Roadtrip Remembering: History from the Highway

1957 Chevy Pickup

My husband and I took our kids to North Carolina to drop them off for the summer with family a few days ago, and we drove, like always. It’s a 12 hour trip each way, but we don’t mind, the scenery is great – Audis, Corvettes, Camaros, Lexus, Mercedes, and Porsches, just to name a few. This holiday we couldn’t help but place a greater emphasis on the American Classics still rolling down highways.

After a tumultuous past few years, I, for one, am happy to see the original car manufacturers are still here. General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler still showcasing great innovations and designs, even if they are evolved from their humbled beginnings.

This road trip was great, it put us smack in the middle of a group driving to some unknown car show in northern Florida. The parade of classics that passed us included a jet black ’57 Chevy Bel Air. The kids “oohhed” and “aahhed” from the back seat as it purred passed us. The sleek lines of the curvy body reflected sunlight off of every polished chrome accent. The tail fins on the back reminded us of the ocean we were leaving behind for the mountains. The silver haired man behind the wheel threw his hand up at the ogling kiddos in our car- all 4 of us.

Following behind the Bel Air was a deep purple ’69 Chevy Camaro. The stark white racing stripes flanked the sides of the small scoop on the hood, continued over the top, and then onto the deck lid where the finished at the subtle spoiler. A rolling classic driven by a happy woman; we laughed as we watched her dancing to a song we couldn’t here.

57 Chevy Bel Air

The third exhibit in this rolling museum was a ’67 Ford Mustang. I’m not a big Mustang fan, but the 67 is a fine specimen. The round headlights and the oval grill with the pony in the middle along with the accents under the door became iconic Mustang attributes.

We sat there in our HHR watching the history pass when suddenly our view was interrupted. Muscling in between us was a 2011 Dodge Challenger. The blacked out beast was a monstrous tribute to its predecessor from 70’s. The windows were also dark as the night, hiding the driver. We thought about whom it might be, my youngest said the President.

While our thoughts were occupied by reasons for the upcoming Fourth of July they quickly became consumed with the history of Detroit that we humbly joined on the great open highway. Take time this Fourth holiday to remember the soldiers who have ensured our freedoms over the past 235 years, but also the great American muscle that has carried us along the way. Happy Fourth of July.

1969 Chevy Camaro

Mandie Rainwater

Mandie Rainwater

Contributor
Mandie has been a car lover since she was 16. She went into the automotive parts business while still in high school where she spent the next 15 years. In addition to the auto parts aftermarket, she also held management positions at with dealerships (such as Nissan, Ford, and Freightliner), and worked in the auto body/collision field. Mandie received her first ASE certification in 2000. She was given the North Carolina Trucking Association Maintenance Council's Person of the Year award in 2001. Among the vehicles Mandie has owned are 1984 Buick Regal, 1984 Buick Grand National, 1975 Ford Mustang, 2006 Suzuki SV600s, numerous other SUV's, cars, and minivans.
Mandie Rainwater

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