A Floating Car, Lottery Fantasies and Singing Robots: There's Something for Car Enthusiasts of all Ages at the April 8-11 Food Lion AutoFair
The world's most advanced amphibious vehicle, a Lottery Fantasy garage full of exotic cars, the Chevrolet Corvair's 50th anniversary exhibit and a Kid's Zone featuring singing robots are just a few of the attractions scheduled for the April 8-11 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
In the early 1990s, custom car builder Rick Dobbertin, of Cazenovia, N.Y., converted a stainless steel milk tanker into the go-anywhere Surface Orbiter. Dobbertin and his wife traveled to 28 countries in their amphibious motorhome, logging 33,000 miles on land and 3,000 in the open ocean. Shortly after displaying the Surface Orbiter at Charlotte Motor Speedway's Food Lion AutoFair in 1995, he sold the craft and began brainstorming a more advanced form of land-sea transportation.
Construction of the new HydroCar began in 2002 and took more than 20,000 man-hours to complete. Dobbertin engineered and built every part of the unique vehicle from raw materials, including its tube-frame chassis, marine-spec aluminum hull, aviation-grade electrical system and Stealth fighter-like canopy.
Dobbertin touts his HydroCar as being the first amphibious vehicle with a fully articulated body, which means the conversion from car to boat takes place automatically through the movement of major components.
The HydroCar will be the centerpiece of the AutoFair's Showcase Garage. Other Food Lion Auto Fair attractions include:
Lottery Fantasy Car Collection: A special Lottery Fantasy exhibit on display during the Food Lion AutoFair will suggest to spectators the fabulously expensive car collection they could build after winning a multi-million-dollar sweepstakes. More than a half-dozen fantasy-worthy cars will be displayed in the Showcase Garage, including a Rolls-Royce Ghost, Rolls-Royce Phantom, Lamborghini Murciélago, Ferrari 599, Maserati GranTurismo, Porsche Turbo convertible and Aston Martin DBS.
Powerball tickets: To help pay for one of the lottery fantasy vehicles on display, AutoFair attendees 18 or older will have a chance to receive one of 500 North Carolina Powerball lottery tickets during special autograph sessions with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series drivers on Friday at 1 p.m. and racing legend Don Miller, who will sign his new book both Friday and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Don Miller Book Signing: Don Miller, whose career as a drag racer and NASCAR mover and shaker is the subject of a new memoir, will meet fans and sign autographs during the April 8-11 Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Miller, who rose from humble beginnings as a drag racer in Chicago to become Roger Penske's most trusted confidant and a mentor to NASCAR champions, is one of the most influential individuals in international autoracing. The newly-released book about Miller, "Miller's Time," was co-authored by Miller himself and automotive historian and Hemmings Publishing's senior editor Jim Donnelly. Miller and Donnelly will sign autographs for fans at the following times and locations during the Food Lion AutoFair: Friday at 11 a.m. in The Speedway Club; Friday at 3 p.m. in the Showcase Garage; and Saturday at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Showcase Garage.
Corvair's 50th Anniversary: Chevrolet's 50-year-old Corvair automobile still has a reputation for being "unsafe at any speed," even though such claims were disproved after the innovative car was discontinued. At the April 8-11 Food Lion AutoFair, members of the Queen City Corvair Club will celebrate the car that was killed by a bestselling book. Club president Marvin Crook, of Monroe, N.C., will have his Artesian Turquoise 1966 Corsa sport coupe on display. Joining him will be Bruce Hewitt, of Vale, N.C., with an unusually rare 1964 Greenbrier van belonging to Spencer and Clare Shepard, of Charlotte, N.C.; a turbocharged 1964 Spyder convertible owned by Scott Good, of Hickory, N.C.; and a 1965 Monza convertible from Travis Jenkins, of Pineville, N.C.
