The annual Food Lion AutoFair kicked off Thursday at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and the massive, family-friendly car show the largest of its kind continues through the weekend with displays from 50 car clubs, activities, auctions, kids activities, tributes, vendors, the Batmobile and a waterskiing squirrel. Huh? Keep reading to get details on all the AutoFair highlights.
Automotive legend Carroll Shelby passed away in May, but his contributions to motorsports and high-performance vehicles live on through his Shelby American, Inc., which is rolling out new limited versions of his souped-up sports cars for 2013. Many of the Cobras, Mustangs and Dodges he designed will be on display to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original Shelby Cobra.
He saw Mustang had the potential to be a really powerful car for the track, explains author and Mustang expert Brad Bowling. The street cars he built for the public in his factory he built to have better brakes, better tires and more powerful engines.
A base model Mustang sold for $2,300 in 1965, while a Shelby model went for $4,500. Today, Shelbys modifications begin at an additional $27,000 above the standard retail price.
The AutoFair display will include the 1966 GT-350H, as well as more recent editions.
Most children have dreamed of driving the Batmobile, and a few adults actually make that childhood wish a reality.
The fair will feature a tribute to the Dark Knights choice mode of transportation with three meticulously accurate replicas of the Batmobile. Copies of Adam Wests wheels from the 1966 TV show, the car driven by Michael Keatons Batman in the 1989 Tim Burton movie, and a replica of the Tumbler from the recent Dark Knight series will all be displayed.
But to own one of the DC Comics licensed cars created by Fiberglass Freaks in Logansport, Ind., youll need deep pockets. One of eight customized replicas created each year starts at $150,000.
Freaky fair food
This years offerings continue the Batman theme.
Choose from Penguin Poppers (cream cheese-stuffed jalapeno peppers, wrapped in bacon and fried); Boom! Pow! Burgers (quarter-pound burgers with A1, pepper jack, chipotle, aioli and fried onions garnished with a Penguin Popper); Bat Wings (four whole chicken wings doused in sweet black barbecue sauce with bright yellow honey mustard for dipping); or a green limeade called Joker Juice.
Two wheels can be just as fun and eye-popping. Classic Ford parts guru Dennis Carpenter offers up his collection of 14 vintage motorcycles, including a 1961 BMW R60, a 1962 Honda Benly, a 1964 Honda S90, a 1965 Ducati Monza 250 and a 1967 Bridgestone bikes that helped usher in the era of two-wheel transportation.
Nash Countys Vernell Privette, a retired farmer, began crafting cars from spare parts and sheet metal more than 45 years ago. Now 85, Privette has spent his retirement (since 2006) creating new cars out of old. The Middlesex resident will display his red roadster, coupe and others.
If you want your vehicle ready-made to drive down Interstate 85, more than 1,500 will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. Dealer Auctions of Denver, N.C., will also have 200 unusual cars up for auction, including at least one Ferrari and a rare red DeLorean with about 7,000 miles.
You literally could go through and build a car, says Bowling of the 7,000 vendors selling new, classic and used car parts as well as memorabilia. Sheet metal, hoods, engine and transmission parts, wheels, tires, wiring harnesses, lights, horns, seats, upholstery and carpet are among the items youll find for sale.
The kids Powerade Play Zone will include face painting, bounce houses, petting zoo, pony rides, Ferris wheel rides and other kid-friendly activities.
That waterskiing squirrel
Although the stars of the show may be of the shiny four-wheeled variety, a gray squirrel named Twiggy could steal the spotlight when the rodent takes to the water at 2 and 4 p.m. Friday and again at 10 a.m., 2 and 4 p.m. Saturday. The wave-coasting squirrel is actually Twiggy 7, the heir to the Florida squirrel whose unusual novelty act made it on Good Morning America in the late 70s and early 80s.