Steel Pony show draws enigmatic blend of men and women bikers, vintage car buffers, firefighting truckers to tea plantation

St. Johns Fire Department was represented at the Lowcountry Steel Pony Ride and Car Show on Wadmalaw Island Aug. 24. Proceeds benefited the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team (Jim Parker/Staff 8-24-2014).

Tami Walker used to run a shop that customized motorcycles for women, so she knows of what she speaks.

Males and females don't handle a bike the same way.

"Men like things to go fast," said Walker, who bought her first bike 11 years ago and now owns a 2012 Harley-Davidson Road Glide touring-bagger. "Women like to sit back and enjoy the ride."

Walker joined a few hundred cycle riders and dozens of auto fans Sunday at the fourth Lowcountry Steel Pony Ride and Car Show at Charleston Tea Plantation. They parked two and four wheelers along exhibit rows while consuming dishes from a half-dozen food trucks and rocking out to Eddie Bush and Friends.

The turnout, organizer Kelly Carroll said, was "great. Yep, we are excited." She says the show "maintained" its crowds from last year, scoring 250 bikes including many cruising down from North Charleston in a staged ride and landing 81 classic cars and cycles, from a 1924 Model T to a '73 Pantera.

There also were plenty of firefighters with new and antique engines, helicopters and rescue craft to display to kids and adults. The show's proceeds are directed at the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team.

Where the numbers surged in 2014 was the spectator count, Carroll said, enough so that organizers are looking at expanding the grounds westward.

The car show, held toward the south end of the property next to tea groves, attracted a lineup that included a classy 1956 Austin Healey BNZ soft top with folding windshield and a stretch Ford Excursion limousine ratcheted above a rat-rod VW Beetle.

Hal Munzenmeier chatted with a fellow car enthusiast beside his 1958 Pontiac Chieftain with shiny green body. "When I was growing up, my father had a (similar) 1958 Pontiac Super Chief ," said Munzenmeier, of Walterboro.

Leaning against the left front tire of Reg Brown's 1958 Edsel was a framed article from the Detroit Free Press on his father, Roy Brown. Known as "Mr. Edsel," the senior Brown was chief designer of the mid-sized Ford that had the misfortunate to debut in a year that sales of moderate wheelbase vehicles nosedived, his son said.

The Edsel convertible at the show carries on a noble lineage; it was Roy Brown's personal car and then handed down to son Reg Brown. His father died less than two years ago, and when word got out on the Hemmings Motor News blog, "It went viral," he said.

Across the way, Ann Heath showed off her 1962 Ford Comet with late model 302 cubic inch engine churning out 400 horsepower. She and her husband Paul Heath, who did the work on the car, own a transmission shop in Summerville.

Heath said he and his wife bought the coupe because it's "different. It's not a common car," he said.

She phrased her enthusiasm a little more literally, "We're the power team for the bad a - - machine."

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