Polished auto classics, finely honed antiques celebrate collectors appeciation day in Charleston

This 1948 Chevrolet Aerosedan police car presented to former Chief Reuben Greenberg 18 years ago was parked next to a modernistic yellow sports car at the Collector Car Appreciation Day July 11 in Charleston.

Did you see the downtown parade of past-era cars, classics claiming a local park, antiques out by West Ashley plantations two Saturdays ago?

If so, and you admired the restorers for keeping auto history alive, then the car buffs’ goal was spot on.

Dozens of American street rods, topless imports, earlier-generation muscle cars — in fact, a veritable vanguard of vintage varieties — joined up to mark Collector Car Appreciation Day.

“This is a day our (national) Legislature ‘gave’ us to celebrate our collector cars,” said Hugh Hiott, a long-time classic auto owner whose ageless collection has included Ford Model Ts. Congress granted the car appreciation day in the early 2000s, designating the event for an appropriate date after the Fourth of July. In recent years, Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Action Network has encouraged local car clubs and organizers to sponsor cruise-ins and otherwise display their collector cars.

Charleston auto clubs and classic model owners have hosted a vintage car fest for the past six years. The July 11 get-together took place one day after SEMA’s semi-official national host date.

Charleston-Lowcountry Auto Club Council and Coastal Carolina Region Antique Automobile Club of America organized this year’s local appreciation day. As in the past, spiffed up old-time roadsters, coupes, sedans and trucks assembled in the morning at Brittlebank Park on the Ashley River. Later they formed a line to drive through the city peninsula for an impromptu parade. And, for 2015, the 50 or so classics traveled out to Magnolia Plantation around noon, with many owners parking their vehicles on the lush grounds and turning the relatively short trip into an afternoon in the country.

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