A West Ashley car enthusiast, Steve Parks was making his initial appearance in the first-Wednesday-of-the-month evening auto fest at a popular eatery on Savannah Highway. He arrived as a spectator, but fellow drivers thought his purple-hued 1983 Chevrolet Monte Carlo belonged in the event. Besides, the fee to take part was just $5.

Parks described his experience in the show, held on a grassy expanse and a side parking area at Bessinger's Bar-B-Q, as pretty cool. He's owned the 35-year-old muscular car since 1994. "I love the body style," he said, while acknowledging he originally sought a Buick Grand National but the more mainstream Chevy model was "all I could afford." 

The walk-up Monte Carlo fan and his positive first experience exemplifies the Bessinger event — informal yet organized. The local Cruise-O-Matics playing 60s era music including vehicle-themed songs. Typically, kids wiggle Hula Hoops as parents check out the Dodges, Pontiacs, Jeeps and many other brands.

Headed by veteran car enthusiast Tom Jameson and daughter Brenda Brinson, the show attracts muscle cars, street rods and more recently motorcycles in sizable numbers but invariably includes a few imports, oddities or specialty models such as Jim Bair's rare 1955 Studebaker pickup truck. the West Ashley car buff located the vehicle in Texas. "We were very fortunate," he said.

The show included newcomers such as Parks as well as regulars such as Ryan Wheat and his celebrated 1957 Chrevolet pickup. He wore this year's show shirt from the Myrtle Beach-based Run to the Sun car show in mid-March attracting more than 3,000 vehicles up and down the East Coast. The T-shirt displayed his 61-year-old model, which was winner of best truck at the show in 2017.

Commenting on the Bessinger's show April 4, the vintage pickup owner said, "It was good, about 70 cars." The fest takes place every first Wednesday of the month from March through October. The first show of 2018 last month drew a strong crowd, while the numbers dipped a little for the April event as a threat of rain which didn't materialize may have scared off some potential show-goers, he said.

Parks said he was excited about participating: A Chevy Nova and Corvette were fitted on either side of the Monte Carlo. "That's my baby," he said.

For more information and photos, go to www.postandcourier.com/automotive.

Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.