Down the Road

Roads and life and how roads are like life

Sleepless among classic cars

9

I dragged my butt to the Mecum Spring Classic muscle-car auction this year. I normally go excited and energized, but this year I’d had an unexpected, serious case of insomnia the night before. I got no sleep whatsoever before I had to get up and drive my kids across town so they could get to school on time. I drove from there to Margaret’s, as she was going along to see the cars with me this year. I slept hard on her couch for an hour and a half, but then sleep eluded me again.

Insomnia and I go way back. When it visits, I just go with it. I read, or watch TV, or clean, or surf the Net. I usually get drowsy enough to sleep within a few hours. If I don’t, I go about my day as best I can. And so even on next to no sleep, we drove on down to the fairgrounds to take in the cars. I was groggy and dizzy and headachy all day, but I still managed to have some fun.

Even though the Mecum is primarily a muscle-car auction, many other kinds of old cars are on hand. I go to see those cars, actually. Every year, I see cars I’ve read about, or seen in photos, but have never seen in person. This year, that car was this 1927 Hupmobile.

1927 Hupmobile

I’ve seen plenty of Ramblers, though; they weren’t uncommon when I was a boy. I find this ’60 Rambler Super’s angular lines strangely alluring.

1960 Rambler Super

I love Ford trucks of this body style. My grandpa had one when I was very small. This one’s from 1967.

1967 Ford F100

Also from 1967, here’s a screaming red Pontiac Bonneville convertible. This car is about 18 feet long. You could park my Ford Focus on its hood, I’m sure.

1967 Pontiac Bonneville

VW Buses were pretty common during my 1970s kidhood, but the pickups on that chassis were not. So I was glad to see this ’70 Transporter.

1970 Volkswagen Transporter II

I love station wagons. There can’t be many ’72 Buick Sport Wagons left. Modern car design tends to push the rear wheels way out to the back of the vehicle, so it’s odd to see so much overhang behind the rear wheels of this Buick.

1972 Buick Sport Wagon

Margaret was taken with this ’72 Fiat 500. We both towered over it.

1972 Fiat 500

This is the first car we saw at the auction, a ’73 Chevy Impala two-door hardtop. It seems strange today, but in those days, full-sized cars came with many different roofs: hardtop (no pillar behind the front door) and pillared, four-door and two-door. And Chevy had two two-door rooflines. This one was the sportier of the two, and was called the Sports Roof. This one looks factory fresh, down to those awesome wheel covers that were typical of the period. Dad had a ’71 Impala with this roof. It was the most unreliable car we owned.

1973 Chevrolet Impala

I’m sharing this one just because it’s so over the top: a ’74 Ford Ranchero Squire, in double brown with a brown interior. This enormous vehicle was considered mid-sized in its time.

1974 Ford Ranchero Squire

A study in opposites: this 1976 Citroen CX. This car is cram-packed with engineering innovation, including a hydropneumatic self-leveling suspension and variable-assist power steering. US auto regulations prohibited such things then, so Citroen couldn’t legally sell them here. But they were very popular in Europe, being made from 1974 to 1991.

1976 Citroen CX

We stayed but a few hours. I normally stay all day, but finally I couldn’t hold out anymore. A nap was in my immediate future. Mercifully, blissfully, I slept through the night that night.

I’ll share my favorite car from the auction in an upcoming post.


I go to the Mecum every year. Here are posts from past years: here and here and here and here and here and here.

1965 Porsche 356SC

Porsche 356SC
Canon PowerShot S95
2015

Fountain Square at dusk

5

Margaret and I spent a recent Saturday evening walking, talking, and taking photographs in Fountain Square, a hip neighborhood southeast of Downtown in Indianapolis. We dined and drank and enjoyed each others’ company. It was a great night.

My favorite photos from the evening came at dusk, after the lights came on. I was shooting my Canon PowerShot S95 RAW and made these images really pop in post-processing. I don’t have anything more to say, really, so just enjoy the photos!

Virginia Ave.

Fountain Square Theater

Lit Fresh Local Restaurant

the Bar

Radio Radio

Duckpin Bowling

1973 Chevrolet Impala

Tail lights, 1973 Chevy
Canon PowerShot S95
2015

Strolling through Lockerbie Square

11

Lockerbie Square is the oldest surviving residential district in Indianapolis, and it’s wonderfully restored and preserved. I found myself there on a Downtown stroll with my Pentax ES II.

Homes in Lockerbie

What a perfect time to photograph Lockerbie’s homes: the trees had just started to leaf, lending color and interest to my photos, but weren’t so full that they blocked the homes.

Little house in Lockerbie

It was also midevening. The sun’s warm light cast interesting shadows everywhere.

Lockerbie House

I occasionally encountered people on the street, residents I’m sure. None of them gave me and my camera a second glance. Perhaps Lockerbie is a frequent photo destination?

Street in Lockerbie

Even when you have no camera in your hands, Lockerbie is a charming evening stroll.

Lockerbie House

Lockerbie Square was built by immigrants, and most of its homes were constructed before 1910. By World War II, the neighborhood was in decline; many of these homes had become boardinghouses and apartments.

Door in Lockerbie

But from about the 1960s the neighborhood began to be restored. Some of these homes were in deplorable condition, but today every last one is well loved and well cared for.

The Riley home

On the only surviving cobblestone street in Indianapolis stands the former home of Lockerbie’s most famous resident, James Whitcomb Riley. In his day, he was an enormously famous Hoosier. The home is open for tours. I’ve done it twice, it’s so good. The house is very nearly as it was in Riley’s day, with most of the furniture being what Riley and the family with which he lived all used. This is as close to a time capsule house as you’ll ever find.

Recommended reading

2

Every week I select a handful of posts I enjoyed reading on other blogs. Here’s this week’s set.

Pioneering radio station KPH broadcast entirely in Morse code, with an audience of ships at sea. John Smith tells its story, with film photos he took recently. Upon arriving, he found his meter’s battery dead, so he guessed exposures himself. Read Low battery. No battery. No worries.

Most of us have a speeding-ticket story. Or two, or three. I have, well, let’s just say several (read one here). David Lacy tells one of his, from the middle of nowhere in Nebraska. Read Speeding is the Least of My Infractions

Jason Shafer owns a 1963 Ford Galaxie sedan, which he drove on a long spring road trip this year. He wrote about the trip for Curbside Classic. Part 1 is here but I really liked Part 2 — the Galaxie’s startlingly comfortable front bench seat, the sights he saw along the way, and a breakdown less than a hundred miles from home. Read A CC Roadtrip: Four Days, Six States, and Over 1,000 Miles in a 52-Year-Old Ford Galaxie – Part 2

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