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Summer nights, when the sun sinks low and the heat falls off, are perfect for cruising. Starting in early afternoon, guys from every town in America pull their cars into the shady spot in the driveway for a detail job, just so they can strut later on. In the evenings, low-angled sunlight shines off of spotlights and valve covers at Heav'nly Donuts in Derby, Connecticut — the antiqued glow is slightly faded and softened like the memories of these cars among the men who drove them as teenagers and love them still as adults. I'm too young to remember "back in the day," but I figured I was as good a person as any to offer up blurry shots and barely informed commentary from one such evening.

The broad boulevard rumbles as a chopped rod pulls up while I'm trying to shoot a DeLorean pulling out of the show area. Under a perfect black top and a gun slit windshield the choptop is clean and almost unadorned, save for a Betty Boop decal by the open engine bay.

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I think "Man, I want this car," for about the nineteenth time in the five minutes since I arrived.

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I wheel over to take a quick look at the motorcycle section and spy a H-D Sportster with some nice lightening bolt paint that for once doesn't look like an airbrushed t-shirt, and an orange Iron Horse stretched and smooth like one of Dali's clocks.

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


Right then a Boss Hoss BHC-3 rides up, sounding like one of Tommy Lee's inverted drum solos. This bike has a one-speed transmission mated to a 502 cubic inch V-8. According to the company, that's 502 h.p. and 567 lb.ft. of twist on a bike that weighs 1,300 lbs. dry. That's pretty much all that needs to be said.

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Back to the cars. Who doesn't love the Dodge Challenger? I'll take mine with a 440 Magnum motor and a shaker hood, just like this example, please.

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Speaking of hood scoops, whatever happened to details like this one on the Plymouth Road Runner parked along side it?

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Matte finish is the shit. It's like The Tao of Steve: Play it cool and don't look for attention and you'll end up getting it. Look at this '53 Chevy pickup with a demon on the hood and tell me you wouldn't lose a digit to own it. Hood louvers and spotlights are so money they don't even know it.

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


You must wear dark blue jeans with cuffs and a black leather jacket when attempting to drive this '37 Ford Coupe. It's, like, the law.

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This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


There was no shortage of shiny cars at the show, however. A fan favorite was this '39 Pontiac with a flathead six, from back when they were known as Pontiac Oakland and had yet to become part of the General's army. Notice the Indian-head accents that once denoted the Pontiac brand instead of today's arrowhead.

This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


You might have heard of another popular cruising spot in these United States near and dear to Jalopnik hearts: Woodward Avenue. This '58 Corvette was a unique member of the 2005 Dream Cruise, with its heart transplant in the form of an LT-1 motor. As long as we're talking bowties, let's talk this Chevelle SS 396 with a flamed Turbo-Jet, a highboy with what the owner claimed was a '57 Vette SS motor, next to a Z/28 with a blown 454 and a Z/28 with t-tops that makes your hand form devil horns just looking at it.

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This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


Unimpressed? Try out this 1966 Lister Phantom "Dragon": six of eleven built as a rolling chassis designed by John Chestnut and powered by a 350 cube Chevy LT-1.

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This image was lost some time after publication.


While the English were making them light and Spartan, in the spirit of this Lotus kit car, FoMoCo was building them soft with big motors, like this twenty-foot-long Lincoln Continental and this Ford Sunliner: fuzzy dice, fuzzy mirror, pinstriped spotlights, etched windows, louvers and the Stars and Stripes — God bless.

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This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


Ford also made this Model A, before someone bought it and stuffed a blown Chevy 350 in there. Love the paint. I wonder which would win a stoplight drag, that Model A, or this '56 Chevy with nitrous and a supercharger the size of a kitchen table? OK, dumb question. The Chevy looked like a steamroller from the back.

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This image was lost some time after publication.
This image was lost some time after publication.


These cars and bikes are an essential part of Americana — not just valuable in their own right. They bring a disparate group of people together and highlight their shared passion, as kids who drove up in turbo Integras talk to guys whose cars run on leaded gas. It's beauty, it's brawn and it smells like tires smoking and donuts frying on a Sunday night. [by James Gribbon]

Related:
You Are There: The American Le Mans Series New England Grand Prix, July 1, 2006 [internal]