ANN ARBOR — Visitors to the 2015 Rolling Sculpture car show here likely had no idea it took Richard Doggart of Royal Oak 20 minutes to put down the top of his restored 1938 Chrysler Imperial convertible.
And that when the show was over and they were heading home or out for a late supper, Doggart would need 30 minutes to get it back up.
The convertible design, Doggart said, required removing the Chrysler’s B pillars (which he stored in the trunk) before lowering the top. The floor of the ’38 was built up close to 6 inches as part of the convertible design and a need for vehicle stability.
“If the driver is tall, even though the seat slides forward and back, it is difficult to use the pedals,” said Doggart, who has owned the convertible for a year.
Not surprisingly, Chrysler ceased offering the complicated ’38 convertible sedan, with Dietrich design and Murray body, the following model year.
“I actually was looking for a Cadillac when I found this for sale in Idaho,” Doggart said. “It had been restored. The car features a front sway bar, a rear track bar, a 298-inch straight eight and a three-speed transmission with Borg-Warner overdrive.”
It’s fitting that many if not most of the cars at the annual early July Rolling Sculpture car show are distinguished by their beautiful or unusual profiles: cars like a stunning 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE, a black 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado with red pinstriping, a 1970 Cougar XR-7 convertible, a Clenet and a 1963 Avanti.
General Motors dealer Bill Crispin was showing his flawless 1956 Chevrolet 3100 Cameo pickup and an endless 1959 Cadillac Estate convertible. Crispin, of Saline, Mich., was both showing his vehicles and drumming up interest in a charity car show he was planning for the following month at the Saline dealership.
Crispin enjoys owning the Chevy truck, which he found in Tupelo, Miss., and the bright-red Cadillac. But he doesn’t work on them himself.
Pat Macoska of Ann Arbor is a hands-on collector who likes to restore and upgrade his classic cars. An architect and musician, Macoska changed the transmission on his 1963 Avanti from a three- to a four-speed with overdrive. The sleek coupe is powered by a 289-inch V-8 and a four-barrel carburetor that helps create its 240 horsepower.
“It drives pretty well,” he said. “I bought the car in 2011 from a used-car dealer in State College, Pa. It has had one re-painting.
“There were a total 4,643 of these Avantis produced for the 1963 and 1964 model years,” Macoska said. Its fiberglass body on a Studebaker Lark frame shows what Macoska said were typical fit-and-finish issues. Each Avanti was the product of 139 separate parts, he said.
All Nick Zakarian’s 1964 Mercury Colony Park wagon needed was a family. The Dearborn resident packed vintage luggage and coolers in the upscale wagon with a 390-inch, 300-horsepower engine with four-barrel carburetor, power steering and power brakes.
A member of a national station wagon owners club, Zakarian said of his Colony Park: “I drive it as much as I can.”