I tend to megaphone some of the car events I get to cover, like the Art of the Car Concours, the Greenwood Revival, and the Woodward Dream Cruise. And I should, since they’re the Ron Burgundys of my car show experience. They’re kindof a big deal. But go to any smaller, single-lot car show on a Saturday in July, and you’re just as likely to see something incredible.
My friend Troy, the guy who originally threw gas on my latent fascination with cars several years ago, was in town last weekend, which was perfect, because I’d been planning to check out a show. Chad, my good friend and former roommate’s brother in law, is one of the Vineyard Car Enthusiasts, his church’s car club, and hosts of the Vineyard Grand Classic Car, Truck and Motorcycle show last Saturday.
Thanks to Siri, we had a little trouble finding the place, which was a shame, because we didn’t arrive until about 30 minutes before awards were served and everybody packed it in, but the upside was hearing the roar and crackle of all those incredible V8s as they ripped out of the parking lot and fired down the highway.
But we took our time, nonetheless, wandering the rows and absorbing the chrome and fiberglass. There was the ’66 Ford Galaxie coupe, tastefully lowered and blinding red. Nearby sat a Chevelle fastback of similar vintage and similar style in two-tone copper and black. A little ways on, I caught a third-generation El Camino SS in bottomless black and chrome trim, pretty much all I’ve ever wanted from an Elky. Troy doesn’t share my appreciation for the American ute, but he can deal with it. That thing was boss.
There were plenty of hot rods mixed in with the muscle, including a gasser that had rolled past us as we drove in. Some examples weren’t memorable for their power offerings, but for their presence, like the 1951 Mercury Monterey coupe we saw all dressed for the Navy in deep blue and white.
Plenty of more contemporary cars dotted the lot, as well. A Manta Mirage, a kit car neither of us had ever heard of, crouched a few inches off the ground. A Firehawk Trans Am prowled the area. Across from the Manta sat a Callaway Corvette in black cherry.
One of my favorites, though, was one of the oldest- a 1917 Willys Overland convertible. The whole car was coated in a fine layer of surface rust and experience. The wooden spokes and steering wheel were bleached with age. The whole car gave the appearance of having just been discovered in a California oil rush town, abandoned these 80 years. It was absolutely perfect.
Its owner, Mike Adkins, stood smoking in a porkpie hat, tinted driving glasses, and attire of the same tones as his ancient car. Mike bought the Willys three years ago at an estate auction. It had been sitting in the family’s shed for 40 years, but after about a week, he had its 170 cid 4 cylinder running. Thankfully, he has no plans to restore it.
The Vineyard show was further proof that you don’t need to trek all over the continent to see some amazing cars (though we wouldn’t discourage you). Support your local events, and you’re bound to catch a glimpse of something incredible.
Andy Sheehan is a blogger, aspiring novelist, and relentless hoon. He plans to will his 2002 Subaru WRX Wagon to his firstborn, plans his daily commute around the swoop of its roads, and doesn’t plan to ever buy an automatic. A cool-car omnipath, he loves the common Mustang or Chevelle, but hunts for the weird and wonderful Velorexes and Cosmos of the autoverse. And when he can afford a garage, he’s going to turn an MX-5 into a race car.