Mid March means it is time for the Piston Powered Show at the IX Center in Cleveland. As the name indicates this show features all things with a piston: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks, an Airplane, Tanks, Snowmobiles, and even a Steam Shovel – plus a few things without pistons.
Most of the cars are ‘by invitation’, which means they are the best of the best. To make it to be one of the best in a custom car show you must have good graphics – and this show has that. It also has a great collection of people who have as much character as the vehicles – all filling the million square foot (93,000 square meters) building.
As you enter the vast hall you are immediately greeted with some really nice restorations.
As noted previously, many had customized paint jobs including this mid 1960s Chevy El Camino hood.
A number incorporated famous graphics, like Speedy Gonzalez.
This customized Willy’s sedan had a matching mannequin.
The participants came from numerous states in a 500 mile radius of Cleveland, including this great paint job from Kentucky.
For some the audience made a good match for the car.
A Zombie car – because why not.
The Zombie car’s door art.
Most of the motorcycles were customized Harley’s, many containing skulls.
Some craftsmen were displaying their skills – he was cutting leather.
This car was a repeat from a couple of years ago that was my posting’s feature photo – still one of the very best custom designs I have ever seen.
An aptly named 1957 Chevy.
A group of local technical high schools were having a competition to tear down and rebuild an engine in less than 30 minutes. Not sure why these guys were wearing helmets though.
While most of the custom bikes were Harley’s this great sport bike paint job features a customization of the ‘Guardians of Transportation’ sculptures on a large Cleveland bridge. Ironically I was wearing my ‘Dia de la Muertos (Day of the Dead)’ T shirt that featured the same sculpture in a skeleton look, so I fit in with the theme on all the bikes.
There was a classic wooden boat display as well. The boats themselves are works of art!
As is this sweet 1948 Buick Convertible.
Even a plain old 1960s Ford Station Wagon can be made to look great.
There were a couple of internet radio stations present – this one is a community station that, among other things, featuring racing.
I am not positive what it is, but I am certain it is NOT a Prius.
Mixing classic art and hot rods.
Many had names.
Most had pistons, but not this turbine jet car.
Some cars like the ‘rat rod’ rusty, beat up look – some like the pristine restoration. This Paddy Wagon was somewhere in between, but still cool.
Also featured were a number of artists showing how they make the great graphics we saw on all the vehicles.
All obviously have very steady hands.
The detail is amazing.
His shirt says it all.
It is amazing on the metal how little paint it took to go a long ways.
This guy had great pedal cars.
Not sure how a bowling pin got into a car show – but hey it is Cleveland.
Ready for St Patricks Day.
The emcee, and auctioneer, had character. She was auctioning off the finished pieces for charity.
Once again the Piston Powered Show was a great way to spend a day inside checking out a great collection of vehicles, people and art.
Cleveland has always had a large population of people from throughout eastern Europe, including Slovakia. As a result there are a number of festivals coming from those regions.
For this cold Saturday we went to check out Kurentovanje’ – which is a Slovenian festival to chase away winter. Held at the Slovenian National Home on the east side of Cleveland, the hall was full of activities.
The band was playing polkas. They were very talented, and the audience appreciated it.
Numerous ladies had recently made headdresses
The highlight of the day is the parade. I have found for the best photos it is imperative to go to the staging area as they gather.
I am not really sure about someone sitting on his ‘throne’ with a shield, skull staff and motorcycle helmet, but it was just the beginning of the strangeness (and fun).
This pleasant young lady was soon to become the devil.
There were a number of groups dressed in historic ethnic attire.
The Krampus crowd came back from Christmas.
Another band was warming up, or just trying to stay warm.
The Polish apples?
Finally the parade started…. Slovenian flags were everywhere.
The parade featured all the ethnic groups, as well as the local high school drum and dance team.
The Kurent wranglers were keeping them all in line.
The Kurentovanje Festival and Parade was yet another great celebration. Hopefully they do indeed scare winter away soon.
Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.
During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.
In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.
Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.
His photographs were used for many album covers.
Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.
The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.
All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.
In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.
This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.
Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.
Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.
A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.
Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.
As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.
Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.
As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.
Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.
What do you get when you take America’s third largest metro population combined with the largest convention center in the country – the largest new car show!
With over 1000 cars and trucks scattered over two of the halls, each auto maker had room to show their standard cars (and trucks) and some special ones, like this Chicago Bears football team truck.
Alfa Romeo brought an F1 car.
To be honest most new cars are boring, and all look alike, so for this show I emphasized on the cars and people, including the ‘Product Specialists’.
Fortunately the auto shows have moved away from the ‘booth babe’ concept and the presenters actually know what they are talking about.
I have found that the larger shows like here and Detroit have a lot of extra features, like this engine display. There were over 10 different engine displays like this scattered throughout the hall.
Cadillac took an interesting approach and displayed this mint 1959 next to current cars. The ’59 showed them all up, as far more people surrounded this car than all the new ones in their display put together.
Like this boring box on wheels. Good luck to the Product Specialist to bring something exciting about this car.
All car shows have people who are constantly wiping finger prints off the cars. Here they all were dressed in these cool overalls like a New Car Show Pit Crew.
Even Porsche has mostly boring SUVs and sedans – but at least the 911 lives on!
Somehow 1974 got mixed in with 2019.
Land Rover had a huge area in the back where they showed the joys of all wheel drive. Jeep and Dodge Trucks had similar setups but they pale in comparison to this.
Not sure exactly what they were seeing but they were getting into it.
I believe this group was shopping cars for their grandparents, because I can’t imagine anyone of this age would have any interest in the ultra safe, boxy Volvo.
Another Product Specialist excited to tell us about their vehicle. All the presenters were very professional and could talk for hours (well minutes) about their car.
There were a few concept cars present, but this one from Lexus looks close to production.
Does this car have enough room in the rear seat for my friend?
Locked? How can I get in?
Hit the starter and lets get out of here – even if you can’t see over the steering wheel.
Thank a Robot for staying off the display and automating most of the production jobs. Thanks Robots!
I will take the dirt bikes and leave the Jeep.
Easily the most passionate presenter was for the Dodge Hellcat – 800 HP of smoke and noise.
The Toyota Impossible – like it will be impossible for this to sell in America.
Where are we – oh yeah – Chicago.
It was Latino Day at the Car Show – even Telemundo Chicago had their new truck (or camión de noticias). Especially cool was the singer doing Sinatra in Spanish.
Did you ever wonder why the car next to you has to blast their music so loud you can hear it through their closed windows and yours. Well they have taken care of that – the speakers are on the outside!
Yes it really is a full size Chevy Silverado made entirely out of Legos.
Enough of this reality – lets go virtual and get out of here.
Our repeat weekend continued with a visit to a botanical gardens, this time back in Columbus.
They had some orchids, but nothing close to the quantity and quality of the Cleveland show. Mostly it was a good place to walk around in nice warmth and check out plants and flower in the dead of winter.
OK so this is not a flower or plant – it is an exhibit called Waning Light. The website for Franklin Park states ” local artist Dana Lynn Harper strings together thousands of laminated dichroic film discs and suspends them from the ceiling, creating a cloud of iridescent petals floating and bending through the space. Harper manipulates material, size, color and light to build a dreamlike and otherworldly installation”.
It makes for a great look and atmosphere, with the light of each disc changing as you move around them.
A random rose.
More ‘not a plant’ – Part of the Chihuly Display.
There were a number of ‘upside down’ planters.
Back to our original program – orchids.
Eventually we ran out of orchids and continued through the desert and rain forest sections.
Our couple hours were up so it is back into reality – cold and snow.