Classicly varied Street Thunder car show draws sizable numbers to North Charleston venue

This reddish-orange Mustang heads a row of pony cars at the Street Thunder Car Show Oct. 13 in North Charleston (Jim Parker/Staff 10-13-2012).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Many truck enthusiasts wouldn’t mind this combination: a utility-type vehicle that “drives like dream,” flows on the highway and obtains 23 mpg,

That is, “if you don’t be a hot rodder,” owner Paul Broyles said.

Rather than touting a new model, though, Broyles was pointing out highlights of a more than half-century-old edition: his fairly rare 1961 Chevrolet Corvair Rampside pickup.

“They made less than 20,000 of them,” said Broyles, who showed off the truck at the annual Street Thunder Reunion Open Car & Truck Show held Oct. 13 at Tanger Outlets in North Charleston.

The pickup, which carried an attrached, pull out ramp on the right side that was wide enough to accommodate large appliances, found 10,787 buyers in 1961 — its top year. Introduced in 1960, the rear-engine vehicle was shuttered by 1965.

Broyles said a South Carolina buyer originally owned the Corvair but it was sold in 1978 to a car buff from New York and remained there until recently.

“In 2010, I went to New York and brought it back to South Carolina,” he said. “I’m planning on keeping it here.”

He’s maintained the pickup as original, other than upgrading the engine from an 80-horsepower factory model to a 110-hp powertrain. He also cut a square above the engine and installed a removable wooden cover so people could see how the motor operated.

The unusual compact truck was among 100 plus cars, trucks and motorcycles at the yearly car show sponsored by Coastal Carolina Corvette Club.

“We have 120 cars. We are happy with that,” said Chuck Sheldon, vice president of membership and show organizer.

“I was surprised with the (Chevy) Chevelle, Nova class,” which he said had an extra large turnout.

Most of the show cars were from the greater Charleston area, but “we had groups from Columbia and Hilton Head here,” Sheldon said.

While the Corvette club organized the show, the event didn’t lack for variety. A Ford Model A was on the same row as an uncommon Plymouth Valiant; A Cadillac hearse was parked next to a “Lakota Way” Dodge truck.

Tim Moore of Summerville displayed a 1967 Mustang. “It was my wife’s grandfather’s car,” he said. “We inherited it (15 years ago).” Moore said he “kept it like it is, all original.” That includes the Windveil Blue color and 289-cubic-inch engine. “I still have original parts at home,” he said.

For more information on the show or club, visit www.4cccc.org.

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