For the first several years I went to the Mecum auction, the sold cars were left outside for people to see. Then at some other Mecum auction in some other city someone stole one of the sold cars. That was that: the sold cars were no longer accessible to the public.
It really bummed me out. The for-sale cars were all inside under bright direct lighting. I made much more pleasing photographs of the sold cars outside, like of this 1951 Chevrolet. I love how the camera rendered the sunlight falling across the car’s hood.
The other day I looked back through my many photos from the Mecum classic car auctions I used to go to. What fun those auctions were for me.
I used to take all of my digital cameras, plus all of my extra battery packs. That was one camera at first, then two, then three, all point-and-shoots. I also always brought one film camera. I was loaded down with gear!
This 1961 Chevrolet Parkwood station wagon was such a lovely color. I tended to shoot my Canon PowerShot S80 at 28mm, its default setting, which let me bring in lots of this wagon’s flank.
This is my favorite photo from the Cars and Coffee I went to recently. This 1966 Chevrolet was a low-line Biscayne with rubber floor mats and no radio. It also had neither air conditioning nor power accessories, but that was pretty common then.
What it lacked in amenities, it made up for in sheer cubic inches. The monster big-block 427 was under this Biscayne’s hood. A four-speed Hurst shifter sticks up out of the floor. I’ll bet this thing is a terror to drive.
This car was indoors — a real challenge for the ISO 100 Fujicolor Industrial. Fortunately, I had a fast lens and a steady hand. I counted on shallow depth of field and I got it.
This post is sponsored by Analogue Wonderland, which offers more than 200 films. You can buy Fujicolor Industrial 100 from them here.
My little Canon S95 is still a great camera, nine years after it was manufactured. It may be showing its age, though. Native colors aren’t as vivid and everything is a little hazy now. So I shoot in Positive color mode, which is supposed to mimic color slide film. And then in Photoshop I use the Auto Tone correction and boost contrast a little. But that’s not an onerous amount of processing. And look at the result!
This Chevy crest is from a 1957 Bel Air, one of the most over-photographed automobiles of all time. Yet even on a cliche subject, when you move in close you can find something interesting.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I made some film photos at this Cars and Coffee too. I’ll share them when they’re back from the processor.