Cruisin’ in New Smyrna Beach
Volusia County is known for Daytona Beach and the Speedway found out near Interstate 95 – but there is much more to this coastal county that remains secret even to its residents. Volusia is about 1,400 square miles – two hundred square miles larger than Rhode Island. We have talked about the county seat – DeLand – in these blogs, but we haven’t explored New Smyrna Beach. We should.
This past weekend, the East Coast Cruisers Car Club celebrated its twentieth year on Canal Street in Downtown New Smyrna Beach with a great evening of hot rods, custom cars and unusual rides. And this isn’t just a once-a-year thing! The Canal Street Cruise is a regular event on the second Saturday of the month. If you haven’t been there, you need to put it on your calendar. This weekend was special – where else can you see great cars and have birthday cake!
It is difficult for me to name my favorites of the show. There were two replica Cobras there, both well built and looking great. I also have a thing for 33 Ford Hot Rods, and this group was well represented with some great examples. There was a new Challenger Hellcat sporting 707 horsepower factory supercharged Hemi. Mustangs, Camaros, and Firebirds were also in abundance.
TV/Movie cars made the scene too. I was surprised to see a replica Monkee-Mobile that was constructed for the Monkees 45th Anniversary tour, built from a GTO. A Trans-Am with Burt Reynolds’ signature on the dashboard accurately represented the black Firebird from Smokey and the Bandit, including the CB Radio and the BAN ONE Georgia tag. Next to Burt was the Good Ol’ Boys orange Dodge Charger, the General Lee.
One car that caught my attention was a mid-sixties Ford Falcon Gasser. For the uninformed, a “gasser” was a car built for the drag strip with a solid front axle, little front wheels, a small gas tank on the front bumper with just enough high-octane for the quarter mile, and a big supercharged engine. In looking this one over, though, I noticed something under the hood that didn’t look like it belonged there – an Air Conditioning compressor. Sure enough, this replica drag racer was cool, inside and out.
I was also impressed that this show had not one but two AMC Pacers, both highly modified with special paint and interiors, powered by big V8 engines. An AMC Javelin was also in attendance in all its glory. The “slammed” group along with the Rat Rods wererepresented by several vehicles “sitting on the ground,” including a beautiful Cadillac convertible and a couple of trucks – rusty ones, of course.
The people are the reason for the show, though. Friendly and outgoing, the folks at this show were of all ages and persuasions.
One special mention to a really nice guy with a great 1957 Ford Crown Victoria. Bob Genereux brought his great original car to the show, and was a delight to talk to about his car and his long life. He is a regular at many shows around the country, so if you see his car, look him up – and sit down and chat for a while. You won’t be sorry.
In all, this was a great show – but what came after the show was equally impressive. Across the river on the beachside is Flagler Avenue where you can find almost anything. We found Clancy’s Cantina, an old favorite with great Mexican food. Friday and Saturday nights are really busy, though, so plan ahead and hope that you can get a parking space.
So do you want a great time on the weekend while in the Daytona Beach area? Don’t forget to put New Smyrna Beach on your “must do” list!