Crusing Falkenberg, Sweden 2016

So…if you go to any car show in the US you will notice the complete lack of cars with fins. You know, pretty much anything made in America between 1957 and 1961.

1958 DeSoto

1958 DeSoto

Sure, there is the ever popular 1957 Chevrolet but other than that, fins cars are hard to find. You will see plenty of sixties cars and of course stockers and hot rods from the thirties.

1958 Dodge convertible

1958 Dodge convertible

So where did they all go?? The answer is…Sweden! Ever since the early seventies, the Swedes have had an insatiable appetite for the skyward rear ends and they have been importing anything with fins.

At one point in the seventies, the Swedish import harbor looked like a Sears parking lot in 1961.

The larger the fin, the more popular.

1959 Dodge

Anything Mopar is probably is probably on top of the list like this 1959 Dodge.

1959 Cadillac

Second on the list would probably be the 1959 Cadillac.  These bullet tail light equipped cars have been displayed in Swedish motor magazines ad nausea.

1958 Cadillac convertible

1958 Cadillac Convertible

1958 Dodge convertible

1958 Dodge Convertible

1958 Dodge Custom Royale

1958 Dodge Custom Royale

Another mind blowing event in Sweden’s car world is…cruising. So what, you say? We cruise here in the States don’t we? Yeah, we have the Woodward cruise and similar event but in Sweden the art of cruising is perfected.

1961 chrysler

1961 Chrysler

1963 Chrysler Imperial Convertible

1963 Chrysler Imperial Convertible. At 4840 lbs or 2400 kg for your metric dudes this car is not a lightweight. A 413 cu/inch V8 helps motivate this rare car only made in 531 examples.

1964 Ford Galaxie

My ride to the event: 1964 Ford Galaxie with a hot bog block and Tremec five speed. Could be worse.

1964 Ford Galaxie wrenching

Unlike today’s “solid state” cars, when you have a car with both carburetor AND distributor there will be some tuning and adjustments. In this case one of the plugs gummed up offering us a 7 cylinder ride. It was fixed quickly.

1969 Camaro wrenching

Then it was the Camaro’s turn. The tight fit in the engine compartment caused the firewall to push off one of the ignition wires resulting in another 7 cylinder car! Well, that was fixed as well and off we went.

When your humble editor lived in Sweden in the seventies I used to hang out with some guys that drove American cars. Yup, that is about forty years ago.  Then they all left the American cars behind and started families.  Now the kids are grown and it’s once again time to get behind the wheel of some Detroit iron.

The Gang in Sweden

From the left we have Claes and his son in law,  Roland and Jolo.

Wheels and Wings Falkenberg Sweden

It is hard to grasp the size of this meeting as the camera lens can not capture it all.

With a huge meeting like this, the local city gives up it’s street to organized cruising. Alcohol plays a large roll in cruising and in Sweden it is allowed to be consumed inside the car.  However,  the written (and unwritten) rule is that the driver never touch the stuff.

Crusing Sweden 2016

At this point, my mode of transportation had changed to a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible. This offers a 360 degree view of the cruising.

As the strong European beer and booze get consumed the passengers and spectators become more rowdy as the evening progresses. It goes on way in to the early morning.

Crusing Sweden 2016 Falkenberg

The whole town is shut down and the locals enjoy classic cars cruising all night long.

I could not think of a better way to spend time with my old cruising buddies. Good times, good times indeed!

Crusing Qatar…in a 1959 Buick Electra!

Qatar, officially the State of Qatar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in Western Asia, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the Arabian Peninsula.

We don’t hear much about this state in western news and you may be surprised that there is a strong interest in drag racing in Qatar. Also, they will host the 2022 World Cup in soccer and I am sure it will be a first class event. Maybe it was the drag racing part or something similar that attracted Mr. Khalifa Alhussaini to an American car. We do know he picked a good looking car.

