As temperatures stay reasonably warm for who knows how long, the Charleston car collector scene is starting to buzz.
A venerable show recently locked in a date in April, and a tuner cruise-in weekend is taking shape next month — thanks to social media.
First, Trident Technical College on its website noted that the 21th edition of the Spring Spin-Off Car Show will take place April 27, which is a Saturday.
The school’s department of Automotive Technology sponsors the show, which for years was organized by instructor and resident gearhead Pete Dambaugh.
Classes include antiques (pre-’50s cars and trucks), British, Buick-Olds-Pontiac, Camaro and Firebird, Chevy, Corvairs, Corvettes, Chrysler/PlymouthDodge/Desoto, drag cars, Ford, import, Miata, motorcycle, Mustang, Porsche, pro street (cars and trucks), street rods, trucks (’50s and newer), Volkswagen and an open division.
Awards will be given out for Best of Show and best engine, paint and interior as well as President’s and Advisory Board trophies and a first-time People’s Choice trophy. First-, second- and third-place awards will be handed out in each class.
Proceeds go towards the W. Athell Yon Scholarship, which benefits a Trident Tech student who is pursuing an associate degree in Automotive Technology or certificate in Automotive Servicing.
Same-day registration for the spin-off is $25. There is no rain date. For more information, call Kathryn Kalameja at 843-574-6115 or Buzz Varella at 843-574-6184.
Meanwhile, according to online reports on collector forums, local car enthusiasts who were involved in a “tuners clash” cruise-in last fall in North Charleston are organizing what’s being dubbed Auto Clubs Royale.
Billed as a “massive” two-day car club meet, backers are inviting tuner clubs and other car groups in the Charleston area and from as far as Columbia and Myrtle Beach.
Details are being worked out, but the event is tentatively scheduled for Feb. 2-3. The Saturday cruise-in would be at the Los Reyes parking lot at 5117 Ashley Phosphate Road, the same place as the fall tuner clash. A Sunday cruise is planned at 1943 Belgrade Ave. in Charleston. Other possible meeting locales include the S.C. Aquarium in downtown Charleston and Mount Pleasant’s Waterfront Park.
•BMW production: X-tremely large in S.C.•
Nineteen years after opening in Greer, the BMW auto juggernaut just keeps growing.
BMW Manufacturing said the Upstate plant set another production record last year, rolling out 301,519 vehicles. The count was up 9 percent from the then-record volume of 276,065 vehicles in 2011.
BMW is in the midst of a $900 million expansion at the auto facility in Spartanburg County. According to the company, the plant’s production output has increased by 90 percent since 2010.
“Our associates are very committed to building quality products for the world,” said Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co. “In order to sustain our success, we must continue to be flexible and competitive,” he said.
BMW announced in early 2012 that it would enlarge the plant’s manufacturing footprint by 1.6 million square feet while adding another vehicle model and increase volume to 350,000 vehicles a year.
Construction projects underway include expanding the existing body shop by 170,000-square foot, constructing a new 300,000-square-foot body shop and opening a 650,000-square-foot paint shop. Another 400,000 square feet will be set aside as logistics and warehouse space.
BMW builds the X3 and X5 “sports activity vehicles” and the X6 “sports activity coupe” at the South Carolina plant and is gearing up to add the new BMW X4 to the lineup. The plant produces more than 1,000 vehicles per day and exports 70 percent to more than 130 global markets, BMW Manufacturing said.
“The expansion and improvements being made to the plant site represent nearly 500 construction jobs,” Kerscher said. “The work being done today ensures the continued success of this plant well into the future.”
Through 2012, BMW Group has invested nearly $5.8 billion in the Spartanburg plant.