Staying Warm At Knoxville’s Cabin Fever Car Show

With temperatures in the teens, and snow on their trailers, over 200 brave car lovers brought their prized vehicles to the 34th annual Cabin Fever Car Show at the Knoxville Expo Center this past weekend.  Long a tradition in the northeast part of Tennessee, this show brings out everything: unfinished projects, restored classics, hot rods, muscle cars, and whatever else falls between those terms.  This year, rough winter weather played havoc on getting the cars to and into the venue, but everyone endeavored to persevere, and the show went off without a hitch.  What follows is a pictorial of a few of the many interesting cars in the show and a few comments about them.  The first post will focus on restored vehicles, and the second will show the customs.  I hope you readers enjoy this break from the ordinary, and please let us know if you would like to see more features like this in the future.

The first car pictured is a 1956 Cadillac Fleetwood owned by Jody Smith.  I felt like we had to start a pictorial on a Tennessee car show with a pink Cadillac.  It just seems fitting.  The second and third pictures are of a 1961 Corvair Rampside pickup owned by Atomic Speed Shop.  Both cars were restored perfectly, with the Corvair having the advantage of being one of the nicest versions of this oddball pickup I have ever seen.  The ramp side is brilliant, and it is a shame that this particular innovation never really took off.

Nestled Corvair style in the rear is the truck’s flat six engine, complete with its wacky fan belt.  The high quality of this restoration, arguably better than stock, really made this truck stand out.  What also stands out is that General Motors that made such a truck.  An uncommon vehicle like this was a risky gamble for GM, but imagine where we would be today of the Corvair line had been fully accepted by the public.

Another impressively restored vehicle at the show was this 1958 Dodge Coronet, which was owned by Bill Johnson.  The neatest part of this finned masterpiece was the paint.  Two toned in Pearl above the beltline chrome molding, and what I believe to be Star Sapphire Poly underneath, this big Dodge really stood out.

From the rear, you can see how appealing the space age design is, and just how long these cars are.  Unfortunately, Chrysler products from this era suffered from corrosion problems that took many of them off the road for good.  When you think of how many Tri Five Chevys are still out there, maybe these Mopars would have been more popular if the survival rate had been a little higher.

For you truck fans, this 1950 Ford F-1 may be a little too “citified,” but it was still an impressively restored truck.  Named “Nellie” by its owner, Mr. Don Steiger, it seemed to be a fifties prototype for all of the “Cowboy Cadillacs” we have roaming the roads now.  I’d love to have it, but I do believe the fender skirts would stay in the garage when headed to the hardware store on Saturday morning.

I haven’t left out you Mopar fans.  Take a look at this 1970 Dodge Dart, once again owned by Atomic Speed Shop.  While everything under the hood and inside looked stock, everything else was bathed in a highly polished sheen of Plum Crazy.  This was a stock color for Dodge in 1970, but I have never seen a Dart painted so completely in one color.

It was hard to decide where to file this one.  It appears to be nearly all stock, and the 340 engine was detailed as if it were stock, but did they ever make a Dart that looked like this one from the factory?  I have never really been a Dart fan, but this one was just amazing in every way.

Standing out among all of the postwar cars at the show was this 1935 Ford phaeton, which is owned by Ray Garrett.  Fords have always been a common man’s car, and it is hard to imagine a car this elegant could be bought for roughly the same price as an average sedan.  This car was freshly restored, and had already won an AACA award before attending this show.

Sitting next to the phaeton were five impeccably prepared Shelby Cobra replicas.  There were to be six, but I heard a very sad rumor.  While I cannot verify it, I was told that a sixth Cobra, the trailer it was carried to the show in, and the truck that pulled them both were stolen from the parking lot of the hotel the owner stayed in.  This kind of nonsense is becoming all to familiar.  It seems like every time there is a big event, someone is on Facebook asking for help in locating a stolen collectible car.  If I were a LoJack salesman, I’d have a table at every car show.  Hopefully someone will find the missing Cobra, trailer, and truck before they make it to craigslist one piece at a time.

