Kaiser-Frazer Convention goes 'on the road' visiting Logan County's Route 66 sites

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[July 12, 2016]  LINCOLN / ATLANTA - This year the 58th Annual National Convention of the Kaiser-Frazer Owners Club International is being held in Springfield. On Monday the owners of these vintage automobiles took their convention on the road visiting Logan County via the Great Mother Road, Route 66.

A group of approximately 50 vehicles traveled over Route 66 in two groups. Making a stop first in Lincoln to visit the Railsplitter Covered Wagon and then moving on to Atlanta for an excellent buffet meal at the Palms Grill.

Among the vehicles were cars from all across the United States, as well as at least one from Great Britain. Surveying the license plates, cars came from New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Arizona, Massachusetts, and other states. Talking with some of the folks as they enjoyed their lunch, one owner said he was from California, but he was attending the convention without his Kaiser.

The Kaiser-Frazer Automobile Company was in production between the years of 1947 and 1955. The cars were rolled off as family sedans. But there were also the unique and innovative cars such as the Henry J, and the sporty and sexy Darrin, and Darrin Convertible.

While in Lincoln, the cars were parked in a long row in the American Legion parking lot. Some owners popped their hoods so curious passers-by could stop by and take a look at what was under the hood. Others showed off the unique elements of their vehicles, such as the pocket doors on the Darrin Convertible. The drivers gathered around the wagon and enjoyed photo ops with fellow car owners while taking a closer look at Mr. Lincoln and his magnificent mode of wagon transportation.

In Atlanta, drivers filled the parking lot behind the Palms Grill and overflowed into available spaces along the streets. Again, they were anxious to show off their cars to anyone who wished to take a peek. Some of the more interesting aspects were the concept of air conditioning. One model housed a giant cooling unit in the front floorboard, while at least one had the option exterior mounted AC that somewhat resembled the engine of a jet airplane, in smaller versions of course.

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The cars were scheduled to arrive in Atlanta sometime after 11:30 a.m. By 11 a.m., local folks were gathering around town, waiting to catch a glimpse of the classic cars. When they came into town, it was like a parade with drivers waving out their windows and after parking, stopping to talk to those who had come out to see the cars and welcome the owners to the community.

Bill Thomas of Atlanta met the first group under the large shade tree near the Route 66 Museum and shared with them some of the attractions of the town that might be of interest to the visitors.

Several drivers enjoyed having their pictures taken with the Paul Bunyon statue, visited some of the unique shops in town, then settled down for a good meal in the large back room at the Palms. The Palms Grill is a unique offering in Logan County. It calls back to remembrance the days when the Mother Road was a main route across the United States because it was a part of that legacy then, and still is today.

The Kaiser-Frazer car owners will be in Springfield through Thursday of this week.

[Nila Smith]

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