Sycamore Mall Car Show: Setting the Wayback Machine to Iowa City, Summer 2012

Here’s an oldie but a goodie. The Sycamore Mall cruise night from July 2012. The show is still held, but it’s moved to Coral Ridge Mall in nearby Coralville. My recent “Last cruise night of the year” column was from the new location.

No Camaros, Corvettes or Mustangs were photographed. I have to seek out the more uncommon fare. Granted, two-seat T-Birds are not so rare, but I think this one’s Dusk Rose paint and white interior make up for it.


Here was an immaculate dove gray over blue DeSoto Seville–yes, Seville! The “Hundred Million Dollar Look” 1955 Chrysler Corporation vehicles were stunning, including the DeSotos, but I like the 1956s ever so much better. Only minor changes here and there, but gotta love the ‘tri-tower’ taillamps added this year.

This one was clearly treated to a no-expense-spared restoration. The whole car was better than new. I wish I had gotten more pictures of it. Note: I haven’t seen this car since. Either the owner sold it or no longer attends cruise nights.


I am not the biggest fan of modified classics, but this Country Squire was very nice, especially with black paint and red leather seats. The taillights were incorporated into those narrow slots on the lowermost piece of wood trim on the tailgate.

How about a 1958 Skyliner? The ’58 seems to be the rare variant, as I see far more ’57s and ’59s at the many car shows I attend in the summertime. There tend to be a lot of these at the Iowa City cruise nights (since moved to Coralville in 2013); one time there were at least four or five, all parked in single file.


The peach interior was very nice–and unusual. I’d never seen one in that shade before. It reminds me of the “Chamois” interior seen on late ’70s Cougar XR-7s and Bill Blass Mark Vs.

This 1963 Pontiac limo was built by Superior, as noted by the small chrome plaque on the front fender. Who needs a minivan when you’ve got a nine-passenger coachbuilt sedan? This car is still a regular at these shows, I have many more recent pics of it.


But if you really needed a wagon, this 1957 Mercury Voyager fit the bill admirably. And lost no style points compared to a coupe or sedan, thanks to its pillarless hardtop design.

And I would be remiss to not include a shot of that oh-so-cool Buck Rogers-style interior. Perfect for seeking new life forms on Mars–or just going down to Kresge’s for charcoal briquettes…

The 1957-58 Mercurys are not very often seen at shows, but I love them. They are so distinctive, and I love the jet-intake front bumper, stylish dash, scalloped quarter panels and those 45-degree “angry” taillights. And in wagon form? Even better! This car was my favorite at the show.

There was a remarkably well-preserved ’70 Impala hardtop coupe too. Not quite as Broughamed-out as a Caprice, but nice.

The local branch of the Iowa Corvair Enthusiasts Club was out in force on this day, with several choice rear-engined Bowties in attendance.

I think this blue-on-blue ’64 was my favorite.

On second thought, this was my favorite Corvair. This second-gen version was just as nice as the ’64. As I recall, this was a final-year 1969 model.

Getting into the personal-luxury era, this 1974 Gran Torino Elite was very sharp in triple-black. The vintage Keystone wheels added to its appeal.

The interior was just as well-preserved. This instrument panel looks great with the extra gauges. Note that it has speed control as well. Yep, it’s fake wood, but I think it contrasts nicely with the black trim. These and their 1974-76 Cougar XR7 siblings were clearly designed as mini-Mark IVs.

Last but not least, we have this very original 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix. I talked to the owners and if I remember correctly, the wife’s parents bought this car brand-new. They were enjoying driving the car to shows and on nice days but at the time were thinking about selling it. I haven’t seen it since. So maybe they did!

It even had the original stereo with built-in CB microphone. The blue-on-blue colors drew me in as well. You all know I love the 1976-77 Cutlass Supreme coupes–especially in Brougham trim!–but I have a serious jones for the 1973-77 Grand Prix too–especially the ’73 and ’76.

Which reminds me, I took pictures of this just back in June of 2022. Another ’76, but a loaded two-tone, slick top LJ. It was fantastic, even had cornering lamps and the sport steering wheel! I should write it up one of these days.

So, until next time, keep warm, and remember, it’s only about four months until car show season resumes!

4 Replies to “Sycamore Mall Car Show: Setting the Wayback Machine to Iowa City, Summer 2012”

  1. John C.

    I agree with Tom how nice that Desoto is. One can imagine real life versions of “Happy Days” Howard Cunningham, just a blue collar manager of a small hardware store, dreaming of having one once Ritchie and Joannie are up and out, having gotten good and long service from the family Desoto, even after Fonz and Ritchie drag raced it. Happy Days was written from the point of view of the fifties kids, so never thought to include the amount of economic progress that Howard would have experienced, so how lucky Richie and Joannie were in comparison. A story that might have been worth a episode or two in the long run. Not Garry Marshal’s priority with the show, but beats Fonz jumping the shark.

  2. Josh Howard

    Great selection of images. Man, it’s crazy to see some of these now. People really changed what they’re collecting or preserving.

  3. Sobro

    The Mercury Voyager front end looks like it Kirby up every speck of dust in its way. I do like the clean rear end of that wagon.

    In this episode, I think I’d take home the B’ville limo. Then use it as an Uber XL.

  4. ArBee

    The interiors of those 1976 Grands Prix are gorgeous. I think I could live in those cars. When my boss at that time retired in 1977, he bought himself a new GP in two-tone blue. Beautiful car, and he kept it until he died in the early Nineties. But if I could take one of these cars home, I think it would be the practical 1970 Impala, which I prefer to the “flossier” Caprice. Chevrolet had a sure sense of what Americans wanted in the Fifties and Sixties.


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