Classic collectable to cutting edge


Spring Food Lion AutoFair to bring a unique collection of cars to Lowe’s Motor Speedway

By Jonathan E. Coleman
[email protected]
In years past, the Food Lion AutoFair has been, by many accounts, one of the best automotive extravaganzas in the nation.

With cars that are “green,” antiques pristine, and a super-sized category called “blastolene,” this year’s event promises once again to wow audiences and car aficionados of all sorts. 

The event, which will take place April 3-6 at Lowe’s Motors Speedway, attracts more than 160,000 visitors annually, features displays by more than 50 car clubs, more than 10,000 vendors spaces and a collector car auction.

Something ‘green’
Among other attractions at this year’s AutoFair will be a tribute to the environmental trend of “going green” with a display of electric cars presented by the
Moorseville-based Hybrid Technologies.

With vehicles like the LiV Rush sports car, the LiV Ryder motorcycle or the LiV Reaper military all-terrain vehicle, Hybrid Technologies is seeking to revolutionize the electric car industry by providing vehicles that can travel nearly 100 miles and be recharged in six to eight hours through a standard 110- or 220-volt AC outlet.

In addition to being cost efficient – Hybrid Technologies estimates that the cost of driving a gas-powered Mini Cooper 120 miles costs nearly $11.25 versus the $2 cost of driving an electric-powered model the same distance – electric vehicles are also more environmentally-friendly in that they do not produce the harmful emissions of their gas-powered counterparts.

That’s not to say there won’t be plenty of gas-guzzlers on display as well.

Call them ‘blastolene’
Representatives of a fairly new category of cars being dubbed “blastolene” vehicles will make an appearance at the show as well.

With names like “Big Betha” and “Rodzilla” it should comes as no surprise that some of these monster machines, which are built around military tank and fire engine frames and powerhouses, can produce anywhere from 800 to 1,200 horsepower. 

Presented by the Blastolene Brothers, the original idea for such custom creations came from the mind of Michael Leeds, who worked off and on for nearly three decades building “Big Bertha,” a fully-custom 1930s-era hot rod built around a 1,000-cubic-inch V-12 engine that previously powered a hook-and-ladder fire truck.

Leeds creation has since inspired further custom builders, including late-night television comedian and car enthusiasts Jay Leno, to explore over-sized engineering.

The Blastolene Brothers will bring six of the gigantic machines to display at the AutoFair.

Classic and pristine
Not all of the cars on display at the AutoFair will be quite as cutting-edge. 

This year’s AutoFair will play host to the Antique Auto Club of America’s National Meet, an event that draws some of the nations best classic cars, and rewards owners for restoring them as nearly as possible to original condition.

“AACA National meets attract the cream of the crop from across the country,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. “These meets allow the public rare access to magnificent hand-crafted creations of the 1920s and 30s.”

While this is the first year the AutoFair has hosted an AACA National Meet, Mel Carson, the region event director for the AutoFair, said he hopes to make it a regular part of the spring event.

“There are 400 very competitive regions and chapters of AACA in the country, but only 18 national meets,” he said. “It’s a very big deal that we get to bring one to the AutoFair.

And its sure to help lure even more spectators to this year’s event.

• Contact Jonathan E. Coleman at [email protected] or 704-789-9105.

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