As a teaser for the upcoming coverage of the Joliet Super Chevy Show, I thought I'd share some pics and words about some of the cool stuff I saw over my weekend at the show. Aside from a little rain on Saturday, the weather was beautiful for the show, with the locals surprised at the sudden relief from the sweltering August heat.
There were some cool and unusual cars in the show which you'll see in the pics below, and stay tuned to a future issue of Super Chevy where you'll see a full breakdown of the event including car show and drag race winners, plus much more!
Publisher Ed Zinke got a good laugh when I told him about this car "the best '57 in the whole car show field" as I put it! Jokes aside, this car caught my attention instantly because it was chock full of more character than an Elmore Leonard novel. As you can see in the pic of the driver's side quarter window, this old '57 150 2-door post was an aged dragstrip veteran. The current owner pulled the car out of the weeds in pieces, and after welding in new floor and trunk sheetmetal, pretty much left the car as is except for a few other improvements, including a big block for power. Note the '57 "driver" correct mismatched decklid that shows at least three different paint colors over its life! I love cars like this! Looking at them is like reading a good book.
20 years ago, I'll bet the need for this pair of tools was still pretty good, but today I can't imagine there's much demand for them, hence the $2 price tag. Even the most nostalgic of car guys has to admit, the relegation of points to the obsolete shelf except for fully restored cars isn't a bad thing!
Another Tri-5 that caught my attention at the show was this original paint '56 BelAir 2-door sedan. A rare color combo to see around today, the Nassau Blue/Harbor Blue pairing was a very 50s style combo, and looked as good then as it does today. Chevy built 104,849 BelAir 2-door post cars in the '56 production run, making it the third most produced model in the BelAir line behind the 4-door sedan and Sport Coupe or "Hardtop" models.
This black beauty was definitely an eye catcher at the show. Owned by the nephew of famous AHRA/IHRA drag racer Bill Hielscher, aka "Mr. Bardhal". This black SS/RS 350 car was built in the first fourth months of '69 production, and featured some early production unique items. Mated behind the L-48 300 HP 350 was an M-21 with optional console, and a 12-bolt rear handling duty out back. With too many options to list in this brief paragraph, suffice to say this '69 was definitely a unique Camaro.
Now here's a rare bowtie indeed! This '58 Impala convertible looked to sport every option available in the sales brochure for the '58 model year! Aside from the rare 348 tri-power engine, this car came with a turboglide auto trans, A/C, power brakes, stoplight viewer, and a litany of other goodies. It seems like more and more '58 model Bowties are showing up at events in recent months, so it's nice to see the "odd" year cars seeing the light of day again. What most people don't realize, Chevrolet actually produced and sold more '58 models than the iconic '57 models.
While not a Z-16 or high horse 327 car, this 283 2-bbl equipped Malibu SS is still just as nice. Chevrolet's popular A-body was in its second year of production, and a moderate facelift over '64 gave the front end a more crisp, sporty look. The '64-'67 A-bodies were built on the same 115-inch wheelbase as the 55-56-57 model cars.
While rain is pretty much throws a wet blanket on an event, after it stops and the suns comes out, you can get nice abstract artistic photos like this. Saturday in the early afternoon a pretty fierce thunderstorm blew through Joliet and pretty much washed out the day's event.
The first-gen F-bodies were well represented at Super Chevy Show in Joliet. It is truly amazing how a car designed 40 years ago still holds its own against the modern cars of today for styling. One '69 that caught my attention in particular was a burnished brown Z/28. Out of 20,000 Z/28s built that year, not very many came with this color.
While everyone's attention has been centered on the new C6 ZR1 with its supercharged LS9 engine, it shouldn't be forgotten that the ZR1 badge held top honors for American sports cars back in the late years of the C4 Corvettes. The DOHC LT-5 engine was a collaboration between GM and Lotus, the result being a very advanced small block for the time, and well before Ford started putting out their ubiquitous modular OHC engine family.
No, you're not imagining things, that is a Vega you see on the right. A nice Vega (yes, despite what some people say, there were/are nice Vegas) is fairly rare to see at any Chevy show, and I couldn't resist snapping a pic of this clean example sporting a small block conversion. Grumpy Jenkins had a Vega that terrorized NHRA tracks all over the country.
Dig the gasser look! An especially nice touch with this Chevy II gasser was the unmasked, welded in panels behind the front wheels, and the header pipes in the wheel wells. One can only imagine what it was like to be at a dragstrip like Lions, Miami Dragway, Bowling Green, or any of the other popular tracks of the day when scores of cars like this would show up for match races, points meets, and throw down, knock out drag races!
The one that started it all. In the fall of 1954, GM and Chevrolet set the automotive world on its ear with the revolutionary style and design of the '55 Chevy, and the engineering masterpiece that was the new 265 small block V-8. Available in a 162 HP 2-bbl and 180 HP 4-bbl version, the lightweight engine put Chevy on the point for performance for the '55 model year. This version is the 2-bbl equipped model, with a mere 8.0:1 compression and the optional top mounted oil filter element.
The workhorse of the Chevy lineup for many years, the 235 Blue Flame six was the base motor in all Chevrolets (even the corvette until 1956) until the new design 250 I-6 came out in the 60s. What most people don't realize is, when the 265 came out in the '55 Chevy, more cars were actually built with the old 235 six than the new small block. People were hesitant in the first year of production to embrace the new motor, but in '56 that changed when everyone saw what a top notch performer Chevrolet's new engine was.
Ok, do I even need to explain why this photo is here?! The debate will probably always rage as long as cars are around, but my feelings have always been, attractive women and cool cars go together like rally wheels on a Camaro. If this wasn't true, then most women wouldn't care what kind of car a guy drives, and we all know that ain't true!!!
With a 3,200 pound curb weight, '57 2-door sedans were popular with drag racers for a long time. In the 60s one could be had for nothing (Chevy produced 162,090 210 2-door sedans alone), and easily be equipped to race in almost any NHRA/AHRA/IHRA class. But this particular example has probably never seen any duty like that because of its 235 I-6 engine. This one sports the attractive India Ivory/Larkspur Blue color scheme. Some would say the 210s looked better than the BelAirs when painted in two-tone hues.
Another interesting Camaro to show up over the weekend was this beautiful '69 Pace Car sporting a 350 HP 396. And a genuine festival car to boot! Listed in the option books as code Z11 (formerly used by the lightweight front end full size 409 cars of the early 60s) was the Indy Sport Convertible Accents group for $36.90. While a total of 3,675 cars were built with this option, only a handful saw duty at the Indy speedway as "festival" or courtesy cars, true pace cars, or other PR duty. Hopes are that for the new 2010 Camaro, the new 5th Gen F-body will pace the Indy field sporting a retro scheme paying homage to the '69 pace cars.