Military Vehicles: They aren't pretty, comfortable or fast, but the machines that transport, tow, haul and protect our soldiers are the uncredited heroes keeping America safe during war and peace. The Carolina Military Vehicle Preservation Association will recognize these sturdy vehicles during a special display at AutoFair. Don Creason was a flight engineer on transport aircraft for the U.S. Air Force before starting Creason Automotive in Charlotte in 1978. His love of vintage airplanes and need for heavy-duty towing power explain why he and his son Don always have a few former military vehicles in their collection. The workhorse of the group is a 36,000-pound 1981 AM General M816 wrecker equipped with a 50-ton rear winch and 15-ton hydraulic boom. The Creasons and other members of the Carolina Military Vehicle Preservation Association - including Todd Hergott, of Goose Creek, S.C., whose 1986 Humvee regularly appears on the Army Wives television program - will participate in a special patriotic display during AutoFair.
Rat Rods: The "rat rod," also known as a "beater," is a type of hot rod that appears unfinished on every surface. Mismatching dark red or gray primer often covers the body panels, and a patina of rust is not uncommon in this category. Mechanically, the modified cars are as primitive as they would have been in the 1930s or '40s; modern technology is practically forbidden. The Food Lion AutoFair Showcase Garage will feature area rat rods, including a 1933 Willys, 1928 Ford pickup and a 1932 Ford five-window coupe owned by Tom Busch, father of NASCAR drivers Kurt and Kyle Busch.
Bobsled Team: The Night Train bobsled that a four-man crew rode to victory during the 2010 Olympic Games will be displayed in the Showcase Garage during AutoFair. NASCAR legend Geoff Bodine was instrumental in the creation of the gold medal-winning sled through the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, in which he teamed with Chassis Dynamics.
Fair Foods at AutoFair: In addition to the usual hamburgers, hot dogs and french fries, AutoFair participants will discover new fun fair food favorites in the form of deep-fried butter, fried grilled cheese and fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Kid's Zone: Singing robots and a Lego building area are part of the Kid's Zone located in the ARCA garage in the infield that children may enjoy during AutoFair. After its debut on the 2009 season of "America's Got Talent," a musical group known as The ComicBot Robot Band became an internet sensation on YouTube. With polished chrome bodies and flashing LED eyes, the musicians and dancers have a style that keeps children spellbound. The all-robot band and mechanical dog will perform popular favorites for young audiences in the Kid's Zone on Friday at 2 p.m., Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m. Other Kid's Zone attractions include face painting and a hard-to-miss stilt walker.
Lincoln Meet: Members of four major Lincoln car clubs and the Lincoln Motor Car Foundation will show their collector luxury cars at the AutoFair during a special Carolina in the Morning event to take place Friday and Saturday in the Green Field.
AACA Meet: The Antique Automobile Club of America will hold its Southeastern Spring Meet on Saturday of AutoFair. The show field is limited to 225 cars, all pre-1985 models that are factory original or restored. Car Club Shows: At the heart of every good car show is an active car club, but when more than 50 clubs get together on the same weekend the result is one of the nation's largest annual collector car events. Car clubs participating in the spring Food Lion AutoFair on Saturday and Sunday include Carolina Regional Mustang, Generations Corvette, Ford Owners Association, Tach Twisters, Piedmont Performance, BMW Car Club of America and Euros at the 'Fair.
Auction Action: Dealer Auctions Inc., of Denver, N.C., will conduct its 2010 Classic Car Auction on Friday and Saturday of AutoFair. More than 300 cars - from a 1939 Chevrolet Master Deluxe to a 2008 custom motorcycle - are expected to cross the block, many with no minimum bid. The centerpiece for this year's event is a 1977 MGB convertible, a rare rust-free California car with only 7,600 miles. The vehicle has an 1800cc four-cylinder engine with four-speed manual overdrive transmission, tonneau cover, original AM/FM 8-track stereo, full gauge package, brand new tires and luggage rack. Its sale will benