Lake George, in upstate New York, has been the site of the Adirondack Nationals for 22 years, and man, what a beautiful place.
This area has been a vacation destination since the people started taking vacations in this country, and it still has some vestiges of an earlier time like really elaborate miniature golf establishments that are a complete throwback to the 50’s.
The 10-day weather forecast leading up to the show had shown four days of fairly crappy weather, a beautiful Saturday (which was the day we were planning to shoot), and then several more days of crappy weather. I was more than a bit skeptical of the nice Saturday when we flew into Albany on Friday, and you could see from the air that the entire area was covered with a fairly thick, unbroken cloud layer. This is usually a bad sign but to my amazement, the forecast turned out to be spot on, and we had an absolutely stunning day to shoot.
The event itself is held on the grounds of the Fort William Henry Resort, which has also been around for quite some time. It’s situated roughly at one end of the strip that is the town of Lake George and has a gorgeous view of the lake and the low mountains that surround it. And when you pack a little over 1550 show cars onto the 18 acre property, it looks even better!
One car that was hard to miss was a slammed ’63 Galaxy convertible that was electric blue with rainbow flake and a near-blinding white interior. It was a bit of a twist on the low rider thing which tends to lean more toward the full body Chevys of the same era, and in the bright sunlight it was almost a beacon. The car still had its original 289 engine which was also sort of surprising because most folks would have opted for the 390 in such a big, heavily optioned car.
And while I consider all T-buckets to be fairly insane, there was one in attendance that I would probably move to the head of that class. Built back in the 70’s, this baby was powered by a big block Chevy with three; count ‘em, three! quads. These were married to the engine with an ultra rare Weiand manifold, also from back in the day. Chromed out and polished to the max, with an orange/red interior that absolutely screamed. My guess, that’s also what passengers do when taken for a ride in this monster.
I came across a ’77 Pontiac CanAm which I had almost forgotten existed. They made fewer than 1400 of these, in part because they had problems with the tooling for the rear spoiler. The car also utilized the dash from the Grand Prix of that same year, but when the spoiler tooling broke, they decided to stop production of the CanAm and save the dashes for the better-selling Grand Prix. All CanAms were white with orange and red striping on the hood that turned it into a giant Pontiac arrowhead. They had the 6.6L engine and shaker scoop, interior door panels unique to the car, and the aforementioned Grand Prix dash. Overall, pretty late 70’s funky, but definitely unique.
One owner had done a really tasteful mild custom on a ’53 Vette. Most of the badging and other hardware had been removed but otherwise, the body was unmodified. The interior had been cleaned up too but was also still recognizable as period Vette. The paint was his own blend of an orange metal flake, and the whole car had sort of a Dreamcicle feel. It looked absolutely delicious. All the owner had started with was a body with no engine or running gear, he did the majority of the work himself, and I believe it was his first build. It was more than beginner’s luck tho; this guy was clearly talented.
Rounding out the cars that I highlighted was a ‘74 AMC Matador X. This was a completely original car, and it’s another one you don’t see every day. AMC’s are sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of automobiles having never gotten the respect they deserve, but I’ve always liked them. They certainly took some styling risks, not all of which worked out all that well, but the Matador X is a pretty interesting car that has lines you won’t see in any other American car of that era.
In addition to the great car show, the Adirondack Nats also boasts two nights of cruisin’ the strip in Lake George. The entire cruise was packed with spectators, and they were treated to a rolling car show that went on for three hours each night.
We had a great time, saw some killer cars and met some really good people. Our thanks to all the folks in the Albany Rods & Kustoms club who put on the Adirondack Nationals, the Fort William Henry Resort, and especially to Rick & Donna Brayman, the ARK members who led the charge for a couple years to get us there. Boy am I glad they did!