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Classy Chassy in Kennewick

Sunday, 14 May 2017 15:58
Not likely a color available in 1933, but maybe an improvement on original paint Not likely a color available in 1933, but maybe an improvement on original paint

By Alan Thompson

A spring day’s a good time to take a drive.

Classy Chassy 59 Ford Skyliner PicmonkeyBut if the top's in the trunk, where does the luggage go?

And this weekend quite a few folks drove their special vehicles to Kennewick, Washington for that city’s “Classy Chassy” car show. Centerpiece of the 18th edition of this annual event was the Show and Shine display.

Some of the more than 200 entries would win trophies, but all had an equal chance to draw the attention of visitors strolling this part of what’s billed as “Historic Downtown Kennewick.” Many of the attendees were families and, while kids in strollers may not have been impressed by the array of rolling automotive art, many of the older visitors were. Many greybeards were noted admiring muscle cars from an era when they probably possessed more muscle on their own frames, too. There were vehicles in many categories; customs, classics, antiques, resto mods and rat rods. The definitions may not have been precisely drawn, but most of these automobiles brought good memories for the crowd—whether they were like cars they themselves once owned or something grandpa had.

Among the older ones were a 1930 Model A Ford and a 1933 Essex sedan, both beautifully restored. If those could be considered antiques, there were more modern conveyances that merited attention, too. Several Corvettes had popped their hoods so admirers could get an eyeful of all that 21st Century power.

Classy Chassy Packard Custom PicmonkeyWho knows what it is?

Many of the vehicles parked on Kennewick Ave came off Detroit assembly lines in the 1950s and 60s—new enough to be a least vaguely familiar to most of the visitors, but old enough to summon recollections from those who might have actually driven cars like them.

There were some rare ones, too, like the 1958 Ford Skyliner with the retractable hard top. This innovation was a three-year experiment, which demonstrated that available technology wasn’t quite ready to make practical and trouble free.

Surely the rarest car on display was something very long and sleek—obviously, a customized version of something. But what? Valve covers on its V-8 engine read “Packard,” but it certainly didn’t look like any Packard I was familiar with. Maybe this bronze beauty started out as one of those last Packards from around the time that venerable builder merged with Studebaker in the late 1950s. It did resemble—but just vaguely—the Studebaker Golden Hawks of that era. Unfortunately, its provenance may remain a mystery, as I didn’t find the owner who could tell me the history of this exotic bit of transportation.

Maybe I’ll see it again before summer’s gone. After all, there are car events coming up all over the state.

Last modified on Sunday, 14 May 2017 16:32


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