Home » Holy Crap Were There Some Great Cars At The Autopian’s First Second Official Informal Car Show And Meet-Up

Holy Crap Were There Some Great Cars At The Autopian’s First Second Official Informal Car Show And Meet-Up

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“Wow, you’re much shorter in person than I realized,” said the woman with the fantastic wood-paneled Buick Roadmaster wagon, looking (down) at me with a mixture of confusion and, maybe, alarm. She was absolutely correct, of course. I’m much shorter in person than even realize, and yet that never gets in the way of enjoying some fantastic cars, of which plenty were brought by our incredible Autopians. I realize for a number of ridiculous, insipid reasons (“I’m thousands of miles away,” “I have a court date,” I’m in the hospital, bleeding”) many of you couldn’t make it, so allow me to show you some of what you missed.

The turnout was far better than I expected. In my mind, as I drove to the event, I was sort of expecting maybe one or two other cars parked sadly in a corner of the parking lot, one of which maybe would be holding an irate reader who just wanted to yell at me for being such a numbnuts online, punctuating his loud, saliva-spraying points with a thick finger jabbed into my chest.

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But that’s not what happened! At all! We had so many Autopians show up, rolling up in cars that spanned such a gleefully wide variety of styles, types, car cultures. mechanical lineages, you name it. So let’s look at them!

May as well start with this Roadmaster, complete with the Vista roof window and the remarkable, Black Magick-engineered dual-hinge tailgate that, as you can see, can open like a massive door or drop down like a tailgate:

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Such good stuff on this wood-paneled whale of a car. There were also a whole coterie of cars that showed up that could easily be considered prime Torch Bait, in that if you wanted to set a trap to capture me, perhaps to raise me for my meat or whatever your perverse goals are, any of these cars would do the trick.

Most obvious was this incredible 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle, the first year with the big, curved windshield and the “real car”-style dash. This one was in shockingly good shape, and the engine ran perfectly, making all the right sounds. The interior was like new as well, and even the cardboard trunk liner looked like Ford was still in the White House. Wonderful.

Keeping things rear-engined and air-cooled we had this glorious first-generation Corvair coupé, all charming and classy and blue. This was a real delight to see, especially when the owner, understanding his audience with an almost eerie perception, offered to let us watch that crazy 90° fan belt do its thing:

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This thing sounded so good.

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How about this scrappy little guy? A 1980s Mini, of some special edition whose name escapes me. Something like pepper or chili-related? I don’t feel like looking it up right now but I did like the fender flares and clear-lensed taillights.

Speaking of taillights, I was given a taillight by one of our Autopians!

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Yes, this fine 2-series light is now mine, all mine, to scrutinize and contemplate. The hockey-stick section in the middle glows with a really satisfying diffused light, too.

Also on the taillight front, check out this dedication:

One reader brought a cop-spec Chevy Caprice that he specially ordered Australian-market taillights so he could have amber rear indicators! Dedication, love to see it.

[Editor’s Note: Our stupid CMS lost everything I wrote from this point on so I’m having to re-do everything and boy am I not happy about it — JT]

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Okay, back to these Torch-bait cars. Remember the Corvair? Well, the guy who brought that’s son also showed up, and look what he rolled in with:

Yep, a Yugo! A Yugo GVX, which was carbureted (unlike my Yugo GV Plus, which if fuel-injected for some real power) but still was sort of a sporting model, as it has “ground effects” plastic on the side and bigger bumper covers and some kicky seats.

The Yugo pilot takes this thing on long road rallies like the Lemons Rally and has a fuel cell in the back that likely costs more than the entire car. It’s great.

Alright, let’s show that not all Autopians are content do toodle around in little shitboxes; some genuinely valuable cars showed up as well, like this incredible TVR Chimaera:

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There’s so much to say about this car, but as usual I want to focus on one of the stupid details. Here, look at the center console:

What do you think that center brushed aluminum knob does, nestled there in that oddly scrotal area. Want a hint? Look at these:

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That’s an ashtray on the door, looking exactly like an interior door handle, only it’s not, because it’s an ashtray. You know why? Because that bonkers little knob in the nutsack there is how you open the doors. Only TVR would think that a central, rotating knob made sense for door opening. Love it.

