Jump back, what’s that sound? Here she comes, full blast’n top down.

Sheet metal. Pistons. Crankshafts. Valves. Shocks. Snarling exhaust notes. The smell of gasoline and oil. The squeal of tires. Classic, historic cars, as far as the eye can see. Acres of beautiful vehicles, all glimmering and newly cleaned. Thursday after work, I had driven to Patriot Place, the shopping plaza that surrounds the Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, to run an errand at the arts and crafts store AC Moore. As I pulled into the parking lot, I realized there was a mid-70’s Chevrolet Corvette in front of me. Glancing in my rear view mirror, I saw an early 70’s Ford Torino. I had, it seemed, stumbled into a mid-week classic car show!

The Bass Pro Shops at Patriot Place sponsors a free classic car show every other Thursday from April to November. Mass Cruisers is a local auto club that runs the show, attracting hundreds of vehicles from New England. It has become an extremely popular event. One Thursday last August, the show had over 2,000 cars and motorcycles participate, a one-day record. “AC Moore can wait,” I muttered to myself, as I parked my car and raced over to the show.

Map of Massachusetts with a pin in 1 Patriot Place
My second journey to Patriot Place, after my trip to the Patriots Hall of Fame a few months ago. Side note: for whatever reason, there are a lot more AC Moore stores in New Jersey than in Massachusetts. I had to drive over 35 miles to get to this one today. Back in NJ, I have two within 20 minutes of where I lived. Make of that what you will.
Panorama of classic car show.
Classic cars as far as the eye could see. If you look closely, you can see Gillette Stadium in the distance on the right.
1958 red Chevrolet Corvette convertible.
One of many first-generation Chevrolet Corvettes. This is a 1958 convertible.
1959 yellow Chevrolet Convertible.
And this ’59 Corvette was nearby as well.
1966 Chevrolet Corvette
This 1966 Chevrolet Corvette was beautifully restored.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette rear view.
This Corvette is instantly recognizable as a 1963: the split-rear window was only offered that year.
2nd generation Chevrolet Corvette.
Something evil lurks beneath this second-generation Corvette…
Interior of second generation Chevrolet Corvette.
…look at the center console… this car is an automatic! The horrors of an automatic Corvette! Although the interior is gorgeous.
1956 red Ford Thunderbird.
It wasn’t all Corvettes, though. This 1956 Ford Thunderbird was in beautiful shape. The owner said he’d had it for about a year and a half, and drove it every week, weather permitting.
Blue E-Type Jaguar
The E-Type Jaguar. Produced from 1961-1975, this is one of the most iconic British sports cars of all time.
Four Austin Healey 3000 cars.
The British Invasion: four Austin-Healey 3000s, all together.
Porsche 356.
The Porsche 356. Built from the late 1940s through the mid 1960’s, this car’s design would later inspire the world-famous Porsche 911.
1950s coupe, in pink and white.
This very interesting two-door convertible from the 1950s caught my eye, but I forgot to note the name. I will leave it to my readers to let me know which model this is.
1970s Ford Thunderbird.
Just checking to see if my parents are still paying attention. They both refer to their 1978 Ford Thunderbird as the worst car they ever owned. Hopefully, this picture won’t give them nightmares. Unlike their Thunderbird, though, this one actually runs.
1974 Ford Pinto in green.
Now, how many car shows feature a 1974 Ford Pinto? Despite their awful reputation, the car has a special place in my heart: I learned to drive on my grandmother’s 1978 Pinto. Gotta love this shade of green, too.
Chevrolet Corvair
The car that brought consumer advocate Ralph Nader to fame: the Chevrolet Corvair. The engine sat behind the rear wheels. The engine location, coupled with poor suspension design, led to a high number of accidents, as the car would be unstable at speed. Nader termed it the “One Car Accident.” My grandmother owned one (she also owned the above-mentioned Pinto, which should tell you that she feared nothing), and swore it was the best car for snow driving that she ever owned.
Chevrolet Corvair engine.
The Corvair engine basically sits in the trunk of the car. Note the spare tire placement.
Mid-1970s Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
A mid-70s Chevrolet Monte Carlo. My uncle owned a few of these, and still swears they were some of the best cars he ever had.
Buick Grand National
Icon of 80’s performance enthusiasts everywhere: the Buick Grand National.
Datsun 240Z
A Datsun 240Z.
Black Mazda RX7.
This Mazda RX-7 is like something out of “The Fast and the Furious.”
Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
Continuing our movie theme, this Pontiac Firebird Trans Am looks like it rolled right off the set of “Smokey and the Bandit.”
1994 Acura NSX in black.
This stunningly beautiful 1994 Acura NSX features a beastly supercharged engine. It doesn’t sit in a garage, however. The owner drives it every day: it has over 120,000 miles on it!
2004 Acura TL.
Check out the wheels on this 2004 Acura TL. It’s like something from “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Red Ferrari convertible.
When I was a kid, there was a video game in the arcades called SEGA: Outrun. You drove a red Ferrari convertible through different locations around the country, accompanied by a (computerized) blonde female companion. I dubbed this car the Ferrari Outrun.
1930s school buses.
A pair of school buses from the 1930s were present.
Interior of 1932 School Bus.
Driver’s seat from one of the school buses. Check out the fire axe installed on the door.
Custom hot rod truck.
There were some interesting custom vehicles, including this “Jesse James Outlaw Truck.”
Lowered 9th generation Honda Accord.
A 9th generation Honda Accord coupe that’s been “slammed” (its suspension has been lowered). I guess if that’s your thing, that’s cool. Would I do that to DH? Never.

