Monday, June 18, 2012


Annual Exposition of the Antique Car Club of Trois-Rivières
June 16-17, 2012
at parc Pie XII  ("Park P-Dooze")

Meet the Blues Brothers impersonators.  This photo was taken during the 2004 Auto Expo, standing next to their 1975 Dodge Monaco, a replica of the car featured in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers.  [The sign propped up against the right-hand tire says "Nous sommes en 'mission' pour le Signeur" ("We are on a mission for the Lord"), a quote from the film.] The 'Blues Brothers' were there yesterday but on the opposite side of the park from where we were, and we had to leave before we could locate them; hence this substitute photo from an earlier expo--same place, different year. 

Also from 2004:  The Funky-Zone Dancers doing a dance from "Grease"
There was no entertainment at yesterday afternoon's 2012 Expo, and less than half the 
crowd I remember from eight years ago.  It was also about 20 degrees hotter outside.  
I so hoped they'd be there this time, these talented dancers - they were really cool.

Some of the cars:

Click on photos to enlarge

1923 Ford Model T Bucket roadster

1924 Ford Model T Roadster

1929 Ford Model T, side view
Eight windows

Same 1929 Model T Ford, front view

The price of gasoline was $.19 per gallon in 1929.
Bread was 25 cents a loaf and cigarettes 25 cents a pack.
A Ford Model T cost around $525

1929 Chevy International 4-door Sedan, side view

Same 1929 Chevy 4-door Sedan, front view

1929 Mercedes Benz SSK roadster

Fewer than 40 SSKs were built during its production span, of which about half were sold as racing cars. [Wiki].

1931 Ford Model A Sedan

Prices for the Model A ranged from US$385 for a roadster to $1400 for the top-of-the-line Town Car. [Wikipedia]

1939 Chevy coupe

1939 Chevy coupe interior

1934 Ford coupe

1934 Ford coupe front, with four grinning skulls

1934 Ford coupe, rear view

1937 Ford sedan
The 1937 Ford featured a more rounded look with fine horizontal bars in the convex front and hood-side grilles. The front grille was V-shaped, rather than following the fenders into a pentagon shape, as on the 1936 model. [Wikipedia]

1938 Chevy "Master"

1946 Ford, under the hood

1946 Mercury pickup truck

1951 Mercury Custom

1953 Chevy Bel Air

(One big long seat--like  a couch.
Are you old enough to remember those skinny steering wheels?!)

1953 Chrysler Windsor
Larger than a mid-size and sitting on a wheelbase of more than 2.79 meters, the full-size Windsor was sold from the 1940's through the 1960's.

1955 Buick Riviera

1955 Ford Fairlane

1955 Pontiac Chieftain

[That's a doll there, by the way--not a kid.]

1956 Renault Juva 4
I like this color.  Blue-gray?  Gray-blue? Blue-gray with a hint of green?
The color of the sea sometimes.  Soothing.

1957 Corvette, lovingly polished

[Possible caption for the guy at the back:
"You missed a spot."]

Just look at that shine!!

A true dinosaur, the 1959 Edsel Corsair

1964 [?] Chevy Corvette Stingray

1967 Plymouth Barracuda

1968 Chevrolet Camaro SS convertible

1968 Plymouth Valiant Custom

1969 Ford Mustang, Mach I
Ford Mustangs were manufactured from 1964 until 1973.

1969 Ford Mustang, Mach I, side view

1970 Lamborghini Espada

1970 Lamborghini Espada engine
Wanna hear how it sounds?
Check out this video of "Lamborghini Espada Engine Music"!

1971 Chevy Chevelle SS

1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

1972 Ford Mustang

1974 Volkswagen Beetle, flirty
Flower power, ha ha

1975 Cadillac Eldorado

Elvis lives!

