Call this a 120-hour test drive, involving rarely seen 1930s roadsters and starry ’60s Corvettes, souped-up Novas and muscle-bound Camaros, truckin’ El Caminos and idiosyncratic Corvairs.
That’s the charge behind the Southeast Area 9, 14th annual national meet May 11-15 at the Omar Shrine Temple in Mount Pleasant. The Low Country chapter of the Vintage Chevrolet Club of America organizes the four-day fest.
“All the cars will be outdoors,” said Neil Humbert of the Low Country VCCA chapter and show chairman. “It’s free to get in as spectators.”
The event is a broad regional get-together boasting an oversized local show and road tours attracting top-notch Chevrolets and GMCs throughout the decades, as well as a confined national category with certified judges. The last regional show in South Carolina took place eight years ago in Greenwood.
Yet organizers consider the meet — if widely successful — as greater Charleston’s best chance to host a national VCCA gala enticing hundreds of one-of-a-kind models from across North America and overseas, while filling up hotel rooms and promoting local visitor business.
The 2016 national host, Lake Tahoe, Calif., reeled in 950 entries that will bring thousands of presenters and spectators to the western resort town.
According to the countrywide Vintage Chevrolet Club of America, regional sites typically are in line to host the national meet in succeeding years. Charleston’s turn would be 2021, Humbert said.
The nationally-judged show will include at least 30 vehicles, Humbert said. The deadline to enter was April 10, although backers are meeting with at least one owner who may register up to five more cars. Car buffs can sign up for the local show up to the event.
Motor vehicles are considered vintage at the age of 25 years old. “You can get muscle cars in the classification, and modified,” Humbert said.
While the opportunity to showcase a U.S.-wide auto festival is a leading goal, organizers said the overriding benefit will be the sponsor charity. All the proceeds go to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The Thursday-Sunday meet will include an early bird social, judging school, round table discussions, hospitality social, judges breakfast, national judging of all vehicles and an awards banquet at the Omar Shrine Convention Center near Patriots Point, according to the show’s website. All Chevrolet and GMC vehicles and personalized or modified Chevrolets and GMCs from 1991 or earlier are “cordially welcomed,” organizers said.
A two-hour police-escorted “passport tour” will direct vintage Chevrolets from Patriots Point across the Ravenel Bridge to downtown and back, Humbert said.
The regional meet should prove a big boost for the Low Country Vintage Chevrolet Club of America chapter, which started just three years ago.
Local organizers have faced challenges lining up sponsors and getting the word out about the meet. In recent weeks, Crews Chevrolet joined as a backer. Organizers recently booked spots on local TV morning and afternoon news programs.
The national car show includes original vintage models from as early as 1929 as well as ’30 and ’31. At least one unrestored car is on just its third owner in 87 years, Humbert said. A local car enthusiast will bring his pristine 1953 Chevy.
The local all-Chevy and GMC car show will take place May 14 as part of the Southeast regional meet. Registration is $20.
Reach Jim Parker at 843-937-5542 or firstname.lastname@example.org.