Muscle cars, ’50s collector vehicles, Model A’s — and a host of cycles — highlight mid-week Bessinger’s car show in West Ashley

Henry Coleman arrived at the Bessinger’s car show in his 1931 Ford Model A fronting a row of similarly vintage cars (Jim Parker/Staff 4-1-2015).

Steve Woods visits Bessinger’s auto fest the first Wednesday of the month from spring to fall as often as he can, but until April 1, he never brought a car to display.

Then in the past months, the James Island car buff spent hours retailoring a red 1966 Dodge Dart convertible he bought a little more than a year ago. Woods and wife Janice showed off their finely trimmed model at the popular event beside the Savannah Highway barbecue eatery.

“My wife is just thrilled with it,” Woods said. “I found it (for sale) in a national magazine. By chance, it was from Summerville.”

The soft top showed off its top-notch detail while displaying a couple of interesting accessories. A tire leaned up against the bumper: “That’s the original spare tire on the back,” he said.

Meanwhile, he included the bill of sale. The sale price 49 years ago was $2,698. “Isn’t that amazing?” he said.

A few first-timers such as the Woodses brought vehicles as did dozens of regulars, a typical mix for the monthly show at Bessinger’s Bar-B-Q. Sizable numbers of Corvettes, Mustangs and Camaros were parked alongside White Oak Drive, while late ’50s and early ’60s Chevrolet Bel-Airs and Chevelles, Ford Fairlanes, Oldsmobiles and a compact 1958 Nash Metropolitan hugged the middle aisles. A removed parking lot held the Woodses’ Dodge Dart and a bunch of trucks, such as Lester Moorman’s orange 1953 Ford.

Parked next to the restaurant drive-through were street rods, Model A Fords and a slew of motorcycles, from classic Harleys to Hondas.

“It took 20 years to get three motorcycles,” said Tom Jameson, long-time event organizer. “Last month” — the first Bessinger’s show of the year — “we had 20,” he said.

The early evening count of vehicles, at least two hours before the 9 p.m. finish, was 115, and that’s considered a moderate turnout.

The decades-old Bessinger’s gathering relies on a tried-and-true formula: it’s held at the same place, day, time (6-9 p.m.) and seasons of the year, taking place March through October.

The cost to display a car stays stable: $5. General admission is free. There’s food to eat at Bessinger’s, for a price, and music to listen to from The Cruise-O-Matics, whose selections tend to revolve around early ’60s era beach and light rock tunes; the Beach Boys are a popular choice.

“We’re still around,” quipped Jameson, who puts on the show with lots of help from his daughter Brenda Brinson.

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