1986 Citroen 2CV

The "2CV" stands for deux chevaux,  i.e. “deux chevaux-vapeur [fiscaux]”, literally “two tax horsepower
Bootlegger, modified

My mate, checking out the interior of a Corvette

The local L'Hebdo Journal wrote there'd be between 400 and 600 cars dating from 1903 to today, on exhibit yesterday at parc Pie XII.  (This park was named after the 12th of the popes named Pius).  There were nowhere near that many cars.  A handfull of kiosks (they foretold there'd be 50) sold hats and T-shirts and ice cream cones as retro music blared out from a loudspeaker.  Not much of a crowd (they predicted 10,000).  But today was Father's Day, it was beastly hot outside, and dozens of other activities were likely going on at the same time.  It was still interesting, and worth going to.  I know little about cars, or engines,  who made what model vehicle when, etc., but it's fun seeing these old relics, observing the enthusiasm and hearing the stories of those that do.

Some of these babies never get taken out (except for these expos).  Highly insured, they sit much of their life in protective garages, lovingly worked on, maintained, and bragged about.  When you see them on the highway, it's like going back in time.  Once we were driving home from Montreal when halfway up Route 40 all of a sudden, out of nowhere, come 50 Mustangs speeding past, all in a row,  all heading in the same direction.  Red ones, blue ones, orange ones, silver ones, old ones, new ones, original and "modified", their drivers in funky hats, grinning from ear to ear.  "Must be the Expo", we said. 

Well, anyway, that was our afternoon walk through the park yesterday. If anyone can tell me the exact year of the car in the 30th photo--the 1960's era Corvette, I will correct the label underneath the image. The owner was not on site, there was no identifying placard on the windshield, and no one we asked could say for sure. 

I have to say, my personal favorite was the flirty Beetle with the appended eyelashes, in Photo #41.

They all had distinctive personalities, a reflection--in many cases--of their caring and creative owners.  Several were for sale.  Those cars were really built back then.  I would love to have found the one from 1903, mentioned by L'Hebdo, but alas, we became undone, finally, by the heat and humidity and had other errands to attend to.  But what an interesting tour, among these driving machines of yesteryear, the now dated, ever 'cool', and occasionally, downright comical.  (sorry, Edsel.)

Enjoyed the show, and in retrospect, was kind of glad in fact that the anticipated crowds did not materialize.  This was supposed to be a short post recounting a walk in some park. Unfortunately, I had to go and take pictures.  Anyway, thought this might be of interest to some readers.   Or for the mechanically inclined--a looksee at a Lamborghini engine.  :)  I, for one, would not turn down a ride in a Lamborghini ANY day!

Trivia Car Questions I Don't Know the Answer To:

1.  When did they stop making those running boards on cars?  You know, at the sides of the car underneath the door as a practical device to ease your way in?  Made sense back then, when cars sat higher up off the ground than they do today.   Wiki says running boards could also be used to stand on while the vehicle is moving (think 'gangsters chased by police or rival gangsters'). Originally designed for functional or aesthetic reasons (think 'fashion statement'), later discarded as unnecessary.  But what was the last year any car came equipped with traditional running boards?  My mate has no clue.  And wishes I would stop asking car questions, ha ha.

2.  Why'd they make the steering wheel thicker? 
What people liked about the thin ones:  "good, tight grip with forefinger and thumb" says one.
What they like about the revised, thicker ones:  "Good resting place for the thumbs", says another.  Plus it looks and feels more like a race car!  Option packages with certain cars today enable you to change radio stations or your CD music without lifting your hand off the steering wheel; you just press into its padding on some invisible button. (I"m sure there is special jargon for these elements, but not being a car person, I can't name them.)

 'Car-person'--by that I mean I don't really pay much attention to cars; they are not on my radar, so to speak.  I've avoided owning one for most of my life, relying for transportation on buses, my bike or my feet (or lifts from friends).  I am relieved not to have responsibility for a car.

