Trailer queen, torpedo back, bumperettes, tri-five – this is the insider lingo that only a bonafide car aficionado uses, understands and appreciates. Regardless, many took their chances and braved New York State’s most imposing and overwhelming of all car shows: the PPG Syracuse Nationals. With 8000 cars on display, the show ranks as the largest in the Northeast and the fifth largest in the country.
Let me put that into perspective. Motor heads would be wise to carry a compass and timer to this three-day extravaganza because, from the minute the gates open to the second that they close, I’ve calculated that a visitor has no more than 20 seconds to spend with each car. That’s not a whole lot of time to admire every rusted bumper, hood ornament and camshaft. In fact, that’s less than three cars per minute.
“This experience is dizzying. I’ve never seen anything like this!” gasped my wingman, George. His head was spinning like a top seeing one rare breed after another amid the 375 acres.
He wasn’t the only one. Nearly 90,000 people, young and old, men and women, families and couples, converged on the fairgrounds to wax nostalgically over sentimental favorites and restored beauties.
As a result of our lack of an organized plan, we missed the Swap Meet and Car Corral, the tech seminars and the featured events. It was most upsetting for George, more over coming to the realization that his days of driving all the way to Pennsylvania to attend Carlisle are over – replaced indefinitely by this show.
Here are some of the countless vintage cruisers on display:
George admires a 1946 Ford not unlike his own but without tools sitting on the front bumper and a car engine that runs.
Pinto boy would like to know if the owner is willing to swap a t-shirt for his (or her) car.
This 1968 Pontiac Firebird 4.1 liter overhead cam straight six is more impressive that the 400 that Jerry Seinfeld drove on an episode of Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.
Scrutinized by Ralph Nader in his book, Unsafe at Any Speed, the 1964 Chevy Corvair was vindicated when thorough highway testing proved that it was not prone to roll-overs or dangerous to drive.
Amid record attendance, the 1967 Chevy Chevelle SS is a muscle car that George can easily pass up for a 1967 Chevy Impala four door, hardtop.
The Syracuse Nationals allows only cars built prior to 1980. With a limited production, this 1971 Plymouth Barracuda convertible is quite the find.