Does it get better than this? What a delightful way to end a week – perfect temperatures (eighty degrees) the slightest of breezes, music, belly dancers, old friends, and lots of vintage iron in various configurations. It was another episode of Chillin’ on Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona.
Held from April until October, on the third Saturday of each month, this event is in its second year and seems to be on the fast track for becoming a summer institution in the Kingman area. Hosted by the Kingman Downtown Merchants Association and the Kingman Route 66 Association, and sponsored by NAPA, Fastrax, and Monica Busch Investments this month, the turn out was the best yet with a wide array of vehicles lining and crusing Beale Street as well as Route 66 one block south. The event is centered on family and community with games for the kids, a walking poker run, and, of course, cruising. Surprises are also a part of the fun as every month there is something new.In May it was gunfighters reenacting legendary western shootouts. This month there were belly dancers. For July …
There is no charge and anything with wheels is welcome to cruise or park for awhile. The sidewalks are lined with coolers and lawn chairs as folks gather to watch the cars come and go, to visit, and to listen to the music as the evening shadows lengthen and the sun sinks behind the buttes and mesas that stand as silent sentinels on the western horizon.
Last evening a number of vehicles caught my eye, some because of their rarity and others for being so absolutely bizarre it was impossible not to stare. However, even amongst this garish parade of automotive history and creative ingenuity there were two true standouts – a beautiful 1962 Chrysler 300 and a Hudson with twin “H” power. The Hudson has seen the slightest of modifications, under dash instruments and such and I am not sure what was under the hood, but overall the car appeared to be in excellent condition right down to the hubcaps. This particular series of Hudson was recently made famous as “Doc” in the animated movie Cars. When new these cars were famous for something else, unequaled prowess on the track. In fact some of the records established by these cars stood until the 1980s!
The Chrysler was stunning. When new the 300 models were an amazing blend of cutting edge technology, blistering performance, and absolute luxury. They are also as scarce as hens teeth so to see one this nice is a very rare treat. Every aspect of these fine automobiles are unique and as a result they are not easily mistaken. One of my favorite design features on the 1962 Chrysler is the dash, often derisively referred to as the gumball machine. There are reasons for the reference but I happen to really enjoy it.
Then there were those vehicles that leave you scratching your head. I know the line between genius and madness is a thin one but there were a few vehicles on display last evening that exemplified just how thin that line really is. As noted this event is open to any and all vehicles. The organizers really mean that and the crowds, as well as participants, seem to expect it.
So, it is almost a guarantee you will see things at Chillin’ on Beale Street that you will see no where else on earth including customized bicycles, experimental models, and strange home made contrivances that defy description. As an example …Even though there were a few representatives from Harley Davidson and Honda, motorcycles were conspicuously absent last evening. Most of those that were on display were, well, different.
I think that in the very near future you will be hearing a great deal about Chillin’ on Beale Street in Kingman, Arizona. Large sponsors are seeing the advertising potential of being associated with the event. Next will follow vendors and organized club participation.
So, if your motoring west or east on the double six and find yourself in the Kingman area on the third Saturday of the month you might stick around for an evening of fun at Chillin’ on Beale Street. And if your car club is looking for an excuse to cruise Route 66 this event just might be the ticket.