As I was walking through the parking lot, a car drove by and I did a double-take. The Trabant that I had seen during my trip to Concord battlefield in April drove right past me! I lost track of it for a while, and spent several minutes canvassing the parking lot, unable to find it. Seeing me walking back and forth, a couple of guys asked me what I was looking for, and so I described the car to them, and they, complete strangers, spread out to help me search for it. One of them yelled to me that he found it, and then connected me to the owner. Nice guys!

I was unsure what the owner would think of some random person stalking his car in the parking lot and approaching him, but Roger could not have been nicer! It turns out that he works in Concord and had stopped by the battlefield on the day that I had visited. He was impressed that I recognized the Trabant, and I had shared with him that after college I had taken several trips to Central Europe to visit my friend Jason, who had gone to graduate school in Budapest. Hungarian roads still had a large number of Trabants at the time, and I had become interested in the quirky little vehicle. He and I spoke for a half-hour. He informed me that his Trabant (a Trabant 601 S Deluxe) is one of only 200 in this country. He imported it from Germany and drives it almost every day. It is a fairly simple car and is easy for even an inexperienced mechanic to maintain. He opened the car and let me sit inside while we discussed his vehicle.

1989 Trabant estate.
The Trabant! I was thrilled to have a chance to see it up close.
Interior of the Trabant.
The all-original interior of the Trabant. If you look at the floor, you see the brake and clutch pedals. The accelerator is tucked up under the dash and is hard to see, but it is to the right of the brakes- it looks like a piano pedal.
Trabant engine.
The engine bay of the Trabant. The small engine is barely visible beneath the ductwork. The gas and oil tank sits above the engine. As I described previously, gas and oil are mixed together, as a 2-stroke engine is lubricated by the fuel mixture. There is no separate oil system.
2012 Honda Accord in front of Gillette Stadium.
Afterward, DH and I had a 1-car auto show in front of nearby Gillette Stadium.
Support our Troops magnet ribbon.
Proceeds from the raffle and concessions for each event are donated to different charities. Tonight’s event supported several charities for US military veterans.

The Mass Cruiser Auto Show was a lot of fun, and an unexpected adventure in the middle of the work week. I will definitely go back and check out this very cool event in the future. In fact, one of the stewards had told me to feel free to enter my car into the show, just for fun. I protested that my 2012 Honda Accord is hardly rare or an antique, but he countered that the show is very low-key and relaxed, and that I would be welcome. Maybe I will… after taking the day off to wash, wax, polish, and detail my car first, so it’s not covered in pollen and dirt like today!

Thanks for coming along on another Voyage of DH!

‘Til next time.

 

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “Jump back, what’s that sound? Here she comes, full blast’n top down.

  1. A simply awesome collection of cars, all in one place! So I want to know more about your parents’ ownership history with that ’78 Thunderbird! Haha. Love the ’63 split-window Corvette you spotted.

    Like

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