Posted by: daveB | March 19, 2011

Midnight at the Oasis. A Yuma, AZ car show.

427 AC Cobra. Owner’s price set at over 300,000 dollars!

We jumped into the Tracker, picked up Ted and Stella and drove into Yuma to an RV Park where Eric and Jerri were staying. Eric is a character, in quite a different way from Ted. Those four had met while trekking in Thailand or Viet Nam they said, and had ever since kept in contact. Eric had done many things including driving truck to selling  motor homes and RVs,  so had lots of interest in our Saturday’s activity, heading out to “Midnight at The Oasis,” a car show for some 800 automobiles whose manufacture spanned many decades. We followed Eric driving his big Chevy truck over streets that Marguerite and I had never been on, out to the baseball fields of Yuma Suns Stadium where the show was aproaching top gear. Outlying fields were already chock a block with patron’s cars. Thus we bagan our day of walking.
We had quite an afternoon of it and likely viewed the majority of the vehicles, many with eye-popping paint finishes and sporting chrome of a quality much beyond the original. Car after car captured our attention. Soon stories of cars bought and sold came forth among the three of us-as the girls had charted their own path through this field of dreams. Both Eric and Ted had bought

The Ford V8 powered Sunbeam Tiger!

and sold many cars they had owned, enough of a variety to cover an impressive array of marques. Ted still has a vintage Ford Mustang. My tales were limited to only a few vehicles that I drove and babied, most of them for years at a time. One car that I drove for seven years was a 1966 black Sunbeam Tiger, bought new and, as it turned out, one of 7,085 produced. Chrysler bought the car’s parent company, Rootes, and folks in their boardroom couldn’t stomach continuing to put FoMoCo’s small  block V-8 engine into it, and none of theirs was suitable; Chysler engines had their distributor in the back and there was no more room. In fact, one spark plug on my 260 cubic inch V-8 had to be changed through a hole in the firewall. In the first year of driving  it got over 50,000 kilometers (32,000 miles) onto the odometer. one of several de Tomaso Panteras at the auto show

As the three of us approached one area of exhibits we stopped at a distance and tried to guess what manner of car we were seeing in the half dozen sitting in a row. Elaborate sports cars, yes, but who had made them? Above are the several De Tomaso Panteras included in a Phoenix car club which were driven down to Yuma and put on display. We had drawn a blank on where they originated. They are mid-engined sportscars made very fast by their big block Ford V8 engines (the Cleveland 351) and styling to match, from the designers at Ghia.  An Argentinian, DeTomaso who had once designed a F1 car for Frank Williams, had bought the Italian design house, Ghia, with the Pantera one of its first offerings under him. On an historical note, Tim Horton, the NHL hockey player who started the Canadian fast food chain of the same name, met his demise at the wheel of a Pantera. Sports Cars at Midnight at the Oasis in Yuma, AZ

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