Friday, June 28, 2013

The Rumble of Detroit Iron

Most of you already know I'm somewhat of a car nut.  Having grown up in the auto culture of the 50's, 60's and 70's, I know my way around Detroit iron and spent many years as a teenager with oil and grease under my fingernails.  One of the things that get me revved up is the sound of a performance V8 engine.  Loyalties to GM or Ford aside (and I've had both), I truly appreciate the rumble of a tuned exhaust, a specially ground camshaft....and lots of chrome!

Last weekend we found ourselves driving through downtown Centralia, Washington and I couldn't help noticing more than the typical number of hotrods cruising the main street.  A quick search on my phone's Google and we learned it was an annual Cruise-in.  That explained the chairs already staked out on the corners of the main intersection. 

Needless to say, we parked the car and strolled what somewhat became memory lane for me.  I was reminded of cruising Broadway in downtown Portland when I was in high school, when those of us with cool cars (or more likely we thought we had cool cars) would parade up Broadway and down 6th Avenue, many times before heading to one of the local drive-in burger joints.  If we were lucky we would score a parking space right on the street, and if we had anything to show off, up would go the hood.  Often it was the highlight of our weekend.

All eras were present, like this mid-70's Chevelle, early 50's Buick in the foreground, and the early 70's Pontiac Firebird in the street.

My father's first new car was a 1952 Chevrolet, but I daresay the lowered and souped-up version here is a far cry from his, and then there's the unpainted work in progress (apparently with most of the owner's time and money into the engine)...

What Cruise-in is complete without the quintessential late-50's Corvette?  I also think this is perhaps the most beautiful color combination.  (I seriously thought about cropping this to focus on the 'vette, but then one would miss the classic '63 Impala on the other side, and the fin of a 1960 Chevy station wagon in the foreground.  Car nuts like those kind of details.)

As the evening went on, the displays of horsepower became more common, to the delight of the crowds.  The smell of burning rubber, mingled with the aroma of a rich air-fuel mixture completed the audible experience of the evening.  Did I ever do this?  You betcha!

I daresay most young people don't know what "chopped, channeled and lowered" means...but this is a good example.  Note the dual quad carbs sitting on top of a supercharger...all chromed, of course.

Did I mention the noise?  This little custom pickup had straight exhaust pipes coming out from each of the 8 cylinders...and yes it was loud, as the bystander shows by plugging his ears.

There is a certain way one cruises...a posture that reflects an air of aplomb, that says "I'm cool, and so is my car".  I couldn't agree more.  I still like to roll down the windows and hang my arm out to feel the wind between my fingers...though the coolness of my daily car leaves a little to be desired.
Of course, photos don't give the viewer the full experience (and I apologize for the lack of quality in these images.  They were taken with my cell phone, since this happened to be one of those rare times I was caught without my trusty Nikon).  If you want the audible experience, you can click on the video below...also taken with my cell phone.   Remember my comment about the specially-ground cam?  Listen to the red Chevy in the last part of the video and you'll hear the 'brap-brap-brap' of a racing cam in the engine.