Inventing Errands in order to Drive

Do you ever invent errands just so you have an excuse to drive? Perhaps you still have half a gallon milk left in the fridge or you may have a whole gallon, but something tells you that you may need one more. Honestly, you never know when you may need to make a large cake or two for company even though you only ever really make a cake for your mother’s birthday.  Actually, you may just want an excuse to grab your set of keys and blitz around town! Despite cake’s delicious qualities, something about your car is even more tantalizing. I suspect many of us car enthusiasts do this more often than we would admit to our friends and families. It is okay! You aren’t alone.

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And even if we do invent errands in order to quench our thirst for our cars, don’t we take the curvy, scenic, or less-traveled route to the shops? Of course! Who doesn’t? And don’t we always hope for little to no traffic on these long routes in order to unleash the car’s potential on the twisty or scenic sections of road? Absolutely. And it’s not like your mother needs her cake this afternoon on her actual birthday. If you simply explain the need to drive your car, surely she will understand. After all, she is your mother.

Drive Spiritedly.

 

– JRB, Editor

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Car Culture in Small-Town America – Fulton, KY Banana Festival 2014

So the past two months have been festival season here in Northwest Tennessee and Western Kentucky. Every small town seems to have a festival of some sort whether it honors the soybean, the banana, or a lot of corn. Essentially, when it comes to festivals in the rural area that I grew up, their namesakes stem from a harvest produce or some tradition. Along with a vast array of festivals that are named after many different types of vegetables, festive-events bring about certain things: smoked foods that smell awesome, contests, parades, carnival rides, etc… But what I am most interested in when it comes to these shin-digs are the car shows. And it just so happens that my home-town has a fairly good car show every year.

Row of Corvettes

Row of Corvettes

Now, growing up in a rural area, most kids my age that were into automobiles glorified and praised all things American whether it is the corvette, an old hot-rod in granddad’s barn, or pop’s 1950s pickup. I enjoy seeing these brutes as well as many owners have lavished them with tensile and love, and that, whether you are a fan of American cars, classic hot-rods, or imports, is something that can be appreciated. The love and passion that these car owners have towards their pride-and-joy is overwhelming and fantastic. While I prefer other vehicles rather than classic hot-rods or American vehicles as a matter of personal taste, I am first and foremost a car person, so I can appreciate the Americana that comes out at these local festivals. Excellent and noteworthy cars involve engineering, thoughtful and purposefully-built ideas, and passion to become a reality. That is the common thread that enables someone who is a car person (like myself) to relate to other car folks who worship old GMs, Fords, and many others, and the reason why I can happily spend my afternoon browsing some great American automobilia and appreciate what I see and the people I converse with. I get to see classic engineering, old friends, people who are really into their American beauties, and observe the fact that a car-culture is alive and well in small-town America. Being a proud American, it makes me even more proud that classic American automobiles are still popular today.

 

– JRB, Editor-in-Chief of The Spirited Drive

Volksfest 2014, Nashville: Understanding the Volkswagen Thing

This past weekend, I was in Nashville, TN visiting some friends before my upcoming birthday. Birthdays are a pretty special time for someone young like myself, and my friends had planned out the entire weekend that turned out to be amazing. One of the things that they had planned was to go to the 2nd Annual Volksfest. As I was told before we went, it is basically a German festival with all of the usual German trimmings: delicious brats and schnitzel, ice-cold German beer, and live Polka Music. But, to my pleasant surprise, it was also a car show featuring Volkswagens (hence the emphasis on the “Volks” in the event’s title). As we walked in, we could hear the guys on stage playing some German tunes, smell the mix of tasty beverages and cooked meats in the air, and see the line of Volkswagens on display.

Entry to Volks

Now, as my friends knew me all too well, they understood that I would eventually gravitate to the line of Volkswagens-I tend to have a tendency to be forcefully pulled towards anything automotive, especially German autos-and of course, after a beer or two, we walked over there.

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While independent owners brought out their prized “Deutschen” vehicles at the festival, the entire event was sponsored by the local Volkswagen Dealer (Hallmark Volkswagen in Cool Springs) in the Nashville area. This meant that there were several 1960s VW Beetles parked next to new 2014-2015 VW Beetles. The iconic Beetle shape hasn’t changed much over the decades, and despite weight differences and technological differences, they still emulate a sense of fun and quirkiness. There were of course several VW vans parked along the line along with some unusual models, but there were some other models that were rarer finds that normally don’t come to mind when thinking of Volkswagens. After talking with the owner of a beautiful, unique, and sentimental 1966 VW Beetle, you understand that a car, whether it is used as show piece, a project build, or basic transportation, can become like a family member, particularly a car as inviting, fun, and quirky as a VW Beetle. Your car will endure most of the times that you go through, whether it be good or bad.

I admit, I am a sucker for German automobiles, especially ones designed and built upon the legacies of Porsche family, so to see these old air-cooled engines coupled with iconic shapes and design was quite a treat. As we were leaving the festival, I was just reminded of a simple, learned fact: German Beer and German Automobiles are similar in that they are well made and they perform very well. Prost!

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– JRB, Editor-in-Chief

Thank you to Hallmark Volkswagen in Cool Springs for the awesome festival!

Spot Light Car Show: The T37 Tempest

Over the weekend, The Spirited Drive team attended its first car show in an official blogging capacity. As we made our way around chatting with the owners, we were intrigued and moved by some of the stories about the cars. It was then we had the idea to create a spotlight article on the vehicles that had special stories that moved us. So expect to see one or two spotlight articles for each car show we visit.

This spotlight features a 1970 Pontiac T37 Tempest, owned by Louie and Kathy Henson. The vehicle (seen below) is featured in a color called Palisade Green and still has the original 350 cu. in. engine, putting out 325hp. This vehicle, as was told to us by Kathy, was developed by Pontiac in the late 1960’s as an alternative to the Pontiac GTO. It could be ordered with many of the same options as the GTO, but the insurance was significantly less.

This vehicle is not only special because of its rarity; it also holds great sentimental value for the owners.  Only 1,419 T37s were produced in 1970. On a more personal note, this is the same year and model that Kathy drove when the couple was married. I’m sure having this vehicle brings back many memories for both of them. In the glove box were papers documenting the car’s journey from the plant to its first owner were found. This always makes a car special as it gives a greater feeling of connectedness to the previous owners and really tells the story of that individual car, not just the model.

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It is a truly beautiful thing to see car owners with so much pride for what they’re driving. Kathy and Louie were incredible to talk to, and from the first minute of conversation we couldn’t help but be drawn into their story. Their story proves that every vehicle, ordinary or exotic, has a special place is someone’s history.

Written by:

D. Fowler, Production Editor

J. Hamlin, Production Editor

J. Potts, Automotive Contributor

Edited by JRB, Editor-in-Chief