When I hosted several VIP tours through the Washington Auto Show, my eyes were opened to the mix of people that enjoy cars. And the people that love them. It turns out that just because your husband or wife or son or daughter loves everything about cars, you may not follow suit.
During the course of these tours, I met boyfriends who brought their girlfriends, girlfriends who bought surprise tickets for their boyfriends, long-suffering wives who tag along with their husbands, moms and dads bringing their car-loving sons, and my favorite moms who brought their car-loving daughters.
My goal was to make it a fun experience for everyone even if they don’t happen to be a gearhead or car enthusiast. And hopefully, I did that (because many of them actually stayed until the end of my grueling 2 1/2 tour!).
But cars can be fun in other ways. It’s not just about the latest model of this or that. It’s about checking out cars that are out of the ordinary. Maybe they’re one of kind cars or featured in a movie or TV show. Or maybe they’re a level of luxury that most of us don’t typically get to experience. Or maybe they’re just crazy cars that are fun to look at.
When I recently attended the Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, I stumbled across a little display of cars that simply made me smile. It was a small collection of cars from Klairmont Kollections, touted as Chicago’s only museum quality car collection and premier event space.
Klairmont Kollections “is the prized possession of Larry Klairmont, a highly decorated and proud WWII Veteran and successful businessman. Klairmont Kollections has over 300 eclectic and/or award winning vehicles from the early 1900s to present day.”
While I didn’t get a chance to visit the museum during my short trip to Chicago (they’re typically open Thursday and Sunday 10am to 4pm), I did get a chance to delight over some of the coolest and weirdest cars I’ve seen in a long time. Let me show you a few.
Okay, “Custom Lowrider” was not the actual name of this car. I missed the signage although I really just want to call it the car the Jetsons would drive if they lived in the South Side of Chicago.
This actually is a custom car (obviously) and yes, there are wheels under there. There’s a lift kit installed so this car can actually be drive. In fact, it was! That’s how they got them to the showroom floor!
1959 Cadillac Broadmoor Skyview
If you’re thinking this looks longer than any Cadillac you’ve ever seen and any family stationwagon you’ve ever ridden in, you’d be right. This is the Cadillac Broadmoor Skyview and it was used exclusively as a passenger shuttle for The Broadmoor Hotel, a luxury building in Chicago built in the early 1920s. If you look closely, you’ll see FOUR rows of seating. Maybe an early inspiration for a minivan?
1948 Lincoln Continental
I didn’t get much of a story about this one but thought it was such a piece piece of automotive work, especially compared to the Lincoln Continental of today that’s making a comeback. While the name still means luxury, it has a different look back in 1948.
Before you get too excited, this is a replica of the Batmobile from the 1960s action series starring Adam West. But if I didn’t tell you that, I bet you wouldn’t have known. What makes this replica so fun is the ability to peek inside and imagine what a lower tech Batman might have driven while combatting his arch villains.
1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Aero Coupe
What caught my eye the most with this 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom was not the Rolls-Royce name. It was the unusual lines of the rear that almost made it a cartoonish version of the car styles of the day. Regardless of the “aero” look of the coupe, it’s clear that you would spot this as a luxury vehicle if it was rolling down the highway. Which it was.
Each of these cars was driven to the Chicago Auto Show and I could tell from talking to each staff member in attendance that they had both respect and enthusiasm about the cars they were representing. But when it came to the Rolls-Royce, I loved that the woman who drive it donned a glamorous, 1930s-style evening gown so that she would look the part behind the wheel. That’s my kind of girl.
If you get a chance to head to Chicago and want to spend a little time indoors, I’d take a chance on Klairmont Kollections. In fact, if there’s a specific car you’re looking to see in person, they have a Car Finder that lets you search their database to see if they house your favorite.
Next time I’m in Chicago, I’d love to see the Delorean, Maybach, and Plymouth Prowler (one of my all-time favorite cars!). If yo’ve been, I’d love to hear about your experience.