After a bustling, hectic, and excitement filled Saturday at the Ducktail Run, we from the Afterburner Crew turned our sights towards Fairmont, Indiana once again the next day. The target this time though, the annual James Dean car show. This day however, was promising to be a more relaxed and laid back affair. After the crowds and insanity that was experienced the previous day at Ducktail Run, we sure needed a pallet cleanser.
Even before we entered the show grounds we spotted this stunning MG-A. It’s black curvaceous exterior and Ox-Blood red interior were the perfect way to set off on a day of exploring a sector of American car culture that we haven’t really touched on before.
Now the theme of the show was centered around cars that were popular during the time when the late James Dean was just hitting his stride in his film, and motorsports careers. Before he met his unfortunate and untimely death at the hands of a Porsche 550s. I don’t know when the exact cutoff date for the production of cars that were allowed into the show, but if I had to hazard a guess, it was sometime around the mid 60’s.
However, there seemed to be a lot of a certain type of car that was in attendance, something we’ve seen before, but never gone into great detail before. We’ve encountered plenty of 50’s style custom coupes and sedans before, but not this many in one place. In the little central rotunda in the park where the show was held, sat a gaggle of Mercury Kustom Coupes in all shapes, colors, and ride heights.
The third generation of the Mercury Eight was introduced in 1949 in three different body styles: coupe, sedan, and wagon. While all have had their time in the hotrodding spotlight, none have been made as famous as the Coupe. The car became a staple of Mercury’s post-war style and demeanor. Made famous by hotrod shops the world over, the Mercury Coupe is a figurehead of a bygone era in American automotive culture. After a stroll through the group of cars, guaranteed, there would have been at least one there that tickled your fancy.
Slight roof chop, fully raked chop, or stock roof. You could walk around, have a gaze at all of them, and choose which one that you would prefer. They all look awesome, but I’m a big fan of the full chop. They look so mean when dropped to the dirt with the roof line, almost as low as the waist line of the body. There were plenty of different styles of paint too. From pearls, to mattes, to bright flame jobs. I don’t know whether or not that I am a fan of the Lake pipes, the side exit exhausts, but, the more I look at them, the more I like them.
We could’ve spent all day in that little circle, debating the finer points of these amazing creations, but we’ll save that for a later time. For now though, there was plenty more to see. We continued our stroll through the show, passing plenty of interesting and amazing rides. From the seldom seen, and rarely for sale Cosworth Vega, to Mopars of all shapes and sizes.
One thing I was happy to see though, was some of the ’32 Ford Coupes that we had seen the previous day at Ducktail. With as tame as the show was, and without the massive crowds, I was able to get up close and pour over every little detail of the cars. These are another car that is really growing on me. I might just have a go at customizing one sometime in the future.
The sheer spectrum of cars there was enough to keep you busy for many hours.
After a quick break for some ice cream, we walked over to the two James Dean themed museums located in the town of Fairmont. There was also, a fair going on the main street of the town. Where you could get plenty of fried foods, interesting knick-knacks and rides to induce the vomiting up of said fried foods.
After we had our fill of the museums and the rest of the town, we walked back to Brenden’s Subaru and drove back up to Fort Wayne. We enjoyed a laid back and beautiful late Indiana summer day walking around Fairmont. If you have the chance to go next year, check it out! In case you’ve missed it, here’s our Vlog about our trip!