TVR too big for you? Autopians have a solution:

How about an Autozam AZ-1? This astoundingly clean little example was like 16 pounds of charmium crammed into a coin purse. Also, ever wonder what it looks like under the front hood of an AZ-1? We goit you, fam:

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Honestly, more room than I thought!

See what’s next to the Autozam? It’s a deliriously-clean Porsche 928 with only 40,000 miles on it. Pasted

 

Want to know an amazing weird detail about the Porsche 928? No, not that one. This one:

 

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That’s the tool kit on the left there. Nice, well-populated toolkit. But what makes it great is how it just folds right up into the rear trim, all clever and clean and hidden and so good I just want to spit.

We also had the internet’s best-known lemon-lawyer, Steve Lehto here with his stunning Viper. Look at this glorious detail Steve showed me about the Viper:

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[Editor’s Note: the fucking system crashed again and lost the rest of the post, so I’m just publishing it and going to add it back in real time, or until I finally lose my shit and explode, in rage. — JT]

This is a little liquid, graduated level for aiming the headlights. I’ll have to dig deeper into this!

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Look how clean and perfect this time-capsule Trans Am is!

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This off-road modified Infiniti G35 was an incredible sight to behold. It’s perhaps the only Infiniti G35 with a freaking snorkel, for flapjackery’s sake. And it gets actually used off-road, to the point where the grime was so thick and rich that I could inscribe the Autopian logo into the back with the relative cleanliness of my finger:

 

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Old MGBs are tragically under-appreciated, I think, and I was thrilled to see this really well-sorted example:

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The intake on these looks like it was cobbled together by a Victorian tinkerer who sourced the parts from his failed steam-dirigible experiment. I’ll have to do that up in a future post, too.

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This lovingly-restored GMC Sierra was a real treat as well, being such an ideal example of a sort of hardworking, unpretentious American truck.

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This non-US-spec Smart car was incredible, too, and that bumper sticker is accurate: this man’s other car is a Yugo.

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I lost a lot of images of amazing cars, so if you came and don’t see yours, my apologies.

But I’d also like to sincerely thank everyone who showed up and helped us see what a really stellar community we’re building here.

We’ll do more of these, wherever we can. You’ll see!

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JohnTaurus
JohnTaurus
2 years ago

I wanna know whats up with the blue Ford Festiva in the title pic. I didn’t notice it yesterday, and I’m assuming it’s one of the cars that got cut due to the frustrating program?

I had a ’90 Festiva L 5 speed fuel injected, loved that little thing. Would take another in a heartbeat.

MP81
MP81
2 years ago
Reply to  JohnTaurus

It is a shame it got cut – it’s a 1.6L-swap car, and it sees semi-regular track usage.

It’s one of two he owns. The other one is even *more* race-ready.

Martin Witkosky
Martin Witkosky
2 years ago
Reply to  MP81

I too, was disappointed the Festiva didn’t make the main article. Ah, the classic B3 to B6 swap? Back in the day used to browse the fordfestiva.com forums to see just what was going on to keep these running. Had a ’91 Festiva GL in Aqua that my dad bought new in early January ’92 as a leftover. Also fuel-injected, 5 speed, rear wiper, and body colored bumpers. Had it until mid 2006 when I donated the vehicle, having acquired an Elise in June of 2005. Put 219,000 miles on it, by which time it was burning about a quart of oil a month, the (original!) clutch was starting to slip, and the transaxle had pretty much lost 2nd gear (plus had to be held in 4th or would pop out). Still delivered over 40 mpg too!

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
2 years ago

I was (am) so far away that most people around here don’t even know how far “thousands of miles” would be, because they only know what a kilometre is.

Duke of Kent
Duke of Kent
2 years ago

Thank you for posting this roundup for those of us who were unable to attend. Everything looks incredible, and it seems as if everyone there has a wonderful time! If you happen to host an event like this in my neck of the woods, I’ll be sure to come!

Ron888
Ron888
2 years ago

I’m one of the sad humans who thought 9000 miles was too far.Pathetic right?

