Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The 21st Annual Greenwood Car Show

049Advertised as “a mile and a half of classic rides,” the Greenwood Car Show is the largest one day classic car show in the state of Washington. Hundreds of cars are lined up on both sides of Greenwood Avenue, the main street in Greenwood, a neighborhood in north central Seattle. This is the third time I’ve attended with my friends, Jim and Nick. It has become somewhat of a tradition for us, if three times makes a tradition. It’s only a ten minute walk from my sister Karen’s house where Katie and I were staying. Nick showed up early in his Mini Cooper on the Saturday morning of the show. We walked together up to Greenwood, leaving in plenty of time to get to the show 1/2 an hour before the official start. We planned to meet Jim, who also lives close by, in front of the chiropractic office on Greenwood and 79th. We knew from our history that we would still be looking at cars five or six hours from the time we started, so knowing that a chiropractor was nearby was not a bad thing. When we arrived Jim hadn’t arrived yet, but there were already plenty of people milling around. Nick commented that many of them resembled Jim. In fact upon further inspection, they resembled Nick and me as well, a bunch of older white guys in t-shirts, jeans and baseball caps. My tendency would be to analyze this further, but I’ll leave it alone. The demographics did change somewhat as the day progressed, to include younger folks, women and families. Did I mention that the guys who owned the cars also looked remarkably like us as well? Minis
The number of restored minis seems to getting bigger every year. Comparing Nick’s modern retro Mini to these older ones, is like comparing a Pit Bull to a Chihuahua

Seeing all these restored cars in one place is close to a religious experience--happiness, gratefulness and awe. And the car owners are the high priests who openly share the secrets of their cars with the masses. The three of us tended to get most excited about 1955 Ford Fairlane Convertiblethe cars we grew up liking. Even though many of the older cars of the 30s and 40s demonstrate superior craftsmanship and a refined elegance, it’s the cars of the 50s and 60s that really turned us on and as usual there was an abundance of them.
1954 Mercury Monterey
 My family had a 1955 Mercury, light blue with a dark blue roof. This 54 was a beauty and well restored.
1954 Chevy Bel Air Convertable
Jim is probably telling this woman how good she would look behind the wheel of this Chevy Bel Air. Jim is an authority and connoisseur of classic cars. He has loved cars his entire life and knows subtle things about them that sometimes the owners don’t even know. For Nick and me, attending the show with Jim is like having our own personal tour guide. He misses few opportunities to question an owner about a car he’s particularly interested in and they are always happy to share their knowledge.
1961 Lincoln Continental

In the late 50s and early 60s cars had huge rear ends.

1959 Cadillac Eldorado
And the designers’ imaginations went wild. This Cadillac looks like it’s ready for take-off. But you’ve got to love ‘em.

1955 Studebaker President Speedster
The three of us agreed that this Studebaker was one of sweetest cars of the show. Studebakers were unlike any other cars of their time.
Every year we each pick our personal favorite car of the show. The cars we choose are never the older classics or even the best restoration jobs, but turn out to be the ones we would most like to immediately climb into and drive away. Nick and Jim are both passionate about Thunderbirds, so I wasn’t surprised when each chose a T-Bird as their favorite.
1957 Thunderbird
This ‘57 T-Bird that Nick chose was actually up for sale for a measly $70,000. We didn’t have to try to convince him that he’d look good behind the wheel. But he was concerned that he couldn’t convince his wife, Suzanne.
1962 Thunderbird
I couldn’t get a good shot of Jim’s favorite car because of all the people getting in the way, so I found one on the internet just like it. I have to admit, Jim would look awfully good behind the wheel of this little baby.
Jim made it clear that back in the day, you were either a Ford guy or a Chevy guy and never 1962 Corvettethe twain shall meet. For some of the formative years of my life, my dad bought Chevys, so I guess I was a Chevy guy. My choice of the show was this red 1962 Corvette. In the early 60s TV show Route 66, Buzz and Todd drove around in one of these. I know what you’re thinking and I agree. Damn I’d look good in this one. Here are a few more cars we drooled over.007

 The paint job on this car was so luscious. The term “Eye Candy” comes to mind. 

 Aston Martin
We had to beg Nick to step away from this little 195? Aston Martin DB Mark III.

I did manage to get a Artsy, close up shot of Jim’s dream car.
1952 Buick Eight, Super Woody Estate
On family vacations, the kids could really bounce around in the back seat of this 1952 Buick Eight, Super Woody Estate.

The three of us most  love the cars that are restored to their original state and there were a ton of examples at this year’s show.
By mid-afternoon, the 22 block show was jam-packed with people and it was somewhat of a challenge to even get close to the cars. We still had 4 or 5 blocks to go, when we ran out of steam and decided to bail.  Maybe next year we can go into training a few weeks in advance in order to complete the whole thing. The show keeps getting bigger and we keep getting older, but the tradition will survive.

1 comment:

  1. We had a 54 Merc with skirts like the one you showed. For some reason they turned it in for a 55 Merc monterey (fire engine red). I loved the muscle cars that come out in 64 but to my mind nothing beats the early corvettes...especially the split rear window. From the earliest release those cars were all about power and speed. Fastest car I ever rode in was a dual quad 64 corvette.