By David Rogers. September 4, 2017. BLOWING ROCK, NC — If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, at least for car aficionados there was a lot to feast one’s eyes upon Saturday at Blowing Rock Country Club (BRCC).
COVER IMAGE: Jim Fort’s 1934 Packard V12 was named “Prettiest Car”
Monday was a “rain day” for the 1st Annual BRCC Car Show, but it couldn’t have been more perfect weather for spending an afternoon contemplating life as it might have been cruising scenic byways or jetting around a sprawling metropolis in one (or more!) of the classic automobiles on display. Bob Hartnett, Michael Gray and Dr. Jason McDaniel co-chaired the event featuring 34 cars, all belonging to members of Blowing Rock Country Club.
Prize winners, as voted on by the car show attendees:
- Prettiest Car — 1934 Packard V12, owned by Jim Fort
- People’s Choice — 1961 Fiat Jolly, owned by Chip Perry
- Car I Would Most Like To Steal — 2016 Ferrari California T, owned by Bob Barnhill
From old to new, there was a dizzying array of luxury, performance and horsepower, from Jim Fort’s stunning 1034 Packard V12 to Billy Martin’s sharp 2016 Porsche Boxter Spyder and everything in between. Rest assured, there were no jalopies, heaps or junkers in this collection. These were roadsters, speedsters, and touring cars par excellence.
For this reporter, seeing Robert Arey’s 1952 Chevrolet pick-up truck brought back memories. We had one of those workhorses parked nightly outside the old wooden A-frame house where I grew up in the oilfields north of Bakersfield, California. Only where ours was generously besplotched with oil, grease, mud and plenty of dents from tools and equipment being tossed around in the back, Arey’s collector’s edition was sparkling clean, highly polished and blemish-free.
Jim Fort’s 1934 Packard V12 could probably tell a lot of stories, but an appreciative John Alexander told one about how Mr. Fort drove the Alexanders’ daughter and new bridegroom around a few years back when they got married at Blowing Rock’s Rumple Memorial Presbyterian Church.
There was also an international flavor to the 2017 edition of the BRCC Car Show. A number of cars originated in Germany (Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, BMW), while others hailed from Great Britain (Jaguar, Triumph, Austin Healey, MGB), and Italy (Ferrari, Fiat).
Among the cars of American vintage, Len Capel’s lime green 1955 Studebaker was a showstopper. Capel noted to Blowing Rock News that there are very few of the 240 originally manufactured left in the United States.
Chip and Monica Perry’s 1961 Fiat Jolly brought plenty of smiles, replete with picnicking supplies and ready for romance in the Italian countryside.
When asked whether the highly successful BRCC members’ art show provided any kind of inspiration for the car show event, Hartnett said, “Well, yes. There were a few of us that said if we are going to have an art show, we asked why not a members’ car show. So we worked it out not to be on the same date.”
The BRCC Car Show is a one-day only event. It was originally scheduled for Saturday, September 2nd, but Monday, the 4th was the appointed “rain date.”
“Next year,” Gray shared, “we expect to be even a little larger. The golf club has already said that we can use the driving range. Really, the BRCC leadership and staff have been great to work with in putting this first show together and the members’ response has been really positive. Everybody loves cars because they are part of America’s culture and our historic mobility around this vast country. They may be part of a childhood memory, or tied to a first job or a first date. Cars are about access to a certain lifestyle and our memories of cars are often filled with romance and adventure.”