One would think that a small town in western North Carolina like mine would have very little in the way of car shows. Fortunately for me, Hendersonville seems to be full of people who have interesting cars and stories to go along with them. During the summer, a classic car show pops up every few weeks, and when there is a car show, there is also live music and refreshment stands. Main street becomes an incredible time capsule full of people and objects that make me nostalgic for a time before most of my family was even born.
Soon after arriving at the show, I began searching hopefully for a ’63 split window coupe. I didn’t find one, but I did come across a beautiful Stingray Convertible. The owner had lovingly restored it in the nineties, and from the looks of the car, he had used it fairly often since then. The Corvette also had the venerable 427 small block, capable of producing 425 hp (according to the engine cover). The Stingray is one of my favorite body styles of all time, so this car definitely ranked in my top 5 at the show.
Despite what I think I know about cars, there is always something else to learn. For instance, I came across a C6 Corvette with a Z51 badge on the side. When the owner was asked what this meant, he gave a very in-depth explanation that both my Dad and I found interesting. Apparently, a Z51 has all of the go fast upgrades as the Z06, but retains its steel chassis, allowing the owner to have a removable roof. You learn something new every day.
If you think a Corvette show would be a magnet for guys in a mid-life crisis, then you would be about half right. The newer corvettes had mostly middle-aged owners, but the classic cars had more varied owner ages. Everyone at the show was flaunting as much of their car knowledge as possible, and it seemed every group of people appeared to have at least one person who would show off every fact they knew at very chance they got. As a result, every car had repetitive string of facts echoing around it at all times. For instance, Dad had just finished explaining how later C3 bodywork was more sculpted than earlier models, and I went off to look at another Corvette of the same vintage. When I arrived, I heard a woman saying, “See how the body is more sculpted around the wheels? That’s a characteristic of later models.” But that’s part of the fun of car shows; showing what you know and learning about what you don’t. I can’t think of a much better way to spend my time.
Eventually, the rain arrived and sent everyone scrambling for their cars. But that was a treat in itself. The Corvettes would start with a V8 growl, then the owners would rev them a few times for good measure. I love going to auto shows for the cars, the people, and the music, and you can bet I’ll be there at the next one.