Sunday, August 2, 2009

Syracuse Nationals

No true lover of old cars would knowingly forgo a visit to the yearly Syracuse Nationals where people from all corners of the US congregate each year to show restored cars from days gone by. I tell you it was a real treat for us to see all those wonderful cars exhibited in one place. Of course I took as many photos as I had memory space and now, without further ado, I will share them with you!

The first photo was taken in one of the many indoor exhibit spaces where all the pin stripers were showing off their skills. There were ongoing competitions where the artists had only a few minutes to come up and execute their designs, which were then auctioned off. From what we saw in the short time we hung out, a lot of money was raised which was then donated to a children's charity.

The young man in the photo has a pin striping business in Bakersfield CA called 'Diablo's House of Style (661-565-6871) and he had only just started on this design when I took this photo. Yes, that is Diablo himself holding the panel.

I hope you will enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the show!

As an inveterate lover of hood ornaments I must of course start with this one, though I must say that I was a little disappointed. I expected to see more unusual ones than I was familiar with already. Even so we spent an entire day walking through the exhibits, we barely managed to see even half of the seven thousand cars on show here. So it is entirely possible that all the really good ornaments were in the sections we were unable to visit!

Yep, that is a real Silver Shadow, it was sitting right next to a Bentley, but unfortunately I managed to get that photo all shook up so it ended up blurry (that is why they tell you to use a tripod). I really wanted to show you the cool leather interior with all the blue glowing armature! Oh well!

Btw, if you want to see a larger version of the photos, just click on them. You should be able to read the placards next to some of the cars that way.

Who among us hasn't dreamed of riding in a classy car such as this 1954 Kaiser Darrin? If you have never heard of this car, don't feel bad. This is car #145 of 451 produced. I think this car is just beautiful!

Here are two of Jon Button's race cars. I don't know what make the blue racer is, but the red one is a 1936 Hillegass.

And here is Jon Button himself tipping his cap and holding his old autograph covered helmet

There was just so much color on these restored beauties! If you think about it, most of these car's original paint jobs were much more conservative than what their current owners decided on. Those paint companies must be doing great business these days. I spoke to one owner of a 1970's Mustang and he said that he put over $4,000 into his car in paint alone and he did the painting himself. I understood perfectly why he did not want anyone touch his car!

Just look at this beauty, a 1930 Ford Woodie - that's when they still used real wood!

Someone used this is a car for a funeral - even though it says 'Superior oil Co' on the side. A mighty stylish way for your last ride...

I fell in love with this car, everything is perfect, the color the lines of the grille, the headlights! I have no idea what make this beauty is - any suggestions?

What would a carshow be without at least one stingray? Well this show had several that I saw, this one was the one I liked best.

These next three cars had gleaming spotless engines. I am sure they were transported here on a flatbed, they were in such a pristine condition.

Next comes a more unusual car. This one was built by the owner himself after a concept he saw in a 1965 magazine. On the accompanying panel he tells us how he did it. Just click on the photo of the panel to see a larger readable image open in a new tab.

And here is the finished car! Not bad for a retiree, eh?

I think this was one of my favorite entries. This lovely pickup truck owned and lovingly restored by a middle aged couple who told me that they just loved to take rides into the country and then tour around in their equally lovely and lovingly restored matching bikes, seen here on the back of the truck!

Here is a better look at the bikes. My only regret was that I did not also take a photo of the owners! They were sitting right there next to their truck - my bad!

I hope you have enjoyed the Syracuse Nationals via my little photo essay. Maybe next year you will join us there in person. Think about it!
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Monday, March 9, 2009

Rust in Peace Car Cemetary Revisited!

As promised here is the first update to my recent post about the incredible repository of antique cars and equipment we discovered a few weeks ago. Of course you and I both knew that we were not going to be able to stay away for long, especially since I had only been able to take photos of a few of the countless cars hidden away there. We finally had a few warmer days recently and consequently felt some familiar stirrings commonly called spring fever, which inevitably resulted in the shelving of more menial though necessary chores, to succumb to the lure of discovering the hood ornament to end all hood ornaments or taking the most awesome antique car photo ever!

We found the place much as we had left it and after exchanging some pleasantries with the owner of the premises, we wasted no more time and headed off into a section we had not explored fully during our last visit. Not that we will have the slightest chance to find all the treasures hidden here this time around! There are so many corners just waiting to be explored, but with diligence eventually we will have seen everything. So, without further ado, please enjoy the photos of our latest discoveries!

The first image is of course another hood ornament, this one of a lovely flying lady which looks like she is about to lift off the crusty hood of this old De Soto.

