Cleveland – March 2019 – People, Art & Machines

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 – March 2019 – Check Out Those Wheels

Since we were in Cleveland, and the car show was going on – well everyone has their addiction. For this show the focus is on the actuals wheels.

I would assume some car today would come with hubcaps, but I didn’t see any.

We did check out complete cars, including this bright orange Camaro.







What’s a car show without ‘Product Specialists’. This guy was so still I thought at first he was part of the sign. Once again each car company had their Product Specialists dressed the same.







The amazing Lego Chevrolet Pickup made it’s way over from Chicago. Either they are glued together or those are some amazing Lego’s to stay together on the Indiana Toll Road.







While the really cool Camaro had all black wheels that didn’t make a statement this simple Chevy SUV had really stylish wheels.







Most high performance cars, like this Dodge Challenger, have their brake calipers in red to show off how large they are. I can see the all black wheels here.






Again – a high performance car with all black wheels. The Alfa Romeo Gulia.





A Nissan Altima near production prototype has fairly basic, but nice looking wheels.





Another excited Product Specialist. Although to be fair this has to be a tough job standing their all day as thousands of people come by asking questions. I love her look of ‘Scotty Beam Me Up’.





The Honda electric cars have these quasi fender skirts.





While this Toyota has also gone with the geometric styling approach.





Also at the show this year were a few movie cars, including the Scooby wagon and the Dumb and Dumber van.







A Product Specialist doing her thing.





If you surmised this is a sports car with the massive brake calipers, you would be correct – a Ford Mustang.





The Cleveland Browns have their first winning season in forever with a rookie quarterback named Baker Mayfield and they are painting cars for him.

To be fair a main street through the eastern suburbs is (and has always been) Mayfield Road.

Being the Browns I will bet they crash and burn this year, going back to their familiar last place 🙂





This Product Specialist is extolling the virtues of her car – but by the looks of the people in the background they aren’t buying what she is selling.







The dad – how cool is this. The mom – where does the car seat go?





I have been thinking what I will do when I retire, and really like cars. Maybe go into a auto detailing business….nah I will keep my day job.





I have found the next ride! And the wheels aren’t all black.









Chicago – February 2019 – The Cars and People of America’s Largest New Car Show

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!

Oh boy.





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.







Cleveland – February 2019 – Radwood

There is a group of auto enthusiasts who celebrate the 1980s and 90s automotive style couple with the overall feel of the time. They encourage period correct dress to go along with the cars.

Normally held outdoors with large audience participation I read online that the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum was holding an exhibit.





The small display of about a dozen cars did feature some fashion.





Some of it the classic (some would say tacky) look straight from Miami Vice.





It is not their goal to have the best, or most expensive cars presented, just ones that are representative of the era.

Overall the exhibit was disappointing because it lacked that audience participation. Fortunately there is more to see at the Crawford.





Most of the museum celebrates the long history of auto making in Cleveland and northern Ohio. One of the longest in business was White Motors who started building cars and trucks in 1900.





In addition to the cars and planes there are numerous large banners celebrating historic Cleveland events including the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition.








For many years Cleveland held the national air races. The exhibit includes a couple of the planes.





The lower level featured more automobiles with historic significance..













We finished by checking out this sweet Cleveland motorcycle







Hickory Corners, Michigan – September 2018 – Gilmore Car Museum

I have had the opportunity to visit most of America’s great transportation museums. Having that background I can state that in my opinion the Gilmore Car Museum is the best in the country.

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I had read about the Gilmore for some time now, and had always looked forward to going. With the long Labor Day weekend and the emphasis on cars, now was the time.

When we arrived one of the staff said ‘see you in 4 hours’. He was wrong, we spent 4 1/2 hours 🙂

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Gilmore is more than just a single building with some cars. It is a campus of buildings and barns, each featuring a genre of cars or car companies.

Each building is immaculate, clean and well light with great presentations. They also take pride in that there aren’t barriers for most cars, just notes to remind you not to touch. This makes photography much easier.

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Among the buildings is a 1940s diner that was moved from Connecticut. It serves as the restaurant for the museum. We had a basic lunch there, with great milkshakes and friendly staff.

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An example of one of the barns. This one was moved from a nearby farm, with 2 levels for cars.

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A complete 1930s Shell Station.

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The pumps represent different eras.

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The motorcycle building.

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Inside are a number of bikes from the early 1900s to current day.

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A vintage Cleveland and 1919 Johnson.

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As the sign notes – a 1928 Indian. Check out that rear seat.

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Outside near one of the storage barns is an un-restored London double decker bus.

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Another building – another collection. This one has a peddle car collection.