Seriously i’m glad it was better than everyone expected. Wish i could have been there!

Dr Toboggan
Dr Toboggan
2 years ago

Looks like a total blast, if you guys decide to do one of these in NC I’m 100% in. Torch, you’re up there with James May in my list of “Car Dudes I’d Like To Grab a Beer With”.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
2 years ago

Well, next time David drags some hulk out of somebody’s property up here in the PNW, we’ll have to arrange something.

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 years ago

That TVR door knob! I would love to watch passengers try and figure that one out. Talk about an awkward first date drop off.

Mostly Harmless
Mostly Harmless
2 years ago

It’s even more amusing when you take it to a tyre shop. The technicians love to show their knowledge by pressing the button under the wing mirror to get in. (The one that turned up at the meet is an earlier model with the entry button on the rear wing). But then they can’t get out. They can’t even wind the window down to use the external button as the window switches are hidden. Shouting ‘twist the knob’ gets some strange glances!

Phantom Pedal Syndrome
Phantom Pedal Syndrome
2 years ago

Can’t get out. Guess I’ll have a smoke and wait. It’s what the designers intended.

Mostly Harmless
Mostly Harmless
2 years ago

Also – can’t believe Torch focussed on the door knob, when the owner has done a cool headlight conversion.

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
2 years ago

If you ever start handing out trophies, first place has to be shaped like a tail light. Happy things are coming together for you!

KITT222 aka The Vibe Guy aka Nick
KITT222 aka The Vibe Guy aka Nick
2 years ago

It was a great time! I have my companion post over on opposite-lock.com. Many thanks for organizing, and I’m glad you found my amber rear turn signal addition cool!

FWIW, it’s the stock lights with a Curt 2-to-3 wire converter that separates the signals. Hazards are still red, but I got my amber turns!

csimme01
csimme01
2 years ago

Thanks for putting that together.
It was great meeting You, David and there rest of those who made it. I hope you do it again soon. With a little more advanced warning I might even get a chance to bring a clean car!

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
2 years ago

If you can plan these a month or more out (I know) I’d bet a lot of us would road trip it. I wonder if a Midget would make it to Michigan? ????

M K
M K
2 years ago

Thanks David and Torch for putting this meet-up together. It was fantastic to put some names and faces together with the cars. Honestly one of the best “just car folks hanging out” shows I’ve been to. I really enjoyed it and thanks for giving the G35x the Autopian stamp of approval.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
2 years ago
Reply to  M K

I love what you did to your G35. Keeping the interior clean is a great touch, because why not pamper yourself a little after hitting the trail?

M K
M K
2 years ago

Keeping the inside clean is the only way I can get my wife to ride in it. The all-weather floor mats help a lot. They get power washed regularly.

JurassicComanche25
JurassicComanche25
2 years ago

I love this!!! So many cool cars

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
2 years ago

Okay, which of you Autopians has my Trans Am? MINE, I say! I’ve wanted one exactly like that since I was eight. I still do! I’d almost trade my 1970 Cougar XR7 convertible for it, straight across!

Almost. I guess it’s good I live so far away so I wouldn’t be tempted. Man, though, I do covet that TA.

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
2 years ago

See profile pic. I was five when The Movie came out. I have wanted one since you could buy one brand new off the showroom floor at Williams Pontiac in Dothan, Alabama.

If the owner is reading, two things: 1) Great car. 2) Aftermarket 17+” snowflake wheels are a thing. Ditch the Fast And Furious multi-spokes.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
2 years ago

I agree, SO much smaller in person.

I mean the Autozam. Torch, you may not be tall but you’re built like a coal miner.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
2 years ago

“..insipid reasons..”

Your right, it’s only 2400 miles, $600 in gas and 34 hours round trip. Sorry to let the team down there!

John Frank
John Frank
2 years ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

Hopefully you’ll manage not too let us down next time :/

John Frank
John Frank
2 years ago
Reply to  John Frank

Argh autocorrect… *to

Phuzz
Phuzz
2 years ago
Reply to  Cool Dave

It’s only an eleven hour flight for me, and it would only cost a thousand quid, practically a bargain!

