hotels and much of the real estate has made sure it gets its share. A few years ago they established a minimum three night stays at their hotels (the Lodge and the Hotel) and a mandatory Saturday night stay. Yesssir, just those friendly folks at "the sweetest place on earth," as they like to bill themselves. And, although the meet is supposed to focus on cars and parts, the AACA will let vendors sell just about anything. I've seen everything for sale, from maple syrup to furniture. So why continue to go? Mostly to visit with old friends and sell a few parts. I remember seeing a guy wearing a t-shirt a few years ago that read "A day at Hershey in the rain is better than a day at home with my wife."
As typical of most car guys, I've never seen a collector car I didn't. Yes, I truly suffer from a severe case of Automotive Attention Deficit Disorder (AADD) when it comes to old cars. The only limiting factor I've ever had in acquiring these relics has been the current state of my personal economic status.
It was truly great news for the entire Northeast Ohio community when state and local officials, Goodyear executives and a progressive developer were able to agree on a plan to build Goodyear's new headquarters in Akron. Not only does this keep a lot of great, tax-generating jobs in town, it also maintains the prestige of having a Fortune 500 company based in our community.
One minor victim of this positive action may be the World of Rubber Museum, now based in Goodyear Hall, across the street from the current headquarters building. It's a bit dated and a little kitschy but, for car nuts, it's a hidden gem. Where else can you find a re-creation of Charles Goodyear's lab, an Indy car and moon vehilce tire all in the same spot?
Despite this weekend's crazy weather, Sunday's Glenmoor Gathering was a true automotive spectacle. Yes, there were a few cars that were no-shows due to the forecast but remarkably, all of the truly great cars were there. What looked like a record number of attendees were treated to beautiful, sunny weather and an array of amazing cars that have never before been seen in Northeast Ohio. Many one-off automobiles such as the Ruxton "Alligator", Jordan Z Speedway Ace and Paxton Phoenix were on display. Amazing original unrestored cars like a fabric-bodied 1928 Minerva and 1914 Regal Underslung were truly a view into the past. At the other end of the spectrum, a wild display of modern day supercars, highlighted by a Saleen S7 Twin Turbo and a 1001 horsepower, sixteen cylinder Bugatti Veyron made this an event which should not be missed by any auto enthusiast. GM's new Cadillac Sixteen prototype was also on display. I'm not sure of the date for next year's event but I'll find out and publish it. You really need to be there next year. In the meantime enjoy this gallery from this year's event.
As many of you know, the Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles will be held this Sunday, September 14 at Glenmoor Country Club. The Gathering is one of the country's finest automotive concours events and draws amazing cars from all corners of the United States as well as foreign countries. There are over 220 specially invited cars shown in twenty five different classes. This year's features include a celebration of General Motors' first one hundred years, classic Porsche, 100th anniversary of the introduction of the car that put America on wheels; the Ford Model T and a taste of California with a special class of Woodies. Additionally, the Glenmoor Gathering is a lifestyle event for the entire family with cooking demonstrations, flower arranging seminars, Kids' coloring contests and junior judging among other unique features. Full details can be found on their website, www.glenmoorgathering.com.
We'll be highlighting some of the features of the upcoming event over the next few days but, in the meantime, we have a very special offer for you, the budding loyal readers and commenters of Car Chase. It seems that the organizers of the Glenmoor Gathering have taken notice of this blog and have offered us six pairs of tickets to distribute absolutely free of charge! All you need to do is post a comment to this blog entry and then call Sue Kirby, the administrative manager of the Glenmoor Gathering at 330-966-3600 to claim your two free tickets. The first six people to do this will have a pair of Glenmoor Gathering adult passes waiting for them at will-call!
In the United States, more so than anywhere else in the world, cars play an integral part in every one's lives. I'm not just talking about the use of cars as tools to get us from one place to another; I'm talking about the cultural influence they have in each of our lives. Just look at the number of car magazines, car clubs, car related businesses and even car blogs that populate our landscape. Whether you're a car guy* or not, cars have had a real impact on how you grew up and who you are today.
As a result, we would like to know what your favorite car of all time is. It could be the first car you owned, it could be a car that you have always lusted after but may never own. It could be the car you went on your first date with your spouse on or it could be a car your parents owned when you were a kid. Whatever it is, we want to know.
OK, so you're probably asking why Ohio.com needs a blog on cars. Since I'm not an employee of the Beacon Journal or any affiliated company, I really can't give you the business reasons for this decision. But as a lifelong gearhead and native of this area, I've got some ideas.
First and foremost, Northeast Ohio (Akron, Canton, Cleveland) is, as Barry Meguiar is prone to say, certifiably car crazy. We all know the prominent role that Akron played in the development and as the center of the world's tire industry, but let's look at some other lesser-known facts:
There are plenty of places to find out where all the cruise-ins are taking place. But where do you go when you have a car question (we just found this '39 Lincoln on blocks in my Uncle Rex's garage) or if you have an automotive history question ("What was the first car with air conditioning?" see below for answer) Or, if you just want to get something off your chest?
Blogs are a great place for opinions. Henry Ford once weighed in on the merits of six-cylinder engines versus his Model T's four-cylinder version with the comment that "an automobile doesn't need more cylinders that a cow has teats." There's also a classic quote that involves opinions and posteriors but we won't go there.
If you're a car guy* in Northeast Ohio, you live for summer weekends. Just about every Saturday and Sunday are packed with shows, swaps, cruise-ins, etc. We've really been blessed with terrific summer weather this year but, as the fringe effects of Gustav are predicted to hit our area tonight and tomorrow, you start thinking about the indoor options we have to get our car fix. Fortunately, we have some terrific options.