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As with the motorcycles, the collection was vast and pristine.

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Even some peddle airplanes – how cool.

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In the 1960s Mr Gilmore built a replica of the train depot for the little town of Hickory Corners. Inside is a hood ornament display.

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I am always enthralled by the old hood ornaments.

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Almost too nice for the hood of a car.

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At the Gilmore they have over 1300 of them.

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While the photography was tricky with the display cases and the light and shadows, many came out very nice.

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Also called mascots, it was a common occurrence in the 1930s to personalize your car with a different ornament.

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Our next building was called ‘The Classics’. Higher end cars from the 1930s.

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A Cadillac for a movie star.

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The large two level barn shown earlier from the outside had 1950s cars on the lower level.

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And the impressive upper level had earlier models.

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Hudson Motor Car Company made automobiles from 1909 through 1954. This one is from the 1940s.

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So many great cars.

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In the same barn is a Ford display.

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One interesting feature of the the Gilmore campus is that car clubs build their museums there. In this example the Cadillac club built essentially a Cadillac dealership on the outside.

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Inside are Cadillacs over the years.

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Without a doubt the older Cadillacs are much nicer looking than the 1970s and 1980s.

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The Ford Museum has a complete, authentic 1930s parts counter.

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The Ford museum is dedicated to Model A’s.

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A 1930s school bus.

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As with Cadillac, from the outside it appears to be a vintage Ford dealership.

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Across the driveway in the main building is the Lincoln building, whom have some of the nicest cars of all.

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Another earlier Lincoln model.

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A collection of 1950s and 1960s sports cars.

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As with Cadillac, Lincoln and Ford, there is a Franklin dealership.

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But back to the Lincolns.

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Also in the main building is an exhibit for A J Foyt.

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The main building seemed to have more of a mix of cars.

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One of the last of the Packards.

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A stylish 1934 DeSoto Airflow

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If you are into cars the Gilmore Car Museum is a must to visit.

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Auburn, Indiana – August 2018 – The Start of a Car Weekend

The small city of Auburn, Indiana was the home of early 1900s auto manufacturers including Cord and Dusenberg. Each Labor Day weekend the town holds a festival and auto auctions celebrating those cars, and others.

As part of the celebration they have a large custom car show on Friday around the courthouse square. With more than 800 cars on display it was an impressive sight.

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So come along – just enjoy it.

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In addition to the shows there are two very large classic car auctions during the weekend. A massive one is held by Sotheby’s at a grounds outside of town – with hundreds of cars sold.

Another smaller one was held at the historic National Automotive and Truck Museum. We arrived in time to check out the cars during the preview.

This classic 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Safari Wagon is a rare two door wagon.

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Among the vehicles was this 1940s car carrier. I guess if you buy enough cars, you need to bid on the carrier to take them home.

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Outside the building was this sweet Alpha Romeo.

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While back inside  we passed by a George Barris custom car. George is famous for designing cars for TV and the movies including the 1966 Batmobile, and the Munster’s car.

This car was originally a 1950 Mercury.  Designed by Leo Lyons, with assistance from George, it was displayed at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

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After checking out the auction cars, we headed back to the courthouse square show where we found a brief preview of the Auburn’s we would see far more of on Saturday.

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This early 1960s Chevy El Camino had a great vintage bike in the back.

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Back in the day the idea of air conditioning was to pop open the windshield a bit.

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A vintage Chevy Pickup.

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With the arrival of the jet age, fins on cars mimicked the airplane look.

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Nearby was the Kruse Auto Museum. Located in a building that seems to being vacated, but they did have some movie cars including a Batmobile.

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A Carl Casper creation. Carl was another custom car creator like George Barris.

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Our day ended at the Kruse Museum in a collection of Indy Cars. While this was a nice day with some cool cars, we knew the best was yet to come.

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Columbus – August 2018 – Cars Have Noses and Tails Too

A quiet Sunday found us at a car show close enough we could ride our bicycles too. Since I take lots of photos of custom and classic cars, I decided to focus on the ‘noses and tails’ for something different.

Including a 1967 Ford Mustang fastback.

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1950s Ford Thunderbird.

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A custom 1932 ragtop.

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1959 Chevrolet Pickup.

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1971 Buick Gran Sport

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Late 1940s Buick Roadmaster.

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A heavily customized 1950s pickup (so customized I have no idea what it started as)

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1950s Ford Pickup.

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How to stuff a big block engine in a VW Beetle – stretch it!

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1940 Cadillac Fleetwood.

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1929 Dodge Roadster.

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Customized 1967 Ford Mustang.

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Who doesn’t love a ’59 Pink Cadillac?

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