Filed under: Event Coverage
Norm and I pulled into Baltimore late on Friday evening. Our trip through the ghetto had us on edge, but we managed to dodge the “12:00 Boys“ and make it to the host hotel in one piece. Our first taste of things to come was the parking garage. As we rolled up to floor 8, we were met with Rodder’s Journal cover car after Rodder’s Journal feature car. Put simply, the top two floors of the host hotel parking garage was quite possibly the highest quality 40 car field ever assembled.
I hate to bring up religion here, but it was as if Jesus himself reached down through the heavens and sprinkled the lot with hot rods made by angels. And Norm and I rolled through like Devils with massive exhaust leaks, mismatched wheels, creaks and rattles, and all sorts of other imperfections that seemed to pollute what was once a pristine scene of hot rod heaven. But we were tired and hungry… and be damned or not, neither of us was going to let a little theology get in the way of parking our Rivieras in the first spots we found.
The deed sinfully done, we headed out to meet our people at a local diner for some crab cakes and other unrecognizable sea food – all of it incredibly tasty. We then piled into Stevo’s Merc, wound through the various and narrow brick laden streets of downtown Baltimore, and found ourselves at some sort of pier. Earlier in the evening, the waterfront was lined with the hot rods that blessed the before mentioned parking garage. All that was left when we arrived was a few stragglers and those truly dedicated to having a good time. We joined in and learned all about what we had missed earlier in the day. Namely, a cruise through the country with all sorts of enviable vistas. Cold beer made it easier to swallow, so we drank a bunch of it.
The next morning, we did what Texans are now famous for doing – we farted around and did much of nothing until around noon or so. By then, we all felt like we had better get to the show before we faced a lynching of some sort (previous experiences and all). So, we headed for the Vintage Speed & Custom Revival at the historic Pimlico Race Course. The venue was charming and not at all “stuffed” like one might imagine. Instead, it had kind of an old world grandness to it with lots of open space and green grass.
Much of that space, of course, was filled with cars and people. I heard the turnout was over 500, but I felt like I was wondering through closer to 300 cars – which is a good thing as I’m a small car show kind of guy.
The vibe was good as well and I’m not all together sure that I have experienced anything like it. First and foremost, the average quality of the cars in attendance was incredibly high. I’ve always felt like a “1 in 10 stop rate” was pretty good for a car show. Meaning, you stop and look at about one out of every ten cars you pass by. The Revival featured a stop rate closer to 1 in 3 or maybe even 1 in 2. Sensory over load was in full effect… I literally could have spent days browsing and studying cars that before this afternoon, I had only seen in photographs or heard about through legend.
Secondly, the crowd was a little older than what I am typically used to. It takes money and time to build the cars that graced that race track and it was obvious that many of these gentlemen used a lot of both. This aggregate maturity created a really laid back atmosphere – something that suits me pretty well.
Come to think of it, Norm and I only broke one rule/law the whole day which has got to be some kind of a record for the both of us. But in all fairness, you can’t expect to surround a couple of hoods like Norm and myself with a race track and one of us not at least test the surface. Norm won by a hair. And I’m real sorry about all that Mr. Coonan.
In any regard, at some point it hit me:
“Holy shit. This is a FIRST YEAR car show – the best first year car show I’ve ever been to. What is to come of all this?”
Only the heavens know for sure. But I can tell ya one thing for certain – if the man upstairs decides to sprinkle a little bit of the heavens down on Baltimore again next year, there will be at least one sinner in attendance.
Editor’s Note: You are gonna have to excuse my photography. I realize that the only person that truly enjoys “artsy” photography is the guy that actually took the shot and while I normally don’t like to make you guys sit through my slideshows, I had extenuating circumstances to deal with. See, I have this Leica lens that was made in 1965 and well… for obvious reasons, I couldn’t take that lens off my camera all day. So I set up for black and white and just shot whatever the hell I wanted regardless of whether or not it would make “good coverage.”
For the best coverage of the show that I’ve seen, check out Tom Davison’s thread.
Special Thanks To:
1. Steve Coonan took care of us like we were big shots even though he knows damn well that we aren’t. That meant a lot. Seriously.
2. Curt Iseli is much younger than I figured. In fact, I bet I got a few years on him. His youthful passion paid off though… We could all tell that Curt played a huge part in putting this whole scene together and I certainly don’t think it went unappreciated by anybody. Thank you sir. For everything.
3. Chasity Smith… You know when there is one girl amongst a bunch of men and she gets labeled with some kind of bullshit tag like, “house mom.” That ain’t Chasity. She’s just a car girl… that does a whole lot behind the scenes to hold a bunch of stuff together. Nicely done home girl…
So, what’s next? How about a 1600 mile drive home in two cars that, at this point, seem like they are just barely holding themselves together. Tune in next time fellas.