As Marion Alston explained the origins of his mint condition 1957 Chevy Bel-Air, two show staffers in yellow T-shirts sidled up, encouraging him to stay awhile.
It was good news: the Mount Pleasant car collector’s green hued classic would later be named an award winner at the 23rd annual Trident Technical College Spring Spin-Off car show April 25.
“I’ve had the car 20 years,” Alston said. It took about 10 years to pull everything together. “I just take my time,” he said.
He’s eyed Bel-Airs for a long time: “You know, since I was a little boy growing up.” Finally, in the 1990s, he made the move.
“I just went on and got one,” Alston said.
The long-time ’50s Chevy fan won his trophy as skies started to clear in North Charleston. For much of the day, the annual event looked like a wash out, a Spin-Off in need of the “spin” cycle to dry off. Steady rains for two hours threatened the show, but the precipitation stopped around 1 p.m. and presenters toweled down their well-preserved machines.
In all, 161 cars and trucks participated.
“We’ve got a lot of (supporters),” said Clint Snider — an instructor in Trident Technical College’s Automotive Technology department — who helped organize the event.
Like Alston, many owners had stories about cars and their interest in preserving them.
Justin Roach considered showing his Roush Mustang but decided against it because of the bad weather.
Instead, he chose a 40th anniversary Mustang to drive to the event at Trident’s main campus on Rivers Avenue. “It cleans up pretty good,” said Roach, who brought along sons Sterling, 5, and Rutledge, 2.
Latosha Marion won an award for her 2006 Honda CVR 600. “Three years ago, I bought the bike and got to ride.” She’s cruised to Savannah, Myrtle Beach and Columbia. The bike’s purple tint is a bit unusual, but it makes sense to her.
“Purple is my favorite color,” she said.
From the outside, Butch Bryar’s 2004 Dodge Ram looks large and customized. But it’s the inside and under the hood that’s really significant, sporting the same V-10 engine as in the ultra-powerful Dodge Viper racing car as well as a 6-speed manual transmission.
“They don’t make this trim anymore,” said Bryar, who lives in Goose Creek. “I know of one (other) in the state.”
He offers this advice for anyone who discovers they own the same model: “You’ve got yourself a classic. Keep it.”
From a military-styled Pontiac Fiero to a motorcycle seemingly covered with $100 bills, the annual show had its usual sprinkling of rare or exotic vehicles.
Joseph Carastro brought his 2006 Porsche Cayman, one of two prototypes. “I special ordered” the Cayman and had it shipped to RUF, a European performance factory that he dubbed “the Carroll Shelby of Porsche.”
Today, his Porsche appears in shows, yet it’s also a daily driver.
“I love this car,” Carastro said.
The annual show raised funds for automotive technology scholarships at the technical college. Long-time instructor and administrator Warren “Pete” Dambaugh oversaw the Spring Spin-Off for nearly two decades before retiring. He died of a heart attack last July at age 70.
His family was on hand for this year’s show, some traveling from the Pittsburgh area where he grew up.
Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or email@example.com.