Old Cars

Cars and coffee

There are a couple cars-and-coffee events near my home that run once a month during the warm-weather months. I like ’em all but I seem to make the one at Gateway Classic Cars most often. The pickings were a little slim, I assume because it was race weekend. That’s what we call Memorial Day weekend around here, because of the Indianapolis 500.

One fellow brought his 1966 Plymouth Satellite coupe. It originally had a 318 cubic-inch V8, but he swapped it out for a 440. He also painted it in a 1967 color and replaced several interior panels for an all-black interior. It’s got a few blemishes and imperfections, but that’s just how I like them. It makes for a car an owner isn’t afraid to drive. And what’s the point in owning a classic like this if you don’t drive it?

1966 Plymouth Satellite
1966 Plymouth Satellite
1966 Plymouth Satellite

I’ve never been a big fan of GM’s 1973-77 Collonnade cars. They were supposedly mid-sizers but they were enormous on the outside and cramped on the inside. Yet it was good to see this 1976 El Camino. That two-tone pattern with the chrome sweeps was available from the factory, but I’ll bet this particular color combination wasn’t.

1976 Chevrolet El Camino
1976 Chevrolet El Camino
1976 Chevrolet El Camino

I’m sure that for Gateway Classic Cars the whole purpose of Cars and Coffee is to get people inside their showroom to see the classics they have for sale. I have an enormous soft spot in my heart (or is it my head?) for the VW Karmann-Ghia. I tried to buy one once; read that story here.

Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia
Volkswagen Karmann-Ghia

You don’t see too many 1966 Chevrolet Biscaynes at shows and sales. The Biscayne was Chevy’s least-expensive full-sized car. Most buyers optioned them lightly if at all; the bulk of sales went to fleets. Riding in one of these you were facing rubber floor mats and, often, no radio. They were most often powered by an inline six-cylinder engine, which was no speed demon. This one, however, packs a big-block 427 cubic inch V8.

1965 Chevrolet Biscayne
1965 Chevrolet Biscayne

The 1970s were a time of increasing luxury in automobiles. Cars from many manufacturers had a “Brougham” trim level that represented the finest on offer. This 1972 Mercury Marquis is a “20 footer” — it looks great from 20 feet away, but when you get up close you see it’s true so-so condition.

1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham
1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham
1972 Mercury Marquis Brougham

My favorite car this day was a 1969 Ford Falcon Future Sports Coupe. Ford’s Mustang ran on Falcon underpinnings, so much so that lots of Falcons were sacrificed to keep Mustangs running. Also, based on my childhood memories most Falcons were the low trim levels, bought to be basic transportation. That’s why it’s so great to see this top-of-the-line Futura Sports Coupe. I’ll bet that driving it feels almost exactly like driving a Mustang of the era.

1969 Ford Falcon Futura Sports Coupe
1969 Ford Falcon Futura Sports Coupe
1969 Ford Falcon Futura Sports Coupe

I made some film photos at this Cars and Coffee too. I’ll share them when they’re back from the processor.

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12 thoughts on “Cars and coffee

  1. Look forward to the film shots Jim.

    I had a fair few Matchbox cars as a child and remember a red and black Dodge Challenger being one of my favourites. I also recall my dad showing me the chase scene in Bullitt with the Mustang. I couldn’t believe the sound these cars made, especially as at the time of me seeing it (probably very early 80s) the typical British cars on the local roads were Metros, Marinas and Allegros…

    It’s really interesting to read that a number of the cars you’ve featured above were pretty standard at the time – even low end – but to me still look very handsome and appealing, exotic even.

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    • Cars like the Satellite were incredibly common when I was a kid. First-gen Camaros were, too, but less so. But most of these cars were in low trim models. It’s rare to see those at shows today.

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      • DougD says:

        Yeah, if you only looked at shows you’d think every car had the biggest V8 available.

        I have a bit of a love/hate thing going on with the collonades. They have so many cool details, like the taillights & bumper as you capture so wonderfully, but overall they just don’t do it for me.

        I hope you had a good coffee there too.

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        • The coffee was terrible. But the cars were fun. I hated the Collonnades when they were new but now they’re starting to grow on me. They’re still too big on the outside, too small on the inside, though.

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  2. Ric Bell says:

    Thanks Jim, I’m a car guy too. Car shows around here are quite often during the summer months but are spaced just a little out of my realm. It’s nice to see some classics with their own unique options. Not cookie cutter cars like now.

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    • I drive a cookie-cutter car today and like it!

      There were plenty of basic cars on the roads back in the day too. The special cars were saved, and many of the basic cars have been modded to be special.

      But at least back then you could option out your car; it’s hard today as most cars come in three trim levels and that’s it.

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  3. Dan Cluley says:

    For some reason the C&C concept hasn’t taken off in Mid-Michigan. We do have a couple of regular evening gatherings however. A large downtown cruise-in once a month, and a local restaurant has a show every Tuesday (could be Cars & Coney Dogs, but nobody asked me. ) Unfortunately it has been a pretty cool and wet spring, so I haven’t been to any yet.

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