When I came upon this vehicle my heart nearly stopped, you are looking at late 1917 to 1923 REO, I am not sure exactly which date is correct! It looks rather bedraggled at this point, it's tires are in shreds and it's wheels look rather knock kneed. The chassis behind does not look any better, in fact it is non existent except for the rust encrusted metal supports, the axles and wheel assembly. Below is a picture of the great REO emblem which is still mounted on the front, though it too has seen much better days.

I thought it might be nice to show what is left of the REO armature and the stick shift and gear assembly. Back then they actually used real wood nicely stained and polished to a high gloss, of which only some of very weathered wood is left today. They actually marked the foot pedals so there would be no confusion which was the clutch and which was the brake!

I had to chuckle when I came upon this beauty, a 1954 Buick Century Riviera. Anyone interested in making an offer? This Buick is solidly built, all it takes is new tires, new seats and a paint job. Well, there maybe a few minor adjustments which I haven't mentioned yet. But it will make the old girl's frown turn into a smile guaranteed - and the new owner will be very happy too! They don't make cars like this anymore you know! I think I missed my calling, maybe I should have given car sales a try, eh? Just kidding of course, but if I heard right, the owner is willing to consider any fair offer for any of these vehicles or parts.

Now this is what I call a politically incorrect name for this 1940s truck! But I was told that back in the day there actually was a truck manufacturer named White and I guess he wanted to declare the vehicle's superior might to future owners. I don't know if they sold many of these trucks, but this is the only example I have ever seen.

Wouldn't you love to have a wild paint job just like this for your late 1940s Pontiac? It almost looks glamorous thanks to the help of Photoshop - it's magic makes the ravages of time look almost like an abstract work of art.

I have a great love for these old hood ornaments and I was really looking forward to finding something really special on this trip. When I found this glowing flying lady mounted on a nearly completely rusted 1942 De Soto I was ecstatic! The sun even obliged me and peeked out from behind clouds just to illuminate her properly! Isn't she grand? She is the same lady as the chrome version in the first photo. The Lucite makes her look so ephemeral, but she must have glowed brilliantly at night when she was illuminated!

This wheel with real wooden spokes, which most likely belonged to a Model A or T, is the best preserved part of the entire vehicle, believe it or not. A small tree and a few bushes and even a rosebush have made their home here and have totally intertwined with what is left of the struts and framework of this car. It must have sat here for quite some time!

I have no idea what car this ornament is mounted onto. I have tried to keep a record of the names of the vehicles, but somehow I missed this one! I will have to add it later - a good excuse to pay another visit!

I think this is the most lovely and well preserved vehicle I have discovered so far, I am sure you will agree! I love the turquoise color contrasted by the black wheels and bottom. I think this has been restored at some point and it would not take much to get it into top shape - lovely!

In complete contrast to the above vehicle is this old rusty Nash which is now totally overgrown with weeds, it has lost all of it's windows and grille and has sunken deeply into the ground over the years. But what it has lost in glamor and shiny elegance, it has made up for with character, just look at it!
Another former beauty queen that has sunken into the ground. This 1942 De Soto with the abstract paint job is the vehicle which sports the lovely Lucite hood ornament I showed previously. But despite it's deplorable condition it still looks formidable and solid!

I think this lovely swan hood ornament was on an old Packard if I am not mistaken. It is in great condition and looks so very graceful with it's raised wings and arched neck!

Another De Soto flying lady, this one is of a simpler design but no less striking than those in the previous photos.

In 1947 Pontiac designed and built this massive vehicle with the enormous grille and the predator teeth exposed from the bumper. I think time's ravages artistic and very colorful paint job only enhances the powerful impact of this long abandoned car.

What can I say about this 1937 Plymouth, but that it still has much to tell us about it's glory days as an American icon! Never mind the rust and blind windshield - I would like to see any of the current cars after all the abuse this one has surely suffered at the hands of it's many owners and particularly the elements - on second thought, never mind...

I named this photo "Home, Sweet Home" in honor of the many spiders and other small critters who decided to make this their home. When I approached to take this picture I just saw a small tail disappear below the seats - I had no wish to frighten the little critter so I quietly walked away afterward.

I really like this Dodge hood ornament of a nicely detailed ram. It looks like it was on a fairly recent make of a Dodge truck, but I have no recollection of ever having seen it mounted before.

Many of the windows and bodies of these old cars have interesting designs created by the elements or other destructive forces. This one caught my eye as well, even though I have no idea what might have caused this effect on the rear window of a car whose make I no longer remember. With the yellow discoloration on the bottom it almost gives the impression of fire, doesn't it?

Here is another completely rusted out and overgrown old truck returning back to the elements! From the looks of it, it won't take too much longer! You can barely make out it's outline!

There are many more treasures waiting to be discovered so I want to invite you to please come back to see the latest developments! I know I want to go back there to explore some more and also because I really want to see what the place looks like when everything is lush and green, besides the fact that I would really like to learn more about some of these grand old cars!

See you then...