Concord Resident to Show "Starsky and Hutch" Car
The 1974 Ford Gran Torino Concord resident Shari Johnson is bringing to Lowe's Motor Speedway for the April
12-15 Food Lion AutoFair will bring back fond memories for many baby boomers. That's because Johnson's Gran Torino features a bright red paint scheme with a large white stripe and is identical to the car detectives Dave Starsky and Ken Hutchinson used to chase down criminals in the hit 1970's television program "Starsky and Hutch."
"I grew up watching that show," Johnson said. "Starsky and Hutch were like my heroes." Johnson grew up with a love for automobiles which eventually led her into stock car racing where she competed in the NASCAR Sportsman division during the late 1980s and early '90s. When the opportunity arose two years ago to purchase a "Starsky and Hutch" replica, Johnson was able to combine her two passions.
"When we bought the car, it was already a 'Starsky and Hutch' car," she explained. "But it wasn't in good shape, so we stripped it down and started over, rebuilding it to what you see today."
Since purchasing the car, Johnson and her husband, Tommy, along with help from several friends, have completely restored it to match the model featured in the 1974 television premiere of "Starsky and Hutch."
The restoration project included replacing the original engine with a 351-cubic-inch powerplant, installing black leather upholstery and black carpet; and adding numerous details such as a two-way radio and police lights. When showing the car, Johnson places a sweater worn by Starsky, a Huggy Bear hat and a police badge inside the car.
Johnson's car has received many awards, including Best Overall Appearance at the "Starsky and Hutch" reunions held in Carlisle, Pa., and Evansville, Ind. The Gran Torino has also earned numerous local and regional car show awards including Best Classic Car, Best Special Interest Car, Best Paint and Best All-American Car.
"Everyone can relate to this car," Johnson replied when asked why she chose to restore a "Starsky and Hutch" car. "Whether it's individuals who grew up watching the show or individuals who saw the movie, this car brings back fond memories for everyone."
Johnson's "Starsky and Hutch" replica will be on featured during the final two days of the Food Lion AutoFair as part of the East Coast Cruisers Car Club's display.
Other attractions scheduled for the Food Lion AutoFair include an Evolution of the Stock Car exhibit; prized rides of NASCAR stars Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart; Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones' 2007 Cadillac ESV; and a real-life version of "Doc Hudson" from the animated hit movie "CARS."
The Food Lion AutoFair, the world's largest automotive extravaganza, attracts more than 160,000 visitors and features 50-plus car club displays, more than 10,000 vendor spaces and a collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack. More than 1,800 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.
AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., on Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5.
For information, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.