At the heart of every good car show is an active car club, but what happens when an incredible 57 clubs get together on the same weekend? The result is one of the nation's largest annual collector car events: the April 2-5 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Now in its second year as part of AutoFair, the Antique Automobile Club of America's National Spring Meet will feature more than 600 of the country's most beautiful classic cars, ranging in model year from 1896 to 1984. The historic "show within a show" is hosted by the Hornets Nest Region of AACA and takes place on Saturday.

"There are 400 very competitive regions and chapters of AACA in the country, but only 18 National Meets," said Mel Carson, region event director for AutoFair. "The good news is that we were able to make this meet a permanent part of the spring AutoFair event."

AACA is the largest organization in the country dedicated to the enjoyment of antique automobiles, with more than 60,000 members in 50 states and 50 countries. Its judging rules, which reward owners for restoring or preserving their cars to original factory condition, have set the standard for the hobby since the club's inception in 1935. Because AACA considers any vehicle older than 25 years of age to be an antique, its shows reveal the broad spectrum of American auto production, from steam-powered three-wheelers and Model Ts all the way to '60s muscle cars and Corvettes from the early '80s. AACA's National Meets attract the cream of the crop, allowing the public rare access to magnificent hand-crafted creations of the '20s and '30s from Lincoln, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Auburn, Duesenberg and Cadillac.

The 500 members of the Hornets Nest Region of AACA have organized and managed the AutoFair's car show and swap meet activities since 1977; the Charlotte-based group secured a National Meet for the first time in 2008.

An additional 56 clubs, with members driving from all over the United States to attend, will display cars on Saturday and Sunday of AutoFair.

"Between the open car corral and the support from these car clubs, we'll have more than 4,000 cars on the speedway's grounds at any given time throughout the weekend," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway. "We get car clubs from all over the Carolinas and the East Coast wanting to be a part of AutoFair, and their enthusiasm sets the tone for a great show every time."

A sampling of the car clubs participating in the spring Food Lion AutoFair include the BMW Club of America, Capitol City Corvette Club, Carolina Classic Pontiac Club, CORSA (Chevrolet Corvairs), Euros at the Fair (foreign exotics), Horsepower Junkies, Mini Motoring Club of the Carolinas, Plymouth Owners Club, Southern Performance Ford Club and Southern Scouts.

The spring Food Lion AutoFair annually attracts more than 120,000 visitors. It features more than 10,000 vendor spaces that offer a huge array of automotive parts and memorabilia.

More than 2,000 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway.

Food Lion 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 while children 12 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5.

For more information, contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit