Radical Art Cars
Known as art cars, these one-of-a-kind vehicles are metal canvases that have been painstakingly transformed into contemporary works of art.
"Born again" from a 1990 Honda Civic that now has 250,000 miles on the odometer, Chris Hubbard's work of art is known as the Heaven and Hell car.
"I've always liked religious art, so I thought it would be creative to make that the theme of my art car," the Athens, Ga., resident explained. "I got the idea to make an art car after attending a parade in Houston in 1996."
Decorated with color photocopies and trinkets of religious shrines and figures, Hubbard says the outside of his car is "pretty much finished," but he continues to line the inside with religious artifacts people give him as he travels the country.
The Plaidmobile, a 1985 Buick Skyhawk, is the work of artist Tim McNally of Upper Montclair, N.J. While some say "the car was found in a bad Scottish neighborhood," McNally actually designed and hand painted the plaid squares that completely cover the automobile.
Gargoyles can be found on the rear of the car and other accent details include beads, rhinestones, tiles and marbles. The Plaidmobile has been on the road since 1995 and is officially registered with the State of New Jersey as a "plaid-colored car."
Continuing the fashion theme, "Button King" Dalton Stevens of Hartsville, S.C., will have his button-covered Pontiac Hearse on display. Stevens has meticulously adhered 600,000 buttons to the hearse while 60,000 more cover the coffin inside it.
"I guess I'm like Van Gogh, but instead of painting I work with buttons," said Stevens, who has shown his button-covered creations across the country, including appearances on "The Late Show with David Letterman." "I'm opening a museum, so this is my last trip."
Stevens said he suffers insomnia and would often work late into the night repairing the buttons on shirts and other articles of clothing. The concept of affixing buttons to things around the house "just came to me," and in addition to the hearse he now has clothes, shoes, musical instruments and even a toilet covered with buttons.
Conceived and created by Carolyn Stapleton of Orlando, Fla., the Stink Bug is a Volkswagen Beetle covered with cigarette butts. Stapleton created the one-of-a-kind car as a personal tribute to those whose lives have been impacted by smoking related illnesses.
From a distance, the Stink Bug appears to be covered in bits of bamboo, but closer inspection reveals the true origins of its texture and design. The car has "Kick Butt" lettered above the windshield, a skull and crossbones appears on the hood and "Stop in the Name of Lungs" is lettered across the roof.
The Aero Car is a 1959 BMW 600 modified with numerous parts from small airplanes. Handcrafted by aviation enthusiast and former pilot Dave Major of Benton, Kan., the unique Aero Car features a propeller, wings, a vertical tail stabilizer and working aircraft instruments.
The BMW has also been fitted with aircraft tires, an altimeter, an Emergency Locator Transmitter and a compass. The car's speedometer has been replaced with an airspeed indicator that uses a sensor on one of the wings to measure air pressure and working navigational lights replaced the taillights.
"My Aero Car keeps me flying a little bit," said Major, who recently hung up his wings after 25 years of recreational flying.
The inspiration for Danny Hoskinson's Buck-It-Truck started with a lighter and a couple of plastic knives and forks. Today, the Benton, Tenn., artist melts five-gallon plastic buckets with a blowtorch, creating whimsical and, at times, haunting characters.
The Buck-It-Truck is a full-size Ford van covered with numerous examples of Hoskinson's work, including an American flag, an Eagle and a superhero action figure, each handcrafted from melted plastic buckets.
Rounding out the art car display will be Sarah Ovenhall's 1991 Mazda 626 that sports an undersea theme and Dean Pauley's 1965 Dodge Dart, nicknamed "Miss Vicky."
In addition to the art cars, the April 7-10 Food Lion AutoFair includes a car show featuring various makes and models from more than 50 clubs; thousands of vendor spaces offering a plethora of automotive parts and memorabilia; and a two-day collector car auction conducted by Tom Mack. A car corral, which completely circles the 1.5-mile superspeedway, features nearly 2,000 vehicles of all makes and models that are available for sale or trade.
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. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the Food Lion AutoFair is $5.
Contact the Charlotte Motor Speedway events department at 704-455-3205 for additional information or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.