By Megan Black, AAT Digital and Social Media Coordinator (Some content contributed)
Get ready to hit the road! Beginning on January 3, The Drive Home III vintage vehicle rally will travel from Boca Raton, FL to Detroit, MI for the opening of the North American International Auto Show in only 10 days. Entering its third year, this annual vintage vehicle winter road rally celebrates America’s motoring legacy throughout the country in the days leading up to the world’s premier international auto show, NAIAS.
Followers of previous years’ drives will recall the original three red vintage vehicles that traversed the snow and ice, first from Tacoma, WA in 2015-16 and then from Boston, MA in 2016-17. The 1957 Chevy Nomad, 1961 Chrysler 300G and 1966 Ford Mustang are taking a well-deserved break this year, but the new Drive Home fleet is bigger than ever. The convoy has grown to seven vehicles, including a Triumph Thruxton motorcycle provided by Ace Cafe Orlando, one of the stops along the way. A 2018 GMC Terrain support vehicle is the unofficial eighth car, which not only helps tell the story of modern motoring innovation but can also assist the older vehicles if needed.
Now, without further ado, we present The Drive Home III fleet.
America’s Automotive Trust – 2014 Triumph Thruxton ACE
The Ace Cafe gained notoriety as the biker hang-out in the early 1960’s and formed an instrumental piece of the cafe racer culture of the era. The new Thruxton Ace celebrates the rich association of Triumph’s history with the Ace Cafe.
The Thruxton Ace combines the silhouette of a true Triumph classic racer, with fabulous one-off Pure White and Jet Black paint livery reflecting Triumph’s long historical connection with the Ace Cafe. The bike is tastefully co-branded with Ace Cafe logos adorning the side panels, tank and tail section.
Engine: 865 cc Parallel Twin | # Produced: 1,500 Special Edition | Transmission: 5-speed manual
America’s Car Museum – 1972 Chevrolet El Camino
El Camino is Spanish for “the road” or literally, “the walk”. The Chevrolet El Camino was first introduced by the Chevrolet division of General Motors for the 1959-1960 model years to compete with Ford’s successful Ranchero. After a short break in production, Chevrolet introduced a revised El Camino for the 1964-1967 model years based on the Chevrolet’s successful Chevelle platform. In 1968, a redesigned El Camino was introduced utilizing the Chevelle station wagon four-door sedan wheelbase but sharing Malibu exterior and interior trims.
America’s Car Museum’s El Camino sports the optional “Strato” bucket seats and is equipped with factory air conditioning. Although based on corresponding Chevrolet car lines, the vehicles are actually classified and registered in North America as a truck.
Base Price: $2,694 | Engine: 350 cid V8 | # Produced: 50,359 | Horsepower: 175 HP | Transmission: 2-speed Powerglide automatic
RPM Foundation – 1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS
Chevrolet launched the Chevrolet Camaro for the 1967 model year as its version of the “Pony Car” and it caught everyone’s attention as soon as it hit the road. For 1969, Chevrolet’s designers created a sleeker look to the car by adding skinnier three-block taillights, moving the headlights all the way to the sides of the grille and giving the car a racier front fascia. It is largely considered one of the most beautiful cars of its time.
America’s Car Museum’s Chevrolet Camaro is equipped with the deluxe interior package. The color is the original Hugger Orange with the iconic black “hockey stick” front fender striping. The first generation Camaro Hugger Orange was a top pick by Hagerty Classic Auto Insurance for “Coolest Classic Car Color Ever”.
Base Price: $2,727 | Engine: 350 ci V8 | # Produced: 165,226 | Horsepower: 300 HP | Transmission: 4-speed manual
Club Auto & Hagerty – 1962 International Travelette
International Harvester began building trucks and farm equipment near the turn of the 20th century and, by the 1940s, the company was producing some of the hardest working pickup trucks in America. These trucks built a reputation for ruggedness and quality that made them highly desirable among farmers all over the world. IH engines were true truck engines and were built of massive heavy castings. Their increased weight meant lower gas mileage, but these vehicles were built to last.
While car companies built automobiles first and then adapted them into pickups, International Harvester did it the other way around. The company first built heavy-duty trucks, subsequently adapting them into pickups and large station wagons. International Harvester began offering larger passenger compartments on its pickups, too, like this six-passenger model, which was designed to accommodate a camper in the truck bed.
Base Price: $2,847 | Engine: 304 cid V8 | # Produced: 147,285 in 1962 | Horsepower: 193 HP | Transmission: 4-speed Manual
Concours Club & MFD Classic Motors – 1959 Plymouth Fury
This car was found on eBay in an estate sale in the state of Washington. When first noticed, we thought the mileage figure was an error. The true mileage was 4,700! It had been stored in a collection for over 27 years. It is thought to have one owner prior who purchased the car in Los Angeles.
The Sport Fury was the owner’s, Mike Fisher, first car and he had been looking many years for a suitable model to fill a longtime wish. This car was a true find. This Fury is totally original right down to the plastic that is still on the seats.
Base Price: $3,500 | Engine: 318 ci V8 | # Produced: 17,800 | Horsepower: 260 HP | Transmission: Push Button Auto Power Flite
Concours d’Elegance of America & Kettering University – 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville
The 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville is remembered for its large tailfins with dual bullet tail lights, two distinctive rooflines, roof pillar configurations, and it also has a new jewel-like grille pattern.
1959 is the first year in which the de Villes were classified as the 6200 series, moving away from the shared Series 62. There were more than 53,000 1959 de Villes sold, which accounted for more than a third of all Cadillacs.
In 1963, Kettering University Professor Reg Bell arrived on campus in his 1959 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. A restored version of the car was gifted to Bell to celebrate his 200th consecutive term teaching. The car was later gifted to Kettering by Bell’s estate.
Base Price: $2,847 | Engine: 325 ci | # Produced: 21,924 | Horsepower: 325 HP | Transmission: 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic
The NB Center for American Automotive Heritage – 1955 Chrysler C-300
So named because it was the first production car to offer 300 hp right off the showroom floor, the Chrysler C-300 reflected stylist Virgil Exner’s “Forward Look”. Styling highlights included the badges with the checkered flag treatment and the Exner-influenced rear quarter treatment. It left the factory equipped with a race modified 331 cubic inch Hemi V8 sporting dual four-barrel carburetors, the 300 quickly assumed near-mythical status.
This car was purchased from the John Staluppi collection, which had been sold new to Herman Wolff of Greeley, Colorado. After the car joined The NB Center collection, it was sent to Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte, NC, where it underwent a complete race chassis, including a lightweight 2016 Chrysler RT Hemi with matching overdrive automatic transmission.
Base Price: $4,055 | Engine: 5.7L Hemi V8 | # Produced: 1,725 | Horsepower: 395 HP | Transmission: 4-speed automatic with overdrive