Carspotting, Route 66 edition
I photographed so many old cars along Route 66 that I just couldn’t save them for my annual end-of-the-year Carspotting post. Here they all are, from east to west.
1966 Chevrolet/Superior school bus. Bob Waldmire was one of the best friends an old road ever had. Splitting his time between Arizona and Illinois, he traveled the Mother Road constantly, advocated for its preservation and was known for his road-related art. His home base was Springfield, Illinois, where he lived in this converted school bus. Waldmire died in 2009, and his bus is now parked outside the Route 66 Museum, in Pontiac, Illinois.
1972 VW Bus camper. Waldmire traveled the road in this camper van, which is now on display inside the museum. This bus inspired the Fillmore character in the Pixar movie Cars.
1951 Chevrolet truck. I found this old girl parked in front of a garage in Carlinville, Illinois.
1956 Chevrolet sedan. Many of the old cars along the route advertised the route’s businesses; this one advertises for a Subway in Edwardsville, Illinois. I hope, however, that the logo peels off easily.
1964 Ford F-100. Old trucks were also well represented along the Mother Road. This one from somewhere in mid-Missouri looks like a survivor.
1950 Chevrolet sedan. This one’s permanently parked next to the former Standard station at the Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri. It’s over the station’s former grease pit. For more about the Wagon Wheel, look here. I wrote about this car for Curbside Classic, too, and shared more photos; read about it here.
1951 International Harvester tow truck. This rusty work horse inspired the Tow Mater character in the movie Cars. It’s now rusting away along the route, in Galena, Kansas.
1966 Oldsmobile F-85. Just down the road in Galena, this fake police car is parked in front of the store it advertises. I can’t remember the last time I saw an F-85! Candy and jerky are certainly not an obvious pairing, but my sons and I stepped inside to sample both, and somehow it works. I especially liked the jerky, and bought a ton of it for us to snack on during the rest of the trip.
1983 Renault Alliance. This looks just like the ’83 Alliance MT I used to own (story here). It was a limited edition honoring the Car of the Year award that Motor Trend magazine bestowed upon this hapless car. I think all Alliance MTs were painted this shade of gray, and mine had the same pin stripe, tan interior, and body-color wheels. I wished I could get closer to see for sure. I found this Renault in Quapaw, Oklahoma, among easily a dozen more Alliances. I wrote about them all over at Curbside Classic; read that story here.
1970 Ford Mustang. This restored convertible was parked in front of a restaurant in Vinita, Oklahoma. It’s for sale!
1960 Studebaker Lark. In the 1970s, when I was a lad, the Studebaker Lark was my hometown’s favorite beater. If some other car was your town’s cheap-transportation choice in those days, it’s probably because you didn’t live in South Bend, as I did. That’s where this car was made. I wrote a paean to this Lark over at Curbside Classic; read it here.
1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air wagon. This car belongs to Jerry McClanahan, who wrote the guide we used to follow the Mother Road. He lives just off Route 66 in Chandler, Oklahoma.