Autorama 2010

10 03 2010

After completing the required eight-hour CCW course at Target Sports on Woodward (it was a great experience; the instructor was a Detroit Cop who looked kind of like Bruce Willis), my dad and I decided to head down to Cobo for Autorama.

In case you’ve never heard of it, Autorama is an annual event that is what the North American International Auto Show should be: a celebration of all things automotive.  There were no stupid hybrids with overzealous accelerator pedals, pointless minivan-in-disguise crossovers, or dying auto manufacturers present—just real, (mostly) American  cars with character.

I managed to take some pictures, which I will proceed to post.

First off, this really clean 1963 Corvette Z63...

I’m not really into the whole “muscle” thing, but I keep thinking: I really need a car that can go fast.  Sure, the Wagoneer can haul (fastest I’ve gone is around 100, which feels a lot faster when you’re driving), but it doesn’t exactly have the lighting acceleration (though you’d be surprised) or handling of a sports car.

This ‘vette, which was right near the entrance, really caught my eye.  Whoever built it wasn’t afraid to stray from convention, which I liked.  For some reason, I don’t consider post-1960 cars to be quite as sacred as older models, and I tend to appreciate mild customs like the above Corvette as much or more as the originals.

And I like the color.  I need a car that’s gunmetal gray.  And it’s got nice, really clean black wheels.  I don’t even want to know what a car like that would cost; probably well over $70k.

Along similar lines is this Mustang.

It's supposed to be like "Eleanor" from Gone in 60 Seconds.

It was built by Washtenaw County Community College students.  If this whole econ thing gets boring, I can always head over there to learn to weld.  In fact, I might go there to learn to weld anyway.

Also on the main floor was this nicely restored Vernor’s Truck, which seemed to be pretty popular with the crowd.

A Detroit favorite...

But the real life of the show was in the basement, where hot rod, custom, and tuner clubs set up shop.

Note the perpetual burnout "smoke" under the rear wheels. I appreciated the effort.

Say what you will about “tuners;” I know they’re a bit tacky, and you can only see so many tricked out Hummer H2s and nondescript Mustangs with blingy wheels before things get a bit repetitive, but the people who build and drive these cars are doing their part to keep automotive culture alive.  It’s a little too Fast and Furious for my taste, but whatever.  At least they’re having fun.

I noticed a distinct lack of “rat rods” in the basement this year, which I can’t say I really minded.  I never quite understood the appeal of making your generic T-bucket rod look even more idiotic by patching body panels with old license plates, but again, to each his own.

What I did see were a lot of interesting works-in-progress, like this Packard custom:

Suicide doors are a bit hard to see in this picture, but were a nice touch.

It’s cool to see Packard customs whenever they pop up, even if I’d rather see them restored to their original glory.  I didn’t find out what was under the hood, but I’m guessing the original Packard Straight-8.  This didn’t seem like a car destined to go fast, and it’s hard to find a smoother-running motor.

While the main floor was glitzy (well, maybe not glitzy, but definitely more formal), the basement felt alive.  I’m really pleased to see so many car nuts out there who really seem to live the culture.  Almost made me want to get a tattoo…

Someone was looking for a Henry J, probably to make a goofy looking gasser or something

There’s a lot of stuff going on in Michigan as well.  For example, the local metal fabrication company Speedcult was there with their awesome pickup rod.  I didn’t get a good picture so click on their link to check it out.  It was like nothing I’ve ever seen—it had the radical, ungainly look of a cobbled-together rat rod but it was clearly professionally constructed.  It probably had more character than most of the cars on the main floor put together.

There were some old bikes on display as well.  Someday soon, I’ll learn how to ride a motorcycle, and when I do, I want a bike with this look and feel:

Actually the Harley Nightster does a pretty decent job of capturing the essence of this specimen.

Finally, on the way out, I saw a perfect example of the type of rod I’d probably construct now if I had the time, money, and facilities to do so.

This is what pops into my head when I think "hot rod"

It’s simple, clean, and no-nonsense.  No ZZ Top-esque over-the-top roadster here; just the bare essentials.  I’d probably throw some whitewall tires on it, but that would probably be my only concession to vanity.  It wouldn’t even have a radio.  Without a top or hood, it would be impossible to hear anything anyway.

I better start cleaning out the garage.




One response

10 03 2010

I like the little guy sitting in the Vernor’s truck 🙂

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