I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, May 17, 2014

My dad would have loved this...

This morning the Prospector and I went downtown to the Mother Lode Cruise Car Show.
I don't really know a lot about the inner workings of these cars and I don't know a carburetor from an oil filter, but I know what I like on the outside of a car.
It was a beautiful morning. The heat of last week was gone and we were enjoying beautiful spring weather again. The first car that caught my eye was this one.
This is a 1947 Oldsmobile. Now tell me they didn't make awesome cars back then? We had a car very similar to this one around 1950, but I think it was a Pontiac. These cars were built to last... and style?... well look at those wheels, the heavy grills and headlights... and the spokes to let you know when you were too close to the curb. Our Pontiac was this color. It brought my sister home from the hospital in Oakland when she was born in 1952.
My dad was always so proud of his cars. The first thing he (Navy man that he was.) taught me when I was a child, besides making a bed, was how to wash a car. That paint job and all that chrome was shined with a chamois that we used to dry the car with, after we washed it. Do you remember a chamois? Pronounced "Shammy"? It was a piece of thin porous leather that absorbed water quickly and had absolutely no abrasive qualities. My dad always had a clean chamois to dry his car with. I can still see him wringing it out, over and over again, with the accumulated water from the wet car.

So, there were lots of cars that were embellished with stuffed animals like this one...
sitting in the sunny rear window with a view.
And, the bears fixing the engine and then kicking back with a Bud light .
Quite a few of the cars had lunch , from the drive-in diner, delivered. American flags seemed to be flying all over the place.
There were frog mechanics...
dice on the locks... Bet some of you young'ens didn't know what that knob was, did you?
 And, appropriately, road runners and coyote dusters.

Oh, the beautiful interiors...

 and wonderful upholstery.

But it's the cars themselves that make your heart stop.
Here are a few of my favorites...I love RED on older cars. We got a kick out of the sign in the window and the bullet holes in the door.

This early van/wagon was really nice, especially in this color. 

And...  I love this car below. The color is wonderful.
 It's perfect for this model... which is very similar to our 1938 Chevrolet Master Deluxe Sedan. I would have our Chevy painted this color. It's rich and looks good.

And there was the old, rundown truck with the souped up engine, owned by a local business in Pine Grove.

And the Chevy Corvair that was bought at Parker Robb in Walnut Creek in 1964 by a local school teacher.
 I lived very near Walnut Creek, CA. I grew up in Pleasant Hill. I remember Friday nights during High School, driving into Walnut Creek and doing what we called "cruising the creek". We would drive back and forth on N. Main St. and well... it was right out of American Graffiti... music and all. Or, we would go to the local Pleasant Hill Drive- In. Such good memories. My boyfriend's name was Johnny and we would bring food,  that we called "groceries", so we didn't have to pay the big prices for drive-in food. Murph' and his girlfriend would be with us. We had such good times.

This car is beautiful. "Rockin' Robin" was a popular song, originally recorded by Bobby Day in 1958.
He rocks in the tree tops all day long
Hoppin' and a-boppin' and singing his song
All the little birdies on Jaybird Street
Love to hear the robin go tweet tweet tweet

Rockin' robin, tweet tweet tweet
Rockin' robin' tweet tweetly tweet
Blow rockin' robin
'Cause we're really gonna rock tonight.

Oh yes, I can still hear the music
This "Rockin' Robin" was signed by Henry Winkler, the "Fonz". 

Then, there was a car like ours. This car was a year newer than our 1948 Chevy but it is very similar.
Only fixed up and really beautiful.
I wonder if we will ever fix up the car I called "the other woman". The Prospector is trying to sell her right now and I don't think his heart is in it. We will see what happens.
I accidentally did a "selfie" on the back of the rear view mirror of this Chevy. Can you see me on the right, holding the camera? Where's Waldo folks? I guess I could have waved, but I didn't even know I was there until I uploaded the photos.
As a photographer, I always watch for things like this. You can get some really interesting images with the reflections from windows, mirrors, water and chrome. But sometimes, when you forget, you get something like this. I needed to move to the right a little and angle the camera higher so only the buildings were in the photo. That guy in the red shirt stand out too much, but it's still an interesting reflection. Also, the guy who owned the car didn't rub out the chrome cleaner and there are are cloudy spots on the chrome. Should I have told him? Am I being a little OCD?
These are the only two cars that I didn't care for. This car's paint job is too distracting for its lines. I like green but, whoo hoo, this is too bright with the yellow. Just my humble opinion...

 This Packard is too chopped and all white with a little blue stripping. I think they should have called it Casper, the ghost.
 Well, we saw some beautiful cars and talked to some great "car people". The Prospector was prepared with photos and was willing to talk price. No one wanted to buy the Chevy, so we may keep it for a while. We have only had a few bites on the ad in the paper and two folks wanted us to give it to them... dirt cheap. We don't have to sell this lady. Maybe we will just keep her and start the slow process of restoration. 
Anyone want a job? It would be minimum wages and no benefits... except maybe some ice tea and cookies on a hot, summer day.
Whenever I go to a car show, I'm reminded of my Dad and his love of cars. I remember going to the Cow Palace, in south San Francisco, with him to see the big car shows. We would have so much fun. 
He could spot any car on the road and tell you what make and model it was. He treated his cars like they were something very special. It was his hobby and his great passion in life, besides his family. I can still see him out there on the driveway, lovingly washing, drying and waxing his car. We should all have something so special in our lives... something that we prize and take care of. It was a lesson learned, among many, from a man that I loved very much.


  1. Looks like a great day out. I thought perhaps you had chased off the "Other Woman", I haven't noticed you mentioning her lately. She's have some competition at this show! Oh dear, I didn't know that chamois were out of fashion, I still have and use one. I wonder what other folk replaced them with?

  2. Wowsa on these gorgeous cars !!
    My dear dad would have loved seeing them too if he were still around ~ sigh. Nostalgia .

  3. Charming BagladyMay 18, 2014 at 6:02 AM

    VERY COOL POST, with some really boss shorts!! You sure brought back memories for me. Especially about cruisin’. But sadly, by then we’d had our unfortunate split; your were cruisin’ Walnut Creek and I was cruisin’ Alameda. But we were both listening to the same music! You know my brain retains funny stuff, so I have to tell you that your car that you remember from 1950 was indeed green but it was not a Pontiac, it was a Buick. I specifically remember the VentiPorts on the sides (had to look up the name for them); they looked so cool. My gosh, I had forgotten about wire spokes. And that rope thingy attached to the back of the front seat; we had one of those in our ‘46 Ford. Do you happen to remember that big old thing with running boards that we sometimes played on, pretending it was a fire truck? Chamois were (are) an interesting natural material (leather) involving no technology except the tanning of the sheepskin and Pauline wonders what has replaced them----micro fiber. Seems we can’t do anything nowadays unless it’s hi-tech. Thanks for a great ride down memory lane! ~Dawn

  4. These old cars are fabulous. Thanks for sharing them with us. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  5. Awesome photos! One of these shows is going to happen near where I live. I'm for sure going...missed the last one.

  6. Thanks for sharing a wonderful step back in time, how I wish we could bring those days back (but with the internet for us) not only beautiful old cars, but great shots of the old buildings, days before the strip malls and big box stores.

  7. wow i love old cars...a show was parading down the freeway as we left my sons baseball game yesterday...it was amazing...i just sat there waiting to turn taking them all in...

  8. What wonderful photos of this car show! Perhaps some of these car owners should pay you to photograph their "women." Ha. Looking at these cars sure brings back memories of cruisin' Main, going to a drive-in for a burger and soda pop and a movie. I can hear the music too!


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