Sunday, March 26, 2006

Red Cars on Parade

I didn’t get to take many pictures at the car show on Flagler Street today; I was handling registration and it was about 1:00 p.m. before I was able to take a look at the exhibitors. Here are some of the shots I got. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)

This is a pristine example of a car ahead of its time. It’s a 1959 Ford Fairlane 500 Skyliner, the famous “hardtop convertible” built from 1957 to 1959. Mechanically it was intricate, running on servos and solenoids and hydraulics, but the car is beautiful if not exactly practical: there’s very little trunk space when the top is down. Today, almost every high-end car has a hardtop convertible — Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Volvo — but the ones that turned heads and drew a crowd whenever the top went up or down were the Fords of the 1950’s.

This is a 1960 Comet. It was originally conceived to be a small Edsel to accompany the Ford Falcon introduced that year, but when it was clear to Ford that Edsel was going down, they released it as a separate model and sold it through Lincoln-Mercury dealers. It was not called a “Mercury Comet” at the outset — it didn’t get Mercury badging until the 1962 model year. The Comet lasted in various forms throughout the 1960’s and into the 1970’s; its last iteration was as a badge-engineered version of the Ford Maverick. So while the Edsel barely lasted three years, one of its progeny hung around for quite a bit longer.

This is one of the sweetest little cars I’ve ever seen. It’s a 1971 Lotus Elan Sprint, and it has undergone a beautiful restoration by the owner. When I first saw this car a couple of years ago, it was icebox white and frankly, didn’t do much for me, but with the complete down-to-metal paint job and the application of the accurate trim and decals, this car is a stunner. It’s also fun to watch the reaction of other drivers when they see it. Not to mention the great paint job, it has right-hand drive, and it always gets a double-take at a stoplight from onlookers.

I’m not sure why I happened to get pictures of cars with a lot of red in them, but that’s one of my favorite car colors, so, I guess that speaks for itself.