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AACI Autumn Nationals
Part of the Mustang line-up
One of the last, big American car gatherings of the year took place on September 21-23, at Billing Aquadrome, when the American Auto Club International hosted its Autumn Nationals. Sadly, though, from a spectator's point of view, the turnout was not huge – probably because the rival American Auto Club was holding a similar event just down the road on the same weekend. As a result, what you got was a very diluted field of show cars mixed in with the normal selection of trade stands, most of which, as usual, had little, or nothing, to do with the American car scene.
Tony Pitt's one-off Stingray recreation
One car in particular we'd been looking forward to seeing for some time, though, was a hand-built Stingray, modelled on a US racer from 1959/1960, and built by the team at Corvette Kingdom for owner, Tony Pitt. It uses a custom fibreglass body, fitted to a 1978 Corvette chassis, and is powered by a 350 Chevy crate motor driving through a GM TH350. The amount of work that's gone into this project is awesome, and the whole car is finished to an extremely high standard.
A virtually standard car that really caught our eye was a 1961/62 Buick Skylark. It was a very compact model for an American car of this era – about the same size as an equivalent Falcon or Nova – and yet so different in the looks department, with lovely, two-door coupe styling. What a great shape for a mild custom project!
Pretty stock Buick Skylark with non-standard wheels
In among the stock Yanks, which seemed to be mostly from the ’50s through to the present day, there was the odd smattering of street rods, plus plenty of stock pick-up trucks, Mustangs and Mopars of various vintages, and some lovely old American barges from the ’60s. There were prizes for all categories at the end of the day, and although the promised wet weather held off throughout Sunday, the prospect of it seemed to put a lot of people off, as the showground emptied rather quickly – long before the prize giving was over, in fact.
There were some great Mopars on show including this mint Plymouth Road Runner
By way of an editorial comment, we think it would be great to see the AACI and AAC UK put aside their differences in 2008, and merge once more, in order to present a strong, unified front for the American car hobby in this country rather than the necessarily diluted situation that currently exists with the individual organisations.
Story & photos: Andy Kirk
Stuart Dawson's coupe was a show winner
This Chevy truck was spot on to our eyes
The owner of this pristine '55 Chevy convertible picked up a trophy...
...as did the driver of this Model A
One bad black Fleetside
The Sunshine Coupe is one hot rodded Model A. Not sure if the term refers to the fact that the car has no roof
Don't you just love these old barges - Plymouth on the left and Pontiac on the right
Immaculate Dodge Polara was a highlight