A Lone Show In January

Not much going on lately. Halloween,  Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s have come and gone. It’s cold, gloomy and dreary here in the Quad Cities. And my favorite local Lincoln dealer, Strieter, just sold out to out of towners.

I consoled myself by going to La Rancherita for homemade chips, pico de gallo and a steak burrito.

Fortunately there’s a lone beam of hope in the form of the rod and custom show, held at the QCCA Expo Center in downtown Rock Island.

Since last spring, I’ve been happily working for the insurance company in claims, and one fringe benefit is we close at 1 PM on Friday.

And the car show started at noon this past Friday. A retired friend of mine, Allen, called a couple weeks ago to remind me; I’d forgotten.

We made plans to go Friday afternoon, as it gets super busy Friday night and all day Saturday. So I clocked out, hopped in the car, picked him up and made our way to the show.

It was refreshingly quiet, with ample time and space to get good photos of the cars on display. As you’d expect I zeroed in immediately on this curiously hued 1976 Electra Limited Landau coupe.

I’d seen it a couple years earlier at the Port Byron car show, but at the time someone was sitting in it, so I hesitated to take more than a couple photos. But now I had free reign to take a ton, ha ha.

It was entirely original, bone stock and appearing unrestored, which made me wonder if it was special ordered in orange. One could do such things back then, for an extra charge. Anyway I loved it. I’d add whitewalls and drive it proudly.

It was a nice variety of original and custom cars. Something for everyone. Also a lot of late model stuff, which I walked right past to take pictures of more interesting Crown Victorias, Bel Air sedans and such.

I really loved this 93-94 Crown Vic. It was loaded with blue leather and the Mark VII LSC style BBS alloys.

Remember when Ford made actual, attractive sedans and not ugly boogers like the “Mock” E electric Mustang? Pepperidge Farm remembers.

Anyway it was a nice break, seeing some interesting cars and not having to deal with winter! Still three months until car show season resumes!

19 Replies to “A Lone Show In January”

  1. John C.

    Tom, this was the response I was hoping for from my question in the previous thread. Thank you!

    That Lincoln with the comrade Lenin hood ornament sort of gets my goat. It is bad enough that half of the baby boom generation had to destroy the ability of Detroit to build cars for a gilded age. Even if the reality was already setting in that your personal gilded age had to be enjoyed in a cocoon brought to you by Lord Brougham.

    Now all these years later they have to take on of the few survivors and turn it into an ironic end times Antifa battlewagon. Cosplayers stink.

    • Erik

      You said it better than I could. Certainly is heartbreaking to see what was done to what was once a lovely Town Coupe. No undoing that horrible act of vandalism.

      Otherwise, looks like a fun show. That Crown Vic with pseudo BBS’ caught my eye right away also. Looks ready for some long, comfy days on the interstates. Heartbreaking that America no longer creates one real full size sedan.

      • Tom Klockau Post author

        Yes, I just stood there in shock that someone did that to a Continental coupe. Hopefully it was a terminal rustbucket.

        • Erik

          The worst I had seen was the horrible paint work someone had done to a late 60’s Caddy convertible. I wish it was possible to attach pictures here. It was truly dreadful. But that Lincoln is in a totally different league.

  2. John Van Stry

    I had a ’70 cuda years ago. Bought it from a friend and sold it when I went into the service.
    There are times I wish I still had that car.

  3. LynnG

    Tom, on the color of the Electia, according to the 1976 Buick Color Chart, Fire Craker Orange,Code U, was available in 1976, but only for Sky Hawk and Sky Lark. However, if the data plate shows 000 for Paint or is blank for Paint then that means someone did a special order and the factory painted this Electra Coupe a Sky Lark/Hawk color which was possible for like you said, an extra charge. Interesting in that the car is loaded with options and was well cared for. IMHO, the 1976 Buick dash is the best design for the last of the full size. Much nicer then the Oldsmoble and I like it better then the deVille dash.

    • Erik

      Any idea what that 1975 dark brown was named? Was the tan vinyl roof a regular option? I don’t recall seeing that combo again.

      • LynnG

        Erik, the 1975 Brown on the Electria was named Walnut Mist, Code R, the recommended top colors were: Black, White, Dark Brown, and Sand Stone (Tan). The vinyl top was an option but almost every full size car had a vinyl top, as a stand alone option or part of an option package. Very rare to see a slick top in a mid seventies full size Electria, Olds 98, or deVille although they exist but not many.

    • Carmine

      It looks very similar to the Flame Orange they had on the Skylarks in the early 70’s, I think it might be a special order color from the factory, its even orange inside the fender where the filler is missing.

  4. David Florida

    Great write up, Mr Klockau. That Electra is special; an acquaintance of my youth had a similar sedan in a light green with white interior. Think spring!

    • Erik

      Those Electras will always be special to me too. I learned to drive in my dads 1975 Electra Limited, dark brown with a tan vinyl roof. Not the car that my dads 1981 Limited was, but it made 135,000 miles before he finally gave up the battle with rust. Was replaced by a dreadfully unreliable, 5 speed, Audi 5000.

      • John C.

        Erik, I am interested in the mindset that would replace an Electra with a 5 speed 5000. I understand that the generation had early life experience with stick shifts and listened less to wives than we do. Were they buying the 5000 for it’s style or because they thought that Detroit had been hopelessly compromised by who was gunning for them?

        • Erik


          To be honest, I think the idiot son had a lot to do with it.

          And to answer your questions, neither was the the motivating factor.

          Audi at that time, late 70s to early 80s, seemed very much the future. Gas prices jumped dramatically. FWD was the thing. The Audi was shockingly roomy, with a huge trunk, in a much smaller package. It seemed a smart move. Add to that, my parents had been raised in Estonia, and viewed German made products as superior in quality. Were that only the case…

          The 5 speed seemed a non-issue. I don’t know that my dad approached it with any joy, but rather just accepted it as part of the deal. His last manual transmission car was a 1962 Corvair, and that ranked amongst his favourites of the many cars he had.

          After the Audi fiasco (amongst very many other things, 7 times in a couple of months at the dealer to get the shift linkage fixed), the car choices became more understandable. His round trip to work was now 70 miles, so some gas savings were appreciated. I managed to narrowly avoid the great disaster of us getting a Town and Country Wagon (a car I now look on with fondness), then we almost got a 6000 STE, but settled in with a Mercury Sable. Other than a flighty transmission, that went unrebuilt from cradle to grave, and some corrosion issues, the Sable was a very nice car. My dad was either getting close to retirement, or retiring, at that time, so the accumulation of mileage slowed down. For his last two cars, he got an Intrepid and a Concorde. Both solid machines.

          All through his life, he had a passion for Cadillacs. It’s the one car he wanted but never got.

          • John C.

            Interesting commentary Erik, thanks. I have heard that before that in the Slavic east the German product was assumed to be the best. I have a Russian born sister in law, and she has her children call their American grandfather Opa, like I called my German maternal grandfather. To her everything foreign to Russia is German.

  5. JMcG

    I feel your pain, Tom. As I was buying my last car, there were guys taking down signage from my local family-owned Ford dealer. It had been bought by one of those multi-brand, sixteen location mega dealers. Worse, the very ones who had tried to tell my late mother that her car needed a new computer when all it needed was a battery.
    It’s disheartening that it seems that nothing ever seems to get better any more.
    Still, we must fight on cheerfully.

  6. Frightastic

    The Animal House homage car made me chuckle. Thanks for all the pix, Tom. Don’t forget to tip your bartender 😉


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