Endless Summer Atmosphere at AutoFair
Special displays slated for the nation's largest automotive extravaganza include a gathering of vintage wood-bodied station wagons, the Ultimate Surfmobile from Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" and an amazing Ford Model A pickup truck covered with a history of cartoon characters.
If America's fun-in-the-sun obsession with surfing, sunbathing and rock 'n' roll music has an official vehicle, it is the woodie. A special Food Lion AutoFair exhibit will include a variety of wood-bodied manufacturers and styles, such as the 1939 Packard Six station wagon-one of only 25 made. Several models of Ford woodies owned by local woodie expert and automotive author Tom Cotter will also be on display.
The Discovery Channel's "Monster Garage" television program turned out some crazy vehicles during its five-year run, none of which push the nostalgia button as hard as the beach-themed Ultimate Surfmobile. The Ultimate Surfmobile is a woodie to end all woodies-a 1950 Ford that stands 92 inches tall with an incredible two feet of ground clearance.
Show host Jesse James and his crew of six builders combined a rusted-out 1950 wagon with a modern Ford Bronco 4x4 and quite a few square feet of lumber to create this one-of-a-kind ride.
Although wood makes an attractive covering for a car's body, nothing quite catches the eye like sheet metal painted with thousands of cartoon characters. Tired of being ignored at car shows by muscle car-crazed spectators, Robert Luczun put his Master of Fine Arts degree and love of cartoons to use in pepping up his 1928 Ford Model-AR roadster pickup.
The result is a rolling history of the comic art form, with airbrushed renderings ranging from The Yellow Kid (first published in 1896) to today's South Park characters. Luczun spent more than 2,000 hours-over a year and a half-painting the truck, which makes its Carolinas debut during the Sept. 14-17 show.
"Cartoons appeal to all of us, no matter what age," Luczun said. "Our first instinct when we see figures like Snow White or the Jolly Green Giant is to touch them-see that they are real. Kids are going to want to touch the car when they see it, and that's okay. It's part of the magic."
Other Food Lion AutoFair attractions include:
- "CARS" Stars Return: Charlotte Motor Speedway is where the world first met the animated characters of the hit movie "CARS" and its stars are returning for Food Lion AutoFair. The Disney-Pixar film, which premiered at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, tells the story of race car Lightning McQueen. McQueen, along with his friends Sally Carrera, Mater and Mack, will be on display throughout the four-day event.
- "Barrett-Jackson: On the Road:" The inaugural production of "Barrett-Jackson: On the Road," a new original program produced by SPEED, will be shot during the Sept. 14-17 Food Lion AutoFair. Representatives will travel throughout the Food Lion AutoFair car club and car corral display areas, searching for automobiles with interesting stories or unique histories. Craig Jackson and other Barrett-Jackson car experts will then tell the best stories during live taping sessions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They will also decode cars, provide comparisons, offer evaluations and make recommendations from the SPEED stage, located in the track's infield.
- Cord Hot Rod: It took more than 55 years and some traditional hot rod tricks to make it happen, but Charlotte resident Ray Smith is finally bringing his elegant Cord Westchester sedan to Food Lion AutoFair. In 2000, Smith found a 1936 810 Cord body and a crew of customizers went to work. "It took about five years from start to finish, unless you count the 50 years I spent planning it," Smith said about his unique hot rod.
- Shadrach Mustang Debuts: The ground will shake and the sound of thunder will be in the air when the 900-horsepower Shadrach Mustang makes its East Coast debut during Food Lion AutoFair. The Shadrach coupe, a twin-turbocharged tire-burner built on the 2006 Ford Mustang chassis, kicks off a limited run of Signature Editions commemorating Super Stock drag racing legends Hubert Platt and Randy Payne.
- Charger's 40th Birthday Celebration: What better place than Charlotte, the heart of NASCAR country, to celebrate the 40th birthday of the race-winning Dodge Charger? A historic exhibit of Dodge's legendary sedan will be featured during Food Lion AutoFair.
- Tractors Galore: Hosted by the Stumptown Tractor Club, dozens of antique tractors will be on display. The event offers tractor owners the opportunity to display such machines as John Deeres, Minneapolis-Molines and Allis-Chalmers alongside the likes of the Kaisers, Studebakers and Chevrolets that are mainstays of the world's largest automotive extravaganza.
- Summerdaze Concert: Adding to the beach theme and endless summer atmosphere, the Summerdaze Band brings its unique mix of toe-tapping beach music to Food Lion AutoFair Sunday, Sept. 17. The group is recognized for its unique sound which blends a classic 1960's "surf's up" flavor with other genres such as blues, jazz, rock and pop. The concert begins at 12:15 p.m.
- Blood and Marrow Drive: Charlotte Motor Speedway is among the race tracks participating in the NASCAR Foundation's inaugural Blood and Marrow Drive. Scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 14, the event is being held in conjunction with opening day of Food Lion AutoFair. Each participant at Charlotte Motor Speedway will receive a ticket to the Sept. 14-17 Food Lion AutoFair and a ticket to Bojangles' Pole Night, featuring NASCAR NEXTEL Cup qualifying for the Bank of America 500, on Thursday night, Oct. 12. The Blood and Marrow Drive will be held on the fifth floor of Smith Tower from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Automotive Art: Famed automotive artists Dan McCrary, David Snyder, Roger Blanchard and Garry Hill will have a mini-gallery in the Food Lion Pavilion.
- Race Car Test Drives: Legends Car, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero race car test drives will be available Friday, Sept. 15, and Saturday, Sept., 16, on the paved one-fifth-mile oval located outside the Turn 3 tunnel. Ten-lap test drives cost $65 for a Legends Car, $50 for a Bandolero and $85 for a Thunder Roadster. Test drive details from (704) 455-3240.
- Car Club Spectacular: Forty-six car clubs will bring more than 1,500 show cars to Food Lion AutoFair on Saturday, Sept. 16, and Sunday, Sept. 17, as part of an Antique Automobile Club of America regional meet.
- Huge Car Corral: Nearly 1,500 vehicles available for sale or trade will circle the 1.5-mile superspeedway and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will have an on-site office to process the paperwork.
- Giant Flea Market: One person's junk is another person's treasure and more than 10,000 vendor spaces, located both inside and outside the speedway, will offer an extraordinary array of automotive parts and memorabilia.
- Tom Mack's Auction @ AutoFair: A rare 1954 Mercury Monterey Sun Valley and an award-winning 1967 Ford Mustang convertible are among the cars that will be up for bid Saturday, Sept. 16, when Tom Mack Classics presents Auction @ AutoFair. Nearly 200 cars, many with no reserve, are scheduled to cross the auction block.
- Manufacturers' Midway: The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup garage and its surrounding parking areas will be filled with manufacturers and distributors of aftermarket parts and accessories. From welding equipment to car care products, the Manufacturer's Midway is the ultimate shopping destination for automotive aficionados.
The Sept. 14-17 Food Lion AutoFair is the world's largest automotive extravaganza. Hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Tickets for Food Lion AutoFair can be purchased at the gates on event days. Admission is $10 per day for adults with children ages 12 and under admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking is $5.
Information can be obtained by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or online.