Traditionally, there is no more effective cure for a mid-life crisis than buying a sports car, but what explanation can 89-year-old Walter Ahrens offer about his recent purchase of a 1982 Chevrolet Corvette with T-tops?

The high-octane octogenarian from Charlotte instead kicked off his second childhood with a search for his dream Corvette, one he plans to show during the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair at Lowe¿s Motor Speedway.

In the fall of 2002, Ahrens and his son-in-law logged many hours surfing the Internet for an older, low-mileage sports car before finally finding his dream machine on eBay. After outbidding a car collector, Ahrens and his son-in-law drove to Tennessee to pick up the two-tone metallic silver and dark claret red Corvette. It was love at first sight.

¿It had all the power, mirrored-glass tops, aluminum wheels and extra-sized tires,¿ said Ahrens proudly. ¿It had all the amenities you could put on the car and only had 32,000 original miles.¿

But it¿s not the car¿s appearance that has made it so dear to his heart.

¿It¿s just the feeling of driving a Corvette. It¿s rejuvenating! It¿s just a joy to drive,¿ Ahrens explained. ¿A Corvette drives different than a normal car. It takes the corners better; you don¿t feel the lean. You have a different feeling altogether when you drive a Corvette in mountainous territory. It¿s just meant to be driven there.¿

Ahrens will be among 42 Queen City Corvette Club members showing their cars at the Sept. 16-19 Food Lion AutoFair. Since joining the club this past spring, Ahrens has enjoyed socializing with other Corvette lovers.

¿The club has something going every month. Almost every week there¿s something to do or some place to go. They take field trips to various places and I participate in some of those,¿ he said.

While Ahrens is most likely the oldest car club member showing a car at Food Lion AutoFair, he may be the youngest at heart.

In addition to Ahrens¿ Queen City Corvette entry, Food Lion AutoFair will include various makes and models on display from nearly 50 car clubs, a collector car auction, gigantic automotive flea market and nearly 2,000 car corral vehicles for sale or trade.

Feature displays at the Sept. 16-19 automotive extravaganza include four radical creations from Discovery Channel¿s ¿Monster Garage¿, a 35th Anniversary tribute to Richard Childress Racing with several cars driven by the late Dale Earnhardt and collections of historic, exotic and modern muscle cars.

Event 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 Lowe¿s Motor Speedway events department at (704) 455-3205.