Featured photo for Old Town Car Show, Fort Collins

Old Town Car Show, Fort Collins

There is one weekend each year when downtown Fort Collins turns into a virtual movie set for American Graffiti—the second Saturday of June when the Old Town Car Show takes place. Notwithstanding the economic recession and recent Seattle-like weather, hundreds of glimmering cars and trucks from decades past stood proud with chrome and lacquer seemingly a foot deep, eager to be admired and, in one or two cases where permissible, touched.

As if oblivious to the Big Three’s (particularly Chrysler and GM’s) current financial and sales crises, the event featured almost exclusively cars from Motown and may as well been a tribute to Detroit’s finer years. Of particular interest to me was the first generation Chevrolet Nova (or Chevy II or Chevy 400 in some Latin American markets where “no va” implied “no go”) because a dear friend recently claimed it as her dream car, having fond memories of owning one in high school. Then I went on a rather futile search for European iron, discovering only a 70s Fiat Spider, a 1973 MGB roadster, and a cute 50s Hillman three-door wagon.

This year (after the Run for a Child’s Sake 5k) I managed to drag my friend Raquel along and it’s good there were lots of gorgeous machines around to keep her interested enough to not mind my endless spouting of automotive trivia and anecdotes. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask her what was her favorite car of the show. I think mine was a 60s Mustang fastback but that should not be a surprise given how much I’ve become enamored with America’s pony car since doing the New England driving tour last year. Another fave was a 50s Ford Thunderbird convertible much like the one Suzanne Somers drove during a 30-second cameo in American Graffiti.

Turquoise hot rod... a Chevy, I think.
Cool purple flames.
"Please touch and enjoy my 1959 356A Porsche."  Raquel was happy to oblige.
Another Chevy Nova... ths one modded a bit.
A Plymouth Fury.  Raquel's dad has one of these but a later model.
A family of bears, hooray!
Hot rod with cool LED tail lights.
Bud light shifter knob.  Not sure if this is good thing to have if pulled over by the police.
The gauges on this dashboard were like jewelry.
The new 2010 Camaro.
A super red '66 Mustang convertible.
A Hillman three-door wagon.  My dad owned a Hillman in Canada, but not sure if it was like this one.
A 1973 MGB.
Shelby Cobra replica.
A new scooter that was basically a knockoff of the Honda Super Cub.
A Chrysler 300C with numerous flat-panel TVs inside the car and in the trunk.
A hot rod project that was for sale and driveable.
Drag race car with rocket engine.
Felix Wong in front of a '63 Chevy Nova (a.k.a. Chevy II).  He took this photo for a friend who bought one of these in high school for $200 and had the coolest car on campus.
Side view of the Chevy Nova.
A '61 Corvette.
The interior of a Chevy Nova convertible.  "Don't touch unless you are NUDE" proclaimed the sign.
Three-door wagon from the 50s with absolutely zero ground clearance.
Pin-ups as the interior side panels.
The only Italian car at the car show: a Fiat Spider.  I remember seeing (and admiring) these a lot growing up in the 80s.