Parked in partial shade, the polished 1970 Ford Mustang stood out at the head of a long line of pony cars.
"This is beautiful," said Melvin Backman, wearing a gray Ford shirt and reddish-brown Mustang cap. "This is the best I've been to in Charleston. Every year, it gets bigger."
Backman was speaking of the annual Spring Spin-Off Car Show at Trident Technical College in North Charleston.
Blessed with sunny skies, a mild breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s, the 22nd fest sponsored by the school's Department of Automotive Technology drew an all-time-high 243 cars and trucks April 26 to the college's main campus on Rivers Avenue.
"We weren't guessing quite this many," said Cliff Hudson, car repair shop owner and the car show committee chairman.
The Spring Spin-Off show was as varied as it was sprawling, showcasing rows of Corvettes and Chevelles, BMWs and Nissans, from the 1920s to today. There were antiques such as Model A Fords, remade Willys street rods, Jeep off-roaders with giant tires, a 1930s era Auburn supercharger from Indiana, Plymouth Belvedere sedan, and muscle-car era head-turners such as a Pontiac LeMans and a Ford Torino.
A converted Corvette drag racing car likely pushed four figures in horsepower; then there was the sky blue 1955 Italian Autobianchi sporting a two-cylinder 15 hp engine.
In a first time deal, the Spring Spin-Off showcased a "new car corral" with 2014 and 2015 models primarily from sponsor Hendrick Automotive Group.
"This is a V-6, 3.8-liter, 333 horses - and they all gallop," says Ivan Richardson, sales consultant at Hendrick Hyundai, showing off the new Genesis sports sedan. The four-door's been clocked 0-60 mph in six seconds, carries a 15.9 cubic foot trunk and has plenty of head and leg room. "Me, I'm 6 foot 7 and can fit in the back seat," he said.
Showgoers were pleased with the high turnout and hard-to-beat weather. "This is a Chamber of Commerce day," said Mary Helzer, seated in the cargo bay of her 1976 AMC Pacer with the liftgate open to provide a little shade from the sun.
Brian Kunzog, meanwhile, kept an eye on his classic 1940 Indian motorcycle, "what they call a sport scout. I like the antiques," the Sangaree cycle fan said of his bright-red motor bike.
Joe and Jennifer Mills of West Ashley brought their 1989 Porsche Targa, the carmaker's answer to worries at the time that convertibles might be banned for safety reasons. The model sports an open roof separated with a support and glass rear window.
"They (Porsche) are just coming out with a new Targa," Joe Mills said.
Nearby, Greg Travis displayed his pearl white 1971 Karmann Ghia, a low slung sports car with 150 hp Volkwagen rear engine. What the Goose Creek car fan likes is "just the limited (number) of them." And, "it's pretty quick."
For Mustang owner Backman, it was the 44-year-old model's streamlined looks that attracted him.
"I like the body style," he said. "This is the era I grew up with. A guy (in his neighborhood) who came back from the Vietnam War had one. It gets kind of addictive."
Show proceeds benefit the W. Athell Yon Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to Trident Tech students pursuing careers in automotive technology. Event organizer Hudson said the 2015 event will take place April 25. For more, visit www.tridenttech.edu.
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Mary Helzer takes a seat in the back of her 1976 AMC Pacer. She was on hand for the college’s annual car show April 26 (Jim Parker/Staff 4-26-2014).×
A Fiat (left) and an Autobianchi were two microcars among the record 243 vehicles at the Spring Spin-Off car show at Trident Tech (Jim Parker/Staff 4-26-2014).×