MainStrasse

            For the ninth year in a row, the city of Covington, KY held their annual car show in conjunction with KOI Auto Parts. Closing down several blocks along the MainStrasse Village section of town, the city lines the streets with nearly 200 classic and collector cars. Declared a national historic district, MainStrasse Village is full with quaint shops and unique restaurants. But on that day in August, it was all about the cars.
            The show traditionally draws from all around the region and this year was no exception, with drivers coming as far away as Florida to put their car on display. And a wide variety of cars it was. Ranging from the classic Fords, Chevys and Mopar cars to more eclectic vehicles such as a Morgan, a Sunbeam Tiger, a couple of DeLoreans, a collection of VW Bugs, an extremely rare 1952 Mercedes, and even some classic metro busses, there was surely something for every taste.
Eventually I’ll get to writing about and showing all of the cars but consider this a brief introduction to the show and what’s to come. Hope you all enjoy.





Using a Red Head to Help a Friend

            Frank D’Andrea is a nice guy. He’s the kind of person who is willing to help out a friend even if it’s something he isn’t fond of doing.
            So when a friend, who was helping to organize the first Sycamore Township Summer Bash and Car Show, asked Frank to bring a car and attend the show, he was at first reluctant. “He said he didn’t know if anyone was going to show up and asked me to bring one of my cars so at there’d be one car here for people to see,” Frank laughed as he looked around at the parking lot packed with cars on display.
            “I don’t really like car shows,” he added. “I’d rather just drive the car.”
            The car he brought is one of four collector cars that he owns. Purchased in 1997, this 1990 Ferrari Testarosa attracted a crowd of on lookers. And while the car looks great, the sound of the 12 cylinder, almost 4400 cc, engine spitting out 344 horses with 305 foot pounds of torque easily stir the soul.
            In addition to the Ferrari “red head” (the literal translation of Testarosa), Frank owns a 1987 Ferrari 328 that he bought new, a 1967 Jaguar E-Type, and a 1962 Corvette.
            He said he doesn’t really have a favorite as each is special. And, he regularly drives each of them. “I try to drive one per day,” he said, often driving them back and forth to work.
            Frank got started in his love of automobiles when he was young. “One summer mom and dad had friends come and visit. They had a son a little older than me. When they left, he left a car magazine,” he explained. From that magazine was born a passion.
            Even though Frank is a CPA he raced in Formula 4 for 25 years. Still, he doesn’t try to hit top speeds with his collector cars. “I raced for 25 years and I don’t know if I would want to go 200,” he said. “Things just happen so fast, there’s a total change in dynamics.”
            Though he isn’t crazy about sitting around at car shows, he doesn’t mind talking about his car to anyone. “The most fun thing is when kids come up and want to get their pictures taken with the car,” he said.
            You may not be able to see Frank and his cars at many shows, if you drive around Sycamore Township, you’ll have a pretty good chance of seeing him happily cruising along. Maybe he’ll be in the Testarosa and let you get your picture taken beside it.




He Just Wanted a 3 Window

            After spending three years to restore a 1936 Ford, Gary Rhein decided to sell it. “I just wanted a ’33,” he explained. So four years ago he found a Ford three window from 1933 and bought it.
            “A lot of things were already done on it when I got it,” he said. That included a number of modifications made by the previous owner. “When I bought it it had power windows. I took those off to give it a more original look,” Gary said.
            The previous owner had also chopped the car four inches which Gary left on. The chopped hot rod look reminded him of cars he’d seen in movies from back in the 1950s. That also explains the current paint job. “I really liked the flames in those movies,” he said.
            In addition to the paint job, his six month renovation with this car included an all new interior and dropping in a new motor, a Chevy 382 that pushes 350 horse power. He also put in a Ford eight inch read end.
            Don’t go looking at car shows to see Gary and his beautiful ride. “I don’t like car shows that much,” he admitted, sitting in a small patch of shadow on a blistering hot August day. “I’d rather just get in and drive.”
            Drive he does. He takes it to Gatlinburg a couple of times a year and isn’t afraid to drive it all over town even though it only gets about 10 miles per gallon.
            “It’s fun to drive,” he added. “And it really catches people’s attention. The flames do that.”