3.  Let's talk speed limits.  According to Wikipedia, "The first maximum speed limit was the 10 mph (16 km/h) limit introduced in the United Kingdom in 1861."  (I had to look that up.)  And up until 2010,   in Abu Dhabi, the highest posted speed limit was 160 km/h (99 mph).  It must be frustrating having a car that'll do 130 mph or more but never be in a position to test it.

I should wrap this up.  But wanted to mention, my interest in these cars was more connected to their place in our culture than their date of manufacture, top speed, or location of engine.  They seem like mobile museum pieces, painstakingly restored/skillfully rebuilt, at sometimes enormous expense, to be moved from here to there for display purposes, or sold privately to collectors.

They've evolved, some of them, from enormous gas guzzlers to compact electric plug-ins but there's a kind of seeming uniformity re: car styles today (with few exceptions).  Again, just my observation.  Because looking out a car window on a thruway, at dozens of cars zooming by, I would be hard put to identify the year, make or model of even a fourth of them.   Minus the logo, label or some identifiable uniqueness (I hear car afficionados laughing here), they pretty much all look the same to me.  (My mate gives me one of those looks, ha ha).

Well, so these were a few of the cars on display out in Parc Pie-XII yesterday. a fine assortment of metal, chrome, and color they were.  Interesting to see what lasts, and what fades.  (When was the last time you saw a new mud-brown, pink, orange or neon-green car, for example?).  Red is always "in".  But they're still basically all a one-color design.  Artful departures from this template are relatively rare.  (Two-tone is not radical; I was thinking more along the lines of patterned images.  As with houses, certain color/design combinations just don't "go".  Red is okay for a car or barn; purple polka dots, on the other hand, is notably non-conformist and visually offensive to the majority.  But perhaps only because we've been conditioned to assign things "to their place", in the social order of things, as it were.   Just like you can't leave the house with one blue sock and one brown sock on, you can't paint your car in stripes of half-orange/half black.  (Everyone knows those are Halloween colors!)

No, but seriously, onlookers will oooh and ahhhh at a Model T clunking down the path, try maybe to imagine what it would be like to ride in one; but when the Edsel appears--a ripple of laughter emerges.  Why?  (I speak for myself here.)  Why am I fascinated with Model T's -- and snickering at the Edsel?  An automatic, involuntary gesture, but it tells me I make value judgments based on perceived meanings, having less to do with aesthetics and more to do with what I think these particular cars "say" to me.  Let's put it this way:  If they somehow were to magically transform themselves from innert hunks of steel into knowable humans, which one would I feel more comfortable being around?    The model T, as clunky and basic as it seems, strikes me as ... well ... gentlemanly (if a bit mothbally)--while the Edsel ... reminds me for some reason, of Rodney "I don't get no respect!" Dangerfield, ha ha..  (Apologies, Rodney).

Okay, I'm done.  This is turning into a book. Went to a car show and I come away thinking about comparative personalities. 

A petite disclaimer.  I hate the color Yellow.  I think that color should be restricted to pineapples and bananas and sunflowers, not clothing and cars.  I don't own a single thing that is yellow.  Except maybe a pencil.  I also am not crazy about the color orange ("Halloween!"),  but I found myself pausing in front of that little yellow and orange 1938 Chevy 'Master' and its hand painted, half checkerboard/half red, twirly 'mouthed' design on its door.  Kind of like a school of odd-shaped, eyeless fish silently barking to whoever follows behind:  "Take note, folks.  We're going somewhere!"  And for that brief moment, I honestly would have given up a ride in the Lamborghini--and hopped in that little Chevy instead.   (This is what I meant by cars "speaking to you", drawing you in when you're hurriedly heading elsewhere, pulling you back, hinting "Hey look at me. Take a second look.  I'm not what I seem.  I'm more."

And so he was.  Things appeal to people for different reasons.  I'd deemed the VW "cute", and  labeled it my favorite (of this group).  I'm adding the '38 Chevy Master, despite its yellow/orange exterior, because it made me stop and really see it.

Car culture!!!  Yeah!!!