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
2 years ago
Reply to  Phuzz

What about your car???

Mrbrown89
Mrbrown89
2 years ago

Thanks Jason for posting about my Beetle, the vibes around were great, amazing people I met last night and it’s nice to put faces on random comments you read online. Congratulations for the amazing work you are doing Jason and David. Can’t wait for the next meeting, maybe it’s time to bring one of my EVs

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
2 years ago

Thanks again for setting this up! The Roadmaster was coming in as I was leaving so I didn’t get to check it out, but they are amazing cars. Lots of great cars and a lot of fun talking to the people who showed up. Already looking forward to the next one.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 years ago

That was honestly one of the most fun car meets I’ve ever been to, so many cool and interesting cars to look at and I even got to dispose of a tailight! Now I need to invest in a dimple die so I can bring my glassless windshield prototype to the next one.

3WiperB
3WiperB
2 years ago

It was another great time in the Troy Wal-Mart parking lot. I was in awe of the selection of vehicles, and everyone I meet at these events is so much fun to talk to. You can just tell the time and passion they all have invested in their cars. It was great to meet you Torch. The enthusiasm I see in your writing comes through as such genuine glee and happiness in person. You are very generous calling my MGB well-sorted. I’ll just call it much more well-sorted than when I got it 2 years ago, but still with plenty of “personality”. I bought it to work on with my kids and try to teach them how to do things, and so far it’s mostly been just me, but I’ve gotten them to help at least a little bit. There’s also a hope that they will be interesting in learning to drive stick. At least 1 of the 3 wants to learn.

JohnTaurus
JohnTaurus
2 years ago

What an incredibly eclectic collection of cars! Loving it. Will check back for updates.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
2 years ago

Bitchin’ Chimaera.

StillPlaysWithCars
StillPlaysWithCars
2 years ago

I can’t believe a bonafide whale showed up, looked to be in decent shape too! Also you should note why the tailgate opens two ways. For those not in the know, there is a rear facing 3rd row seat. You can open it like a door when it’s being used for passengers or a tailgate when using it to haul cargo.

GM gets a lotta crap for crap cars, and while some of it is deserved, my 1992 Roadmaster wagon that has been abused to within an inch of its life still manages to start and run like a champ!

3WiperB
3WiperB
2 years ago

This one was a rare 3rd row delete car. It had space for a couple extra bodies under the floor instead.

StillPlaysWithCars
StillPlaysWithCars
2 years ago
Reply to  3WiperB

Ah yes, the ultra rare mob trim!

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
2 years ago

I seem to remember my ’04 Intrepid having those.

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
2 years ago
Reply to  Phil Layshio

I honestly liked that car, until it blew up it’s transmission. The most comfortable leather seats I’ve ever experienced, hands down.

D
D
2 years ago
Reply to  Phil Layshio

The second gen Talon and Eclipse twins had those as well, under a clear plastic cover, integrated into the headlight assembly.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
2 years ago

Dude – just do your writing in Word or another reliable text editor, and copy/paste it into your annoying software. Bonus: Spell and grammar check. I really wish more blog/newsletter writers would do this. So sick of bad spelling, missed homonyms (pet peeve: reins/reigns). Formattinf doesn’t match? Teach your text editor your CMS formatting. Done.

Dave Edgar
Dave Edgar
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Edgar

Grrr. Rookie error – hit post without proofreading – sorry!

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones
2 years ago
Reply to  Dave Edgar

I hear you can compose your comments in Word or another reliable text editor to avoid this.

Evo_CS
Evo_CS
2 years ago

Tangentially related, on my first car, an ’88 Pontiac Grand Am (no Quad 4, Iron Duke baby!) I had a low beam go out and took it upon myself to replace it as my first ever wrenching project on my car. Got the correct replacement sealed beam bulb and a few philips head screw drivers and set out to mistakenly disassemble the aiming mechanism instead of removing the bracket that held the bulb in place. Not a proud moment. I did get the bulb replaced, and then spent the rest of the evening trying to get my lights aimed into some semblance of functionality.

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
2 years ago

What? No slide show? Anyway hope that a good time was had by all.

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