The Daytona Spring Turkey Run, initially an annual classic car event held only on Thanksgiving weekend, has grown in popularity to include a spring event, as well. This combination swap meet, manufacturer’s midway, car corral, and car show is held at the Daytona Speedway, where spectators, buyers, or sellers indulge themselves in all-things automotive.
On display In the infield, against the backdrop of palm trees and the Speedway’s high banked tri-oval track, rows of colorful classic cars and hot rods welcomed in the springtime. Along with the usual crowd favorites, there were a few unique classics, which included some customized cars that set them apart from all the rest. Here are five that caught my attention in this field of dream cars.
Hemi Cuda Convertible
This Sassy Grass Green Cuda, with a white top and white interior was drop dead gorgeous. Although not an original, numbers-matching convertible, its homage to the 11 original Hemi Cuda convertibles built in 1971, makes this car one of the most sought after muscle cars around. Originals have recently sold for well above $1 million, which raises the price bar for all look-alike Cuda convertibles, like this one.
The Pontiac Trans Am became extinct after 2002, but among the other show cars, I saw a late model Firebird, complete with the Screaming Chicken hood graphics. This car shouldn’t exist, right? Actually, this particular car began as a new generation Camaro, but the front and rear was skillfully modified to look like a 1970s-style Trans Am. Painted snow white and upgraded with large custom wheels, this Firebird was a well-executed modern recreation of a legendary Pontiac classic.
The outrageous 1970 Plymouth Superbirds may not have been commercially successful when they were initially introduced, but their limited number and race-ready appearance have made them a regular at many classic car events. So, I wasn’t surprised when I spotted a Plum Crazy Purple Superbird, although the color seemed out of place for this unique Mopar. When I stepped a little closer, I recognized it as a well-disguised late model Dodge Challenger, all dressed up in Plymouth Superbird gear. Its up-to-date body style makeover, with the signature drop nose front end and towering rear spoiler looked ready for some hot laps around the Daytona track.
As I was checking out the various car clubs at the show, I saw what appeared to be a red Ferrari 308 GTS parked inside the Ferio Club. Why, you might ask, would this Italian sports car, made famous by the Magnum PI television series, be hanging out with American-made Pontiacs? Initial impressions can certainly be misleading, since this car was a Pontiac Mera, which is a very special model Ferio. Only 247 of these cars were built in 1987 and 1988. Based on the world Mera Registry, there are less than 80 known survivors – – a rare find by anyone’s assessment.
The Mercury Cougar has always had to struggle for recognition against its sibling, the more popular Mustang. However, a Cougar with the Eliminator package, which this one had, always gets my attention. This bright blue 1969 Eliminator also had something else that made it particularly special — the words “Boss 302” on the lower rocker panel. Although Boss 302 engines were widely known to be in race-bred Mustangs, a limited number of 1969 Cougars also had them – 169 to be exact. The owner confirmed this was a numbers-matching Cougar Boss 302, with only 44,000 miles. Since I’ve never seen one of these cool cats before, I wonder how many more of them still exist.