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We spend a lot of time here on Car Chase talking about auto related business: dealers, repair and restoration shops, auction houses, etc. Another kind of business that wouldn't exist without the benefit of our car crazy culture is the drive-in restaurant.
OK, it is a bit of a misnomer because you really don't drive into the restaurant but your car literally does become your table with servers coming right to your driver's door window. The first drive-in restaurant opened in Glendale, California in 1936. Although the popularity of these establishments peaked in the 1950's, the Akron area is still blessed with some great purveyors of four (or two, or six) wheeled cuisine. Whether it's locally owned establishments like Skyway, Swenson's or Wink's; established franchises like A&W or the relatively glitzy upstarts like Sonic, sometimes you just need a good fix of drive-in dining.
The 2010 automobile concours season is upon us. The first significant concours of the year is the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance, which will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Amelia Island (just north of Jacksonville) this weekendMarch 12-14. This event is popular because of the great cars on display plus the fact that it's held at a time when many car enthusiasts (particularly those in the northern climates) are feeling the winter blues. The Amelia Island show attracts great antique and classic automobiles as well as vintage racing cars and some occasional unusual vehicles. In addition to the car show the weekend also features two automobile auctions run by two of the biggest automobile auction companies, RM and Gooding & Company. It'll be interesting to see how these two companies do. The results could be a barometer of the state of the collector car hobby. I've noticed that many of the same high-end collector cars that appear at the Amelia Island concours (and Pebble Beach) often show up at the annual Glenmoor Gathering, held at Glenmoor Country Club in September, which proves, I guess, that you don't have to travel 1,200 miles to see great, rare carsalthough the warm weather and sunshine sure is a bonus.
They just don't make em like they used to. No one can deny that. I have no expectation of my 2006 Saturn Vue outlasting my friends 1931 Lincoln, let alone being a collector vehicle or worth restoration. I truly don't expect it to last the 25 years to be called a classic (but that's a completely different blog!).
That being said, there's also nothing quite like a brand new car. The unblemished paint, uncrushed carpet, spotless interior and, of course, learning all the new gadgets. As part of my automobile education, I took my first trip to the Cleveland Auto Show this week. It was interesting to see what the manufacturers are coming up with to draw attention to their cars. Being able to sit in all the cars gave me insight on what I really like.