Dodges

          Sometimes going to all of the car shows I tend to run across not only the same kind of cars but also the exact same cars. Anyone who goes to shows can probably list off the staple autos that are generally there. So when I post something and drop in the pictures I've taken, there are a lot of the regular suspects being seen.
          That's why it's fun to see some different rides at some of the shows. While this show featured a car from an earlier blog (Tim Klein's 1968 Dodge Coronet 500 http://turnerbudds-carblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/tihs-ho.html), the first Sycamore Township Summer Bash and Car Show also had a few other beautiful Dodge vehicles. Hope you enjoy them.


Cruising the Riviera

            When Zach Meyer was growing up, his older brother was heavily involved in sports. While the brother was playing on travelling teams, Zach’s dad realized that his other son needed something to occupy him.
            “He told me to find a car that we could fix up together and he would buy it for me,” said Zach. So, 11 years ago, Zach found himself as a nine-year-old looking for a car. What he found was a 1965 Buick Riviera.
            The car was something Zach had never seen before. “The headlights sold me,” he said. “They were the coolest thing I’d ever seen.”
            His dad bought the car and the two of them set about restoring it. “I spent my middle school years on a roller underneath the car sanding,” Zach said.
            Originally the car was white with a black roof. Currently it is midnight blue, which is an original Buick color. “I wanted to make the chrome pop a little more,” Zach explained of the color choice. “It took a two and a half year wait to get it painted,” he added, but the wait was worth it.
            Most of the car is original. “It has an all original motor and interior,” he said. That original motor is a 401 cubic inch V-8 that spits out 340 horse power. He pointed out that there is new carpet in the trunk. “Also, I added the rocker panels. They were an option back when the car was out,” he said.
            In addition, Zach added a power antenna and the radio. “I have seven or eight radios in a box because they go out all the time,” he said with a laugh.
            The 20-year-old takes the car out for a drive about once a month, proud of the job he and his father have done.




The First Time

            The first time is never easy. It’s usually kind of scary and you feel so out of place, so awkward. You’re always thinking about what can go wrong and will I disappoint. In addition to the pressure to perform, you have an anxiety that grows within you, builds as the big day nears. You want everything to be perfect but you feel so hopelessly lost and unsure of yourself and what will ultimately happen.
            That’s exactly how the organizers of the very first Sycamore Township Summer Bash and Car Show must have felt when they made the decision to fill the Robert L. Schuler Sports Complex with cars and music. What they ultimately got, though, exceeded their expectations.
            With nearly 200 cars showing up and hundreds of avid enthusiast enjoying the beautiful late summer day, the show can only be called a success.
            Frank D’Andrea is a long time car enthusiast and while he isn’t a huge fan of car shows, he brought one of his four collectibles to show. According to Frank, a friend of his was helping to organize the event and was worried that no one would show up. “So I told him I’d bring one of my cars over to make sure that they had something here,” he said. Looking around at the number of cars on display he chuckled and added, “If I’d have known so many people would have brought their cars I wouldn’t have bothered.”
            Not that a good turnout was really in doubt. The car show was backed by the Cincy Custom Street Machines Car Club and was part of an all-day event that featured plenty of music and food. The culmination of the whole day was a free concert by Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.
            With the success of this year’s inaugural show they may need to look for a bigger location to hold it next year.



Corvettes

            When Chevy rolled the first Corvette off the Flint, MI assembly line in June of 1953, they had high expectations but I’m sure, not even the car’s biggest advocate would have dreamt of its monumental success.
            Still, the longest running continuous production car in America, the Vette has undergone its share of make overs. Starting with the first year when a grand total of 300 machines were made, all sporty little two seaters draped in white with red interior. Those C1 Vettes, as they are called, were produced between 1953 and 1962. Their fiberglass body was truly a game changer. And though those originals had a fairly anemic 150 horse power engine, bigger and badder things were to come.
            The C 2 Vettes, made between 1963 and 1967 refined their look a bit, especially the sloping back window on the hard top models and considerably kicked up the power plant. For example, in 1966 they introduced a 427 cubic inch big block V 8 that was capable of smoking most things with four wheels.
            Real cosmetic changes came with the C 3 (1968 - 1982) and C 4 (1984 – 1996) generations. This was a radical new look for an iconic sports car, a look that is still recognizable to some degree in the current models.



            Over the past few weeks we’ve been seeing a growing number of the C 3 and C 4 and even some C 5 (1997 – 2004) models on display. Here are a handful of beautiful Vettes from a recent show. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
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