Auto enthusiasts have a good ol’ time at first-time car show tied to annual Jamestown festival

Furman Cullum (right) and Nancy Reed made the close to hour trip to the first Hell Hole Swamp Festival car show in this 1957 Ford Thunderbird. The festival and show were held May 2 in Jamestown (Jim Parker/Staff 5-2-2015).

Residing maybe 20 miles away in Cainhoy-Huger, Jerry Sain figured it made sense to take part in the Hell Hole Swamp Festival’s inaugural car show.

So Sain fired up his 1930 Model A coupe and motored to the event in Jamestown, a crossroads community that logged a population of 72 people in the last census.

He displayed the 85-year-old classic with its unusual “rumble seat,” a trendy feature of the time that’s affixed just behind the cab with no covering.

“That’s the mother-in-law seat and where the kids went when they were bad,” he quipped.

This was his first year to visit the annual Hell Hole Swamp Festival. “I’d say it’s 20 minutes up the road,” Sain said. “That’s kind of crazy.”

The upper Berkeley County hamlet, situated at the intersection of S.C. Highway 41 and U.S Highway 17A, may be short on residents but can claim some acumen at putting on a fairly popular festival dating at least to the early 1980s.

This year’s event included a Ferris wheel, and in days gone by showcased a beauty contest and greased pole climb. But the festival hadn’t had a car show in recent memory.

That changed in 2015 as a few organizers from the Charleston area, including classic Mustang fan Russell Huggins and 1939 Plymouth owner Lee Miller, swung into action.

They worked out details with the Jamestown festival backers to include a car show, figuring it would be a nice ride in the country if nothing else.

As it turns out, Hell Hole Swamp promoters welcomed the antique vehicles to ride in the festival’s morning parade, handed out Hell Hole Swamp Festival T-shirts to show goers and, according to Huggins, invited the group back next year.

“We’re thrilled,” he said during the midday show. “We had 34 (cars) registered.”

The Lowcountry Mustang and Muscle Car clubs were instrumental in shepherding collectors and their cars to Jamestown, which is close to 50 miles from Charleston.

“We’re hoping next year to get in the shade,” said Miller, citing the bright day with temperatures in the high 70s. Cars lined up along a gravel and grass strip a few feet from railroad tracks.

Paul and Kathe Crooks drove down from Georgetown in their 1946 Chevrolet truck, which as a “rat rod” looks somewhere between unimproved and a junk heap. But looks are deceiving: The insides and under the hood were superior, from the comfortable seats to fine-tuned engine.

Kathe Crooks said her brother rebuilt the truck before he died; it was his last restoration project. The couple has maintained the truck in its same condition as a salute.

“We have a lot of fun with it,” she says.

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