Car buffs show models, dine out at Lowcountry Muscle Car cruise-in

Three Mustangs were lined up on Ford night at the Lowcountry Muscle Car cruise-in last Saturday.

On a muggy evening July 2, a casually dressed group sipped cool drinks at an umbrella-covered table outside Sonic’s Drive-in.

Each car collector had different reasons to show up at the Lowcountry Muscle Car cruise-in.

“I’m bored (and needed to get out),” said Mike Lovito, who showcased a bright red, late model Mustang Shelby at the event’s “Ford night.”

Bill Milburn drove his decades-old yellow Ford pickup with flames the short distance to the Goose Creek car hop. “I live back behind here and like to support it,” he said.

Then there’s Richard Barto, who rumbled up in his very long 1970s era Ford LTD. “My wife told me to come up and eat,” he said. After the show, the couple planned to attend the Charleston Riverdogs baseball game and watch the fireworks.

The trio were among a handful of muscle car fans, sports car aficionados and Ford buffs to participate from late afternoon to around sunset. The cruise-in takes place the first and third Saturdays at the College Park Road drive-in. The informal car-huddles, which have no formal judging or prizes, run year-round and fill in the hot summer and cool winter gaps between once-a-year auto shows.

Lowcountry Muscle Car club sets aside the first cruise-in of the month for a special designation, such as Ford night. Parking spaces are reserved for the highlighted group of cars.

Even so, a number of non-Ford models were on hand, including Chevrolet Corvettes and Chevelle, purple Cadillac, GMC truck and a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am WS6.

The Trans Am owner Steve Dwiggins of Hanahan installed a 3.2-liter LS3 engine capable of 480 horsepower. His muscle car celebrates the Firebird Trans Am’s history from 1967-2002.

Dwiggins, an Air Force serviceman from Arkansas, said the first car he got behind the wheel of was a Chevy Monte Carlo with T-top. He later developed an interest in Firebirds, He bought the black 2002 Trans Am edition six years ago. “I started making it like a show car,” Dwiggins said.

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