Another whirlwind weekend is behind and another looms on the horizon. The Martin Swanty Chyrsler Summer Block Party on Saturday evening was an automotive carnival with a display of vehicles that ran the gamut from a painstakingly restored 1908 Sears and 1924 Dodge to street rods, muscle cars, and oddities such as an Ultra Coach and Zimmer.

A 1908 Sears and Model T speedster, owned by
Steve Greeley, were among the oldest vehicles

As if the Sears wasn’t unusual enough there was a very rare Willys Americar also on display. In general I try and maintain a “it is your car” attitude toward street rods but in consideration of the scarcity of this automobile it seemed a shame to have modified it.
As is usually the case at events such as this, I find a few vehicles that really grab my attention and that leave me wondering how much cash would need to change hands before taking to the road behind the wheel. As I generally gravitate toward trucks topping the list at this show was a stunning 1955 Ford F100.
Only the oddly garish interior was a detraction. The original V8 and 3 speed with overdrive is a near perfect blend of the old and the modern that provides for highway speeds as well as economy.
Number two would have to be the 1924 Dodge. Attention to detail was found everywhere and the apparent mechanical condition provided flights of fancy for the imagination as in my minds eye I could see Oatman Road unfolding through the windshield.

1955 Ford F100

A bit more practical but even more exciting was a rough around the edges, all original 1933 Dodge coupe. With little imagination I picture us taking to the road and rolling east on Route 66 with this gem.
At one end of the lot there was a burn out contest, something that draws huge crowds even though understanding the fascination with it is beyond my scope of comprehension, and at the other a live band. In between were vendors representing Napa, Rednecks Bar-B-Que, Farmers Insurance, KJJJ radio, and a pool with lifeguard, courtesy of Prince Pools, for the kids. There were also displays of the Kia Soul, Chrysler 300, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
There was dancing and displays of amazing custom cars, raffles and a seething tide of humanity that presented the illusion that the population of Kingman had turned out for the event. The party lasted until midnight.

This Saturday evening is the August edition of Chillin on Beale Street with the theme being topless fun on Route 66, a salute to the convertible. The first 200 topless vehicles (t-tops, convertibles, or no top at all) will receive a special commemorative dash magnet.

As the event is open to anything with wheels this event also has the potential for bringing out a wildly diverse representation of the automobile industry. Last month standouts included a 1948 Indian, a Hudson pick up truck, a Hudson Hornet, a 1946 Ford bus, a Henry J, and a pair of Nash Metros.
For me the whirlwind of activity included research and writing text for the Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas, and discussions pertaining to changes with Cars & Parts magazine with editor Brad Bowling. Then there is the promotional work with promise of reward through book sales that never seems to end.
First it is Greetings from Route 66, a compilation for which I wrote the chapter introductions. With a scheduled date for release of early October the promotional planning for the kick off is in high gear.
Looming on the horizon is the final edit and cover design for Ghost Towns of Route 66 scheduled for release in May of 2011, just in time for the Route 66 festival in Amarillo. The initial cover design featuring a scene in Glenrio, Texas captured by Kerrick James, is artistic and alluring but seems to miss the mark in regards to capturing the essence, the spirit of the work.

What do you think? Your ideas and input on this would be most appreciated.