Mr. Alhussaini from Qatar checked in with and he is showing off his super nice 1959 Buick Electra cruiser.

Qatar 1959 Buick Electra L side 1

Mr. Alhussaini tells us that he imported the car from New Your in 1988.

1959 Buick Electra 2 door hard top

Probably the best angle of the majestic 1959 Buicks. The Delta Wings.


Qatar 1959 Buick Electra side

The car is all original except a repaint in the Silver Birch Metallic color. It is a striking car.

In the word of Mr. Alhussaini: “There is no car like it here.. Catching the eye and twisting the necks”

Well, I bet! Thanks so much for sharing your Delta Winger Flyer with us.

Drive a vintage car, really!

1958 Impala front black

I drive a late model car during the work week because of business and I need something that can handle the hectic city traffic.

BUT…I can’t wait to park the car, and use exclusively vintage cars for evening and weekend enjoyment. Some days are more enjoyable than others, this turned out to be one of those days.

I was going up north to visit a friend on an island. Normally I would leave in the early morning on Saturday, but I was able to break away from work on a Friday mid afternoon. It was about 80 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. That about 27C for you metric dudes.

I opened the shop to get the 1958 Impala. There it was…almost two tons of American steel, stainless and chrome. Ever since I watched American Graffiti for the first time back in Sweden, I was determined to own one. Yes, I wanted a piss-yellow deuce coupe as well, but the American cars of the late fifties are something else. Unlike the Graffiti car, mine is black. The mostly original paint looks good twenty yards away, and the chrome is rather shiny.

1958 Impala lights

One thing it does have in common with the Graffiti Impala is the six 1959 Cadillac tail lights that replaced the original rear lenses. Also, the “poor mans lowering kit” (two laps off the front coils) ensures that it has a tasteful rake.

I take a seat in the black tuck and roll covered sofa, pump the throttle twice, and…ignition. The unmistakable burbling sound of an American V8 echoes between the walls. It is not hard to hear it, since all the windows are down. Other than a top down convertible, any American hard top looks at their best with all windows down.

1958 Impala rear

I back it out and leave it running while I close up the shop. When I get back to the car, the hot afternoon sun has already warmed up the metal and interior, justifying today attire: sandals, shorts and a T-shirt.

I slow down outside the house to waive good bye and then I hit the throttle about half way. The Tonawanda V8 lifts the left front fender a bit, as it effortless propels the heavy cruiser down the road. The 52 year old Powerglide shifts in to second gear, and we are on our way.

I roll through town and hit the freeway. I have a CD player hidden in the glove box, and I grab a CD in the pile. I find Eddy Meduza, a legendary Swedish rockabilly artist that unfortunately passed away too young. He enjoyed poking fun at common folks (himself included) as well as celebrities and politicians. He had a fondness for American cars motorcycles, and his songs reflected it. I pop in the shiny disc, and the first song is about a guy buying his first Chevrolet! How about that?! It is easy to enjoy the music, as the cabin even with all windows down is rather quiet, with virtually no buffering, even at freeway speeds. For some reason most American hardtops have very little wind buffering with the windows down. Try rolling down the windows on a Eurobox, and you get your head blown off.  I always wondered about that, did they design it that way, or was it just a fluke?

I have to get on a ferry in order to reach the island, and as I sit in line the usual interaction starts. People slow down to look at the car, and some folks come up and ask something. I get ready for the most common questions asked of a 1958 Impala owner: Does it have a 348?  Since it has a 283, it is one of those “I can’t win questions”…if I say, no, it has a 283, some folks walk away like I disappointed them or something. Sometimes I just lie, and say YES, of course it has a 348…and SIX Strombergs, Oh Yeah…

Owning an old car is a sure way of meeting people, if you want to be left alone, get an econo box.

I arrived at the island and continued up on a two lane black top that seemed to be made for a classic car drive. It was a GREAT day.

Have one yourself!

photo: Chris Shelton