This pristine 1970 Corvette was one of the cars used as a display by a vendor at the show.  The restoration on the car was done well, and the car looked great under the lights.  When you take a gander at this edition of the Corvette, you can’t help but think what a bombshell this design was when it hit the streets.  While the later cars became slower yet more refined, I think the collector market will eventually recognize these earlier third edition Corvettes for their good looks and tire shredding power.  You can still buy these 1968-1972 Corvettes for a reasonable price right now, but look for them to trend a lot higher in the future.  These are the cars we will lament not buying when they were “cheap.”

Finally, my favorite of the show was this 1970 Pontiac Trans Am, which is owned by Lynn Geddon.  I guess I just haven’t seen an early Trans Am in a while, but this one really struck me as being low, wide, and mean.  While the exterior had been painted and detailed, and the screaming chicken had been added to the hood, the interior wasn’t quite ready for a full show.  It didn’t really matter, as the car just looked phenomenal as it was.

Looking at the pictures, I am curious as to whether the wheels are modern versions of the original honeycomb style, or if they are the factory offerings.  Whatever the case, I think the car had been lowered a tad, and the overall impression was that this was going to make a killer ride when it is finished.

Hopefully you enjoyed looking at the cars in this post as much as I did seeing them in person.  I apologize for any pictures that might have been better framed or composed.   I am still learning my new camera, and the scant room between the cars at the show didn’t leave much room for maneuvering.  Please let me know if you have any questions, and if you want to see more show coverage in the future.  The next installment for this show, which will consist of more customized cars, should publish in the next 24 hours.  Until then, keep warm and start making plans for the next show in your area.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    DEFINITELY want to see more features like this, Jeff! At the very least, they serve as a reminder of what can/could be done with some of the tired old heaps normally featured. I mean, I wouldn’t do a ’56 Cad in pink (though I did once see a ’57 Lincoln in a kind of “salmon” color that was, unbelievably, quite appealing), but for me “shiny and fresh” beats “patina” any day! YMMV, of course….

    Still, it’s encouraging to some of us to see what desire, effort and, of course, money can do to resuscitate tired and neglected old rides!

    • Vince H

      Painted like the 56 Elvis had.

  2. G Keller

    Thank you for posting these cars. Definitely want to see more of them Jeff. Nice write up on the show.

  3. Mountainwoodie

    Is there anything better than looking at vintage tin? (Dont answer that) Barn Finds or not?

    I’m fine with whatever Barn Finds decides to put up! I appreciate all their work

  4. JazzGuitarist54

    Enjoyed this “Break” from the usual very much, and on occasion, I think I would enjoy reading about some thing like this.

  5. Fred w.

    Wish I had known about this- Knoxville is only a couple of hours away.

  6. Al C

    Nice job on the car show coverage! Looking forward to more car show coverage! Keep it up.

  7. Ian McLennan

    I enjoyed this feature a lot, would love to see more like it. Makes a nice change of pace once in a while. Great job!!

  8. spacelifer

    Great job! You caught the heart of it!! Hope you’re right about the early C3’s; Saw one on this site at an estate sale and picked it up 8-10 months ago. Red convertible survivor. Parked for 20 years and is now my everyday driver. Can’t keep the dog out of it; she goes everywhere!
    BTW, wound up with a bit of a gem and could use some advice from anyone on this site. 1970 Buick GS 455 Stage1. A bit unusual: been off the road since 1981, but a fairly meticulous restoration got about 90% done and then was abandoned for the next 35 years. It’s a four speed, AC car, so I think it’s pretty rare, but not sure where to go with it. All numbers matching, original sheet metal, etc. Don’t know what it takes to finish it as a #2 car, or if, in the right hands it could be even better (if it’s worth it). It’s sort of a resto-vivor, so I just don’t know where it fits in. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • jdjonesdr

      1970 Buick GS 455 Stage 1 are pure junk. I’m gonna do you a big favor and come over there with a trailer and take it to the dump for you.. *cough*

      You can give me the Vette too if you want, you lucky f****r, you.

      I’d take the Buick back to bone stock.

      • spacelifer

        I guess I could use a little more room in the driveway for my daughters Subaru :) I’ll keep you posted!

        Gotta give kudos to Barn Finds for finding me the Vette. You guys are great!

        Here’s the GS coming home.

    • Nova Scotian

      Love your Vette! Side pipes are awesome! Definitely a keeper!

      • spacelifer

        Thanks again to Barn Finds for the Vette!

        The louvers and side pipes are original although the side pipe covers are replacements, probably from the early eighties. Anyway, they sound awesome!

    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      I would do what it takes to get that Buick on the road and drive it. If you are not planning on selling it, then have some fun. The dog will probably enjoy riding in the Buick more!

      • spacelifer

        I think she’d miss doing the Rin Tin Tin into the front seat; I can never get to the door in time to open it!

    • Angrymike

      I have to agree with the others here, give me your phone number and I’ll load up my truck and trailer and take that thing off your hands, all the decisions you have to make could harm your health ! You should probably keep the Vette to make sure your minds is busy, but overload is a bad thing ! So give up your number and I’ll save you the mental anguish of having to deal with that old GS stage1. See how I’m so helpful I am ?! 😂

      • spacelifer

        Don’t know what I’d do without all the offered help; you guys are the best :)

  9. Dick Johnson

    Thanks for a little warmth. It is minus 29 f windchill, my machine shed has projects but no heat. If it had heat, I could afford to heat the outdoors.

  10. Al

    Oh golly gee, I like that turquoise (OK .. PINK) Cadillac. I think I just aged myself.

    I like virtually anything posted on Barn Finds.

    Thank you.

  11. Bob

    Those honeycomb wheels are much bigger and wider than anything Pontiac made back in the day. The color and seats suggest it’s a 73 not 70 model too.

    • MikeK

      The wheels are Year One repros, and you’re right about the color and year. That is Brewster Green and was first available in 1973.

  12. Jay E.

    When the guys at Chrysler/Plymouth/Dodge mixed up the first batch of Plum Crazy purple, little did they know what a timeless color it would become. To me it is the perfect hue, changing it at all and the look jut isn’t right. Back in high school, we called it “Statutory Grape”, I guess its not PC anymore. I never even heard the term plum crazy until much later.
    These diversions from the norm are great, keep it up.

  13. Madmatt

    I particularly loved the 58 Coronet,as my dad,who had almost
    100 cars at one time{he owned an auto repair shop},
    had one in the late 80,s it was a very nice,very straight rust free
    car that ran great, needed paint/interior,and a windshield.,
    i wanted it so bad,but had my 67 Malibu as a project @ that time.
    One day I came home and it was gone..!,my dad sold it to a friend
    of his for $800,I think,-I know it was sold cheap.originally it was gold w/pink fins and roof.I wanted to do it black with hot pink roof and fins,with some nice wire wheels….I will always want one of these,beautiful late 50’s mopars!We still laugh when,
    I remind him of how he”sold”my beauty!

  14. Brian L Weyeneth

    Nice coverage Jeff. Always look forward to getting these emails. Will you be at Autofair in Charlotte in April?

    • Jeff Bennett Staff

      Thinking about it. Nothing set in stone yet, as it is quite a drive for me.

  15. Beatnik Bedouin

    Thanks, Jeff, for the great report.

  16. #69pacecar

    I would love to have the pick-up what a great resto was done on that and love the side ramp. Enjoyed the article and look forward to more.

  17. mike

    Love the article please don’t hesitate to do more like this! Great Pictures…….

  18. Rspcharger Rspcharger Member

    Keep it up with the show sightings. Now we can all strive to get our cars published.

  19. Sal

    My Dad owned a 1958 Dodge. It wasn’t called a Coronet though. It was badged “Custom Royal”. I never saw another one with that badging. Anyone have any idea how many of those were made and what made them special to be called a Custom Royal?

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