The World's Smallest Impromptu Car Show

When my folks came down for a weekend visit last fall, we took a drive to the Peoria Riverfront Museum in Oscar, our '47 Chevy. We took the scenic way downtown along Peoria's Grand View Drive, a gorgeous road along the top of the bluff overlooking the Illinois River. Our family always enjoys a little road trip, and this drive is full of spectacular views of tall trees, birds and wildlife. Its also a place where the well-off have built giant mansions and estates for over 100 years. There's even a castle along Grand View. I'm serious. We always look for it and make big plans to strike it rich so that we can live there some day.

As we casually drove along the winding road of humongous homes that fall afternoon in the old Chevy, we came across a small gathering of classic cars in front of one of the homes. I believe it was a meeting of the Illinois Valley Antique Automobile Club, as one of the members' cars was front and center. Either way, it was a nice sight and we pulled over to snap a few pictures of it. Here are the ones that turned out.

1940 Plymouth Deluxe Sedan
"Plymouth Builds Great Cars" was the slogan used by Plymouth in 1940, the year this Deluxe Sedan rolled off the assembly line. With an affordable price tag ($775 base), consumers snapped up plenty of the dependable flat 6-powered cars and many are still around today. This one has been owned by the same owner since the early 1960's if I recall and is in excellent original condition.

Plymouth promoted the "quality features" typically found in high-priced cars, as well as the low-priced Plymouths.     

1938 Packard Twelve Convertible-Roadster
This 1938 Packard 12 Convertible-Roadster looked rather elegant in its navy blue finish and beige cloth top. I love the Packard swan hood ornament, fog lamps, and the "A" gasoline ration sticker in the windshield. Somehow, this car looked right at home along Grand View Drive.
This newspaper ad for the 1938 Packard promotes the 'junior' cars, but a 12-cylinder Packard was also available to those who wanted the very best, and could afford to pay for it.    
Photo: The Daily Iowan

1940 LaSalle Model 52 Sedan
The 1940 LaSalle was the most popular model in the brand's history. More than 24,000 were built in the GM division's final year, including this Harley Earl & Bill Mitchell-designed maroon Model 52 sedan. These are cars you simply don't see anymore, except for random chances like this one. 

A 1940 LaSalle print advertisement, a highly stylized work of art.    

Since we're expecting yet another weekend of 5 to 7 inches of snow followed by below zero temps, I dug these out of the my cell phone and wanted to remind myself of better times. Let's hope the groundhog makes the right call, and we don't get stuck with more winter. Happy hibernating, everyone. We'll see you when the car cover comes off. 



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