Wednesday, July 17, 2013

'57 Chevys

When I think of cars from the 1950's, one car stands out above all others, the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air.  This is not to say there aren't other great cars from that era--Cadillacs, Ford Thunderbirds, Oldsmobile Rockets, Buick Specials, Hemi Powered Mopars, just to name a few.  There are also brands which were in their decline or died out in the time period like Hudsons, Packards, and Studebakers.  And the 1955-56 Chevys are great as well.   

But to my eye, the '57 Chevy is THE car of that era.  The twin headlights and front bumper with its mass of chrome.  Rounded fenders and a shoulder line that flows towards the back, with a kink just as the tail fins start.  The fins themselves are tastefully restrained--they don't jut up or out and are not laden with chrome like some of the Chryslers or Cadillacs of that era.  The whole car is nicely proportioned and looks right, especially in two tone paint.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Boulevard Drive-In

There are portals in time scattered all across the country.  An abandoned gas station in New Mexico or part of the original nine foot wide alignment on Route 66.  Tail fins of a Buick Special poking out underneath an oily canvas tarp.  An original roadside diner serving malts and butterscotch milkshakes, playing Nat King Cole or Roy Orbison on the jukebox.  And my recent favorite, drive in theaters.       

First opened in the early 1950's, the Boulevard Drive-In has been a landmark on Merriam Road in Kansas City, KS for over 60 years.  It's survived a number of tough times, including the slow decline of the area and for drive in theaters in general.  Like many drive ins, part of its survival can be attributed to its reliance on swap & shop income.  But I think a lot of it comes from the quality of experience it offers, both in the digital audio and projection equipment, cleanliness, and great atmosphere.  

Last weekend the family saw Monsters University.  It was a perfect night.  The weather was warm but not thick with the normal July humidity.  We had the tailgate open on the Chevrolet, blankets and pillows spread out for the kids.  My wife and I sat in chairs with a cooler of drinks and watched the sun set behind the trees.  Except for the cars in the lot, it could have been 1955 instead of 2013, or any year in between.