9-18-11 PJ O’Reilly’s Cruise-In

Now that I have the LS1 engine in the Camaro, I was looking for someplace to drive to.  After checking Cruisin Carolina Magazine’s calendar, I saw that PJ O’Reilly’s was having their very first cruise-in.  PJ’s is on the south side on Charlotte in the Ballantyne area which is about an hour from my house.  Perfect.

Jim Olson of PJ’s helped my park my car and affixed a wrist band which gave me a 20% discount on food and drink.  After getting my car ready and visiting the facilities, I was ready to check out the cars.  For their first effort, they had a little over 20 cars.  Not huge, but not bad.  The restaurant was packed with patrons watching the many TV’s with football games going strong.  One TV was for NASCAR but the race was rained out.

One of the first people I met was Steve Moore of Steve Moore Chevrolet.   I had heard of Steve and knew he was a Camaro guy.  He brought his 2011 model with a modified motor and a Hotchkiss suspension.  Besides running the dealership, Steve also is an instructor for the NASCAR school at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Obviously, he can drive.  We talked about his car so much that I neglected to take photos of it!  And he bought me a beer!!  Nice guy!!

Parked next to his car was a 1967 Corvette that brought back memories.  Back in 1974 I bought a Marloboro Maroon ’67 with a 427/390HP with sidepipes.  This ’67 had the 435hp tri-power motor and turbine wheels, but was the same color combination as my old car.  I sold that car in 1976 for $5500!!!!!!  It was just a used car with a big motor that no one wanted after the gas prices spiked in 1973.

A 1947 Ford also caught my attention.  While this isn’t one of my favorite body styles, someone had stuffed (a very fitting word here) a SVT GT500 supercharged motor into the engine bay.  Very clean installation.  The interior was fabulous.  A very nice car.

There was also a 1962 Studebaker Lark with a 292V8.  Also a very nice and very rare car.  Next to me was a gen 5 Camaro on one side and an Opel GT on the other side.  Both also very nice cars.

Next to the Opel was a beautiful red ’68 Camaro.  Great car.  A 1971 GTO II based on a Nova platform was something I have rarely seen.  I asked the owner if he caught grief from earlier GTO owners and he did.  However, it was a very original car in great condition.

This 1968 Cadillac was very red and very long.  Made you want to take off for some distant destination just to enjoy the ride.  Besides the ’47 Ford, there was a very nice ’56, green and white and nicely done.  Another Ford was a ’34 that was for sale.  Looked like an interesting car to cruise in.

The 1952 Chevy truck was a period piece.  While the owner recently had new wiring and a new oak bed flooring installed, it had the patina of an old used truck.  And that patina was also present in the interior.  As I remarked to him, the truck smelled like they did back then.  My dad had a ’54 he bought new in 1955 and I still remember the smell.

There was a very nice ’64 El Camino.   Besides the Camaro’s, late model cars were represented by a Cadillac XLR and the closely related Corvette C5.

While the turnout was low, it was a great place to have the cruise-in.  There were plenty of opportunities for the ladies to shop with food, drink and restrooms available at PJ’s.  They are planning on having their event every third Sunday and I will try to make it there every so often.



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