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Love On Wheels

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On: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 1:53PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

Love On Wheels

Love almost never makes sense. By rights, one of its defining characteristics is doing the illogical, or following the seemingly poor choice despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary ... And enjoying every minute of it. It is strange why we choose to love the things we do. Around Autoshopper.com, it's no surprise cars seem to be an undeniable source of pain, pleasure, love, and lust. But why do we love something that literally does not have the power to love us in return? If you love cars the way I or the other talented writers do, then you've undoubtedly come across a few of those OTHER kind of people. The ones that don't understand. The ones that don't love cars, and then question your choice to love something that to them, is just a means of conveyance. You've probably experienced the awkwardness of trying to explain why you love all things automotive. Sometimes, you might have almost even given in to the pressure and just thought they were right. That cars are just metal, plastic, wiring, and fabric of varying sorts all thrown together in a shape for the expressed purpose of transporting one or more people from one location to the next faster than a horse or on foot. Maybe they are right.


Or are they?  


Maybe it's because we like going fast. Maybe it's because we like raw mechanical power. Maybe it's because we like moving, functional art. Whatever your own personal reason is, the fact is people love cars. I was wandering around the Lead East Auto Show this past weekend (The biggest 50s party in the NY, NJ, and PA area) with my family and couldn't help but be in awe of the history and passion that some of these men, women, and children all shared with me. It was a love that has been around for 50 or more years for some old timers, and their hearts were just as devoted as the first day they laid eyes on whatever car first raised their heart rate. It was amazing. You would never know there was a problem with the economy, or that gas prices were up about 1000% from the day some of these cars rolled off the line. Parents, grandparents, kids, and grandkids were all around enjoying the music, the shops, the shows, and, of course, the cars. Girlfriends asking boyfriends, and sons asking fathers about cars they had never seen before, or couldn't recognize with the absence of badging (This particular author/son was no exception.)

There was an enormous range of cars and owners all gathered and exemplifying their love in different ways. On one hand there were some guys that owned pristine 1957 Chevrolets and had large "Do not touch" signs on them. Always polishing, looking, rubbing, or buffing some small fingerprint or dust particle that only he could see. Huge engined rocket sleds, pumping out 730 horsepower out of a 6-71 blower on top of a crate motor V8 that made the trip on the back of a trailer, and in all likelihood will never see more road than a driveway. On the other hand there were guys who were laughing and leaning on $300,000 427 Cobras, while other guys drove their Model A Fords from hundreds of miles away through the craziness of the Metropolitan traffic just to put their prized possessions on display for all to see. It was incredibly interesting to see some of the model choices some people chose to sink thousands of dollars into rebuilding and making show worthy. Some, of course, made a lot of sense and were the traditional choices for restoration projects. Dozens of '57 Chevys were scattered in every corner of the time-warped hotel parking lot. Some were classic restoration projects, with original paint schemes, numbers matching 283 cubic inch engines, column-shifter three speed transmissions, and either alligator print or rolled interiors complete with bench seats. While others were quite obviously resto-mod projects designed for equal amounts of show and go. Huge supercharged motors, big slicks, Recaro bucket seats, slammed Corvette suspensions, and giant chrome wheels all sparkled in the warm Sunday sunshine. But there was also an old Mercury here or there with its trademark toothy grin, a Model A or two that was never too far from a huge-engined T-Bucket that looked like it belonged on the cover of a Beach Boys album.

There were equal showings of Ford and Chevy all across the parking lots. Corvettes ranging from '53-73 were out in force, as well as Mustangs (all fell into the '65-70 range) all laid claim to the eyes of passers-by. But there were also choices in car that seemed strange to me. A '55 Nomad (I never understood the station wagon turned hot rod motif), Ford Fairlanes (I don't get the draw here either), a 1956 Chevy (A year either way is an instant classic, and this model is destined to be called one or the other), and a host of other cars that have been handed thousands upon thousands of dollars in upgrades and parts, not to mention hours, days, and in most cases, years of dedication.

Although I might have disagreed with several choices some owners made in their choice of automobile, there was still one undeniable common thread. I might not ever be able to reconcile with the thought of restoring a 1956 Edsel, or a 1964 Fiat 1500GT, I can understand why these car-crazed folks showed up to show off their prized possessions. Why did they do it? They did it because they love their car. And even if we can never agree on what kind of car deserves one's love, it's okay because after all, love is a many splendored thing and never needs to be explained fully.

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Lindee3 | 9:58PM (Fri, Sep 10, 2010)

Lou, You ALWAYS get right to the heart of it! LOVED THIS!!!

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