A Guys Thing
cars – cars - cars
Copyright Vladimir Kagan, April 17, 2014
There are only a few things that can draw a man’s attention away from a shapely woman… and that is a shapely car! However, judging by the number of enthusiastic female “oglers” at the Barrett – Jackson Collector Car Auction, in West Palm Beach, this is no longer only a guy’s thing.
Palm Beach Fairgrounds is a huge complex that hosts anything from Agricultural events, to Gun Shows, to County Fairs with scary rides for the kiddies… but the best event for me, is the Classic Car show with 750 mint condition vehicles ready to be auctioned on the block. Each car is driven onto the stage and within five minutes, is sold and the next beauty appears. For those with stamina, it was the World Series of car sales… It starts at 9 in the morning and drags on none-stop until 9 pm only to be continued the next day. Bidders and spectators bring their kids in strollers, their lunch and beer, and sit on bleacher benches under an air-conditioned tent.
I love classic cars… for me they are a collectable art. I would gladly own one in my living room…cheaper and much more enjoyable than some of the multi-million dollar “contemporary art” sold at Sotheby’s’ or Christie’s.
I am prone to give my unofficial awards: my choice for Best In Show is the Super-charged, yellow convertible 1937 Cord … Next: I am anointing a little Hot-Rod…(I normally dislike Hot-Rods) they are a travesty inflicted on beautiful classic vehicles… but I found this one to have exquisite lines as it hovers 2” above the ground… (Not your best car for snow or bumpy back roads.)
...and for my second prize: this unlikely Hot Rod
At the show, it was obvious that the hot new car of the year is the 2015 Corvette Stingray … a muscle car on steroids. It is a beauty! Looking back fifty years, it is hard to believe how the elegant little Corvette morphed into this intoxicating raging bull of a vehicle.
It is hard to believe that this elegant little 50's car is the "granddaddy" of these new monster cars
I have always been a car buff. My first car was a 1937 LaSalle (a division of the Cadillac motor company) It was the most beautiful car I have ever owned - it was also a lemon. At the car show, I had a nostalgic passion for the dozen 50’s Thunderbirds, mostly dressed in red, the only proper color for a respectable T bird.– It was my little red 1955 “T” Bird that Erica married back in 1957… I just happened to own it!
This is almost a replica of my original 1955 T Bird (except this one is a 1956)
The engine that made the T Bird throb
The Tunderbird is still a head-turner - even sixty years later
Looking back over the years, I seldom ever bought a new car off the a dealer’s floor – I nearly did once, when I walked into a Plymouth dealership and drove out with a white station wagon… it lasted half a day as Erica threatened divorce unless I got my old Thunderbird back out of the trade-in!
I seemed to have a taste for the exotic and remember wanting a Keiser but settled for a Nash (with cruise control option) next it was a little Hillman Station wagon which we picked up in England and drove to the south of France and then shipped it back to the USA. After the little “Hilly” died, I had the notion to buy a classic Bentley Park-Ward convertible, this made for an enjoyable trip to the English countryside in search of my dream car. However, my accountant talked me out of it, assuring me that everyone in my factory would want an immediate raise when they saw me driving it.
This jaguar is the closest car I could find that looked like my dream-car, The Bentley Park-Ward
Subsequently my taste in cars became mundane… until the 70’s when I bought my 1922 Center Door Model T. This enjoyable car has satiated my taste for the exotic ever since.
Other cars that stirred my nostalgia
NO, this is not a railroad car - it is a delux R.V.
The RV’s on display were behemoth… larger than a freight car, costlier than an airplane.
By early afternoon Chris and I managed to tour two pavilions and five open-air tents jam-packed with cars and people. As usual, my little electric scooter served me well… until it ran out of juice! Only with much coaxing, did I manage to ooze it along to the entrance gate where Chris rescued me with my Toyota Sienna Minivan.
This story is not complete without telling you about my friend Lance’s extreme hobby.
How many boys have dreamed of building their own car?… yes, some of you may have built go-carts when you were growing up, or modified an old jalopy into a Hot-rod. But how many of you have fulfilled your dream of building a sexy car from the ground-up… or taking the hottest stock car and restyling it into your own dream machine?
My friend Lance is one of those guys… One of Lance’s boyhood dreams was to build racing cars… twenty- odd years ago he started to pursue that dream… He has transformed four stock cars into sexy un-recognizable custom machines. An Audi A6, a Lexus SC430, a Pontiac G6 Convertible and now a Cadillac CTS-V Coupe, He chose the CTS as it was rated one of the best performing American stock cars ever. That wasn’t good enough for Lance. He proceeded to tear it apart. He determined that the CTS had a cumbersome body styling that needed improving. Accordingly, he filtered through fifty design possibilities to come up with his final concept… the 550 HP engine was not powerful enough so he upgraded the engines induction and exhaust systems to achieve 700 HP. …He bought 500+ pounds of Chavant automotive styling clay and hired William von Medicus, a body-shop “artist” and set him up in his garage to strip the Caddy… This was started in September of 2013 and is still a work-in-progress. It will probably take another six months to put the car on the road.
This past winter, I had the opportunity to visit Lance and see the operation in person. The body was unrecognizable. When completed, the interior will be finished in the finest Italian Leather by John Caravaggio… Lance is never happy until these cars are his own unrecognizable concoction. To date he has one of these road-wonders whizzing about in California, one in Miami, and one that is mesmerizing the jet set in the south of France… Lance, where will you launch this one?