Art fans, take note: The most gorgeous display of sculpted metal you’ll ever see will be here: the Back to the 50s car show at the Fairgrounds. I’m going. I love the old cars. I don’t know a thing about them, either. Can’t tell one from the other. Oh, I recognize a BelAir, and I know the old Mercs, because my father drove one. The antiques are another story – I don’t quite care for those gold Gatsby specials with a mile of hood, or the simple Fords that made you think of Bonnie and Clyde, driving the backroads of America, searching for a place where the radio picked up something other than *$(#% banjo music.
No, it’s the cars of the 50s and early 60s I love – the world of fins and chrome and push-button ease, Magic-Aire under the dash next to the Highway Hi-Fi (of course they had record players in cars; why wouldn’t they?). Those were cars. If Detroit brought back two-tones with fins and white sidewalls, I think they’d sell a few. I suspect they have the prototypes read to roll, and they’re just waiting for the moment when their businesses are half an hour away from Chapter 13X, or Super Bankruptcy; that’s the bankruptcy that actually makes you disappear from history, retroactively. That's when they drop the cars with fins and grilles studded with missile-tips and headlights that come packed in brassieres and all the colors everyone misses, from turquoise to coral to yellow to pink. Everyone buys one. Bankruptcy averted. Foreign car makers gnash their teeth: curse those blasted Yanks with their insouciant fins and jaunty, sexualized rear-view mirrors. We can never compete.
Well, that’ll never happen. So go look at the classics, and take the kids. Let them see what life was like before power steering, safety glass and seat belts. (There’s probably a booth that runs “Signal 30” all day If the subject holds any appeal for you, the Strib has a blog up your alley: read MotorMouth here, enjoy the pictures, and get in the mood for the show.