Owners devastated after classic hot rods stolen from Charlotte hotel parking lots

Five classic hot rods touring with “the world’s largest traveling car show” were stolen from Charlotte hotel parking lots, according to a Facebook group formed by owners of the valuable cars.

The hot rods were part of the 25th Hot Rod Power Tour that stopped at zMax Dragway on Saturday across from Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, the owners reported.

The seven-day, seven-city tour is expected to include more than 6,000 vehicles and draw over 100,000 spectators through Friday, making it the world’s largest such show, according the Hot Rod Power Tour website.

Zmax was the first stop on the tour.

Owners who discovered their cars missing early Sunday created a Facebook group — “Cars Stolen From Hot Rod Power Tour” — in hopes the public will spot one of the stolen cars and immediately call 911. About 1,350 people have joined the group in 24 hours.

“I literally cannot believe it,” Garrett Alexander Reed reported on Facebook at about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, saying his hot rod had been stolen along with another person’s hot rod parked beside his. “Charlotte people please keep a look out. License RNL8293 Call me at 7708660025.”

Reed told WSOC-TV that someone absconded with the car even though he’d detached the steering wheel and had it with him in his hotel room.

In a followup post later Sunday morning, Reed said his ‘84 (Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS) hot rod was stolen from the parking lot of a Courtyard Marriott off W.T. Harris Boulevard. That’s near UNC Charlotte.

Reed told Charlotte Observer news partner WBTV that he spent nine months refurbishing the car and that it’s worth more than $50,000.

“I didn’t get to make any memories in my car,” Reed told the station. “...I didn’t get a chance to.”

Roger Bentley reported on the group Facebook page that his 1994 Chevy Silverado pickup was stolen Saturday night.

He told WBTV that his and wife’s truck was stolen from the Drury Inn parking lot off West W.T. Harris Boulevard.

You took away a part of me that I can’t get back,” Bentley told WCNC-TV.

The show visited Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on Sunday and Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on Monday.

On Monday, hot rod owner Chris Reynolds posted “kudos” to the manager of the Marriott Fairfield Inn in Johnson City, Tenn. She let them park their cars at the front entrance to the hotel after someone was spotted taking pictures of the VIN numbers and license plates of hot rods that were part of the traveling show, Reynolds posted.

“We let the manager know and she didn’t give it a second thought — she said pull them up front. AWESOME manager!!”

The tour stopped at Kentucky Speedway on Tuesday before heading to Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis on Wednesday, Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind., on Thursday and Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio, on Friday.

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.