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Brandon Seiler's Blog on Cars

Archive for July 2011

Greenwood Car Show a roaring success Part 1

Pardon the saucy title; the Greenwood Car Show is always a roaring success. This year’s show was no exception, save for a chance encounter with the owner of a cherry 1977 T-Top Pontiac Trans Am. 

He’s no Burt Reynolds and doesn’t profess to be, but I’ll vouch for his level of cool, in part from our shared admiration of the 1977 cinema classic, “Smokey and the Bandit”. 

B=Brandon
M=Matt

B: How synonymous would you say this car is with that movie?

M: Well for me, certainly 100%. I was born in ’74, the movie came out in ’77 and by about 1980 I loved this car and always wanted one ever since. 

B: Do you think you could still pick up Sally Field in it?

M: I hope so. I’ve got my own Sally Field at home.

B: What’s peoples’ reaction been to the car?

M: Well everything that I’ve heard has been positive but I suppose if somebody didn’t like it they’d probably just keep walking. 

(Guy wearing dark sunglasses, smoking cigarette interrupts interview)

G=Guy
M=Matt

G: You’re car?

M: Yeah.

G: Dude, east bound and down, loaded up and truckin’. 

M: Right on.

G: Seriously, good for you. That’s a nice car man.

M: Thank you.

(Guy leans down, shakes Matt’s hand and gives him a hug)

G: Thanks for bringing it, appreciate it. 

M: Yeah. 

G: Sweet man. Sweet. 

(Guy walks off) 

In the time I spent interviewing Matt you could have taken your time eating a peanut-butter sandwich and no less than six small groups of people exited the passing foot traffic to stop and smile excitedly at his Trans Am. 

Most could be overheard mentioning something rich about Burt Reynolds and/or Smokey and the Bandit. Little did they know Matt’s replica of the Buford T. Justice diverter was a far more potent machine than its inspiration. 

B: I’m guessing the engine in this car makes more horsepower than the ’77 version of it.

M: The ’77 with all the emission regulations, the factory said it was an 180 horse motor, and then you could get a factory option with the smaller heads and a little bit higher combustion and you could get 200 horse. So it was pretty pathetic for a 400 cubic inch motor. This one I haven’t had dynoed yet, its only had a couple tanks of fuel through it since it’s been back together but my goal, my target was 600 horse and 500 foot pounds. So the motors pretty well built. It wasn’t really set up to handle all that but we’ll get her broke in first and then we’ll see if we come close. 

B: It seems like a burnout machine just sitting there, like it should be doing one right now.

M: Yeah it’s got three-seven-three gears so it’s pretty quick off the line. I didn’t go four-elevens because I wanted to have at least some highway gear. But, it’s pretty fast.

We parted with a handshake and instructed each other to take it easy. With a successful interview handled like a boss I continued down the strip to soak in the true experience of the Greenwood Car Show at my leisure, camera and audio-recorder stuffed discretely into the undersized pockets of my Levi jeans.

Guised as a common spectator, the time had come to conduct some hardcore journalistic sleuthing. Catch up on the action in:

PART 2: http://tinyurl.com/6elltrj


To learn more about how to build your very own 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Smokey and the Bandit replica, visit www.yearone.com and read my blog “Pontiac Dead, Burt Reynolds not to blame” at http://tinyurl.com/4yy6fmw.

Greenwood Car Show a roaring success Part 2

 

 
The first thing that overcomes a passionate auto-enthusiast at the Greenwood Car Show is total darkness. Most will suffer a harmless aneurysm and be rendered temporarily unconscious from the sight of over 700 classic vehicles splayed out over 1.5 miles of Greenwood Avenue. 

Once recovered, the philandering eye of car lust is free to wander the Northwest’s premier auto show, a gathering committed to celebrating an endlessly eclectic mix of vehicular history. 

There’s no better way to describe this year’s joyous gauntlet than with a: 

MONTAGE 

-1936 International Harvester Garbage Truck with a sign in the window that reads, “Please touch this truck”, in the windshield. I didn’t touch it for fear of coming in contact with the remnants of seventy-five year-old garbage.

-Nash Metropolitans. A half dozen of the Mr. Magoo cars barely took up three feet of street space. They look like little bumper cars that escaped from their rink. Fun Fact: They double as an alternative fuel source for Hummers. 

-Mustang Alley - A line of sought-after Stangs that would arouse Carol Shelby: 302 Boss, GT 500’s, ’66 GT350 convertible, 2007 Saleen/Parnelli Jones Edition, early 90’s Vanilla Ice 5.0’s, 1979 Mustang pace car for the 63rd annual Indy 500, etc. 

-Weiner dog with hind legs in a sad little cart. 

There was no time to feel pity. The 4:00pm closing time for the show was fast approaching and the echoes of thunderous vintage V-8’s was beginning to reverberate up and down the avenue as the more antsy owners pulled their classics from the stalls. 

The scene was classic, as old the cars themselves. Older gentlemen lit cigarettes in the drivers’ seats of their show cars, waiting for the engines to warm enough to calm the cam-lopes and for the crowd to thin out. The tension was rising. 

I started pacing south, hoping to catch the best of it and walked directly into the electric-car block of the show.

Every owner there had a sales-pitch. Some of it sounded alright. Others stood in front of a battery-powered Geo Metro limousine with a gull-wing door lofted ajar in the far rear to showcase something I didn’t take the time to look at. It was probably a battery. Other cars at this section included:

-Nissan Leaf
-Chevrolet Volt
-Mid ‘70’s Datsun station wagon converted to electric

A ponderous thought occurred: If electric cars now make up an entire section of the Greenwood show, would their little block slowly expand outwards like a softly humming cancer, marking the inevitable demise of gas-powered automobiles? 

The faint roar of petroleum engines was rising. Time was of the essence. I kept walking south-bound, scribbling observations on a pad of paper:

TV MUSCLE CARS

A General Lee Dodge Charger – One of the original cars used in the making of The Dukes of Hazard. It had a confederate flag draped over the bumper and was equipped with a roll cage and ramming bar. The driver’s seat had the faint aura of faded Levi’s jeans in the imprint of Luke Duke’s buttocks.

1975 Gran Torino – Used in the filming of Starsky and Hutch. There was probably a pulp fiction ass-print in this car as well but vehicles up and down the strip were beginning to pour out into a ridiculously eclectic exit parade. 

A line of four Shelby Cobras, originals and replicas grumbled past, the tops of their doors well below my waist line. 

Most of the lil darlin’s had side-exhausts that funneled the headers straight from the engine. One of the testier drivers introduced me to a Cobra honk: Revving the engine to startle pedestrians out of the way.

A sharp flick of his foot released a calf-level exhaust explosion that threatened to singe the hair from my leg. 

Raaaarrrrrr!!!

Directly after the Cobras, a progression of three Mini Coopers puttered silently into the exit line of traffic like diligent little butlers working dutifully unnoticed. 

I continued walking against the flow and began to notice that the randomly timed exits were mixing dangerously eclectic portions of the show.

A dream car of mine appeared: 1964 Lincoln Continental. Only it was lowered, rollin’ on gigantic rims and low-profile tires. 

For lack of a better term, I had fumbled into the “Urban” portion of the strip. Both tastefully and gaudily blinged-out classics sauntered into the street. Hydraulics and bass music were predominate. 

Elderly female pedestrians covered their ears with their hands and complained to their husbands, whom without a ceiling or broom to jab at it with could do nothing to help. 

A group of Latino dudes in a lowered 1964 Impala convertible rolled into the procession blasting Latin music, followed cautiously by three elderly gentlemen in a 1925 Packard riding in white-knuckled silence. Suddenly, a gear-head in a lowered 1949 Mercury hot-rod convertible pulled in tight behind the Packard and began to blast AC-DC, creating a terrible sandwich of incompatible genres. 

The Packard exploded. 

Back at my trusty 1998 Subaru Legacy station wagon, it occurred to me that even if I didn’t have a car blog and couldn’t so much as tell the difference between a Geo Metro and a Chevrolet Suburban, I would still be entertained and warmly included at the Greenwood Car Show. 

Such a happily random mix of automotive love could trick even the muddiest philistine into appreciating art and history; there’s just something about cars everyone can appreciate. 

Maybe next year we’ll hear a few Tin Pan Alley favorites blowing proudly out of a Packard. That would really add to the scene.

PART 1: http://tinyurl.com/6bqznc9  

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About this blog

Brandon Seiler is a bonafide car guy, member of the Northwest Auto Press Association and proud Washingtonian. He covers the latest auto news, technology, and pretty much anything having to do with car culture. You don't have to like cars to read his blogs, you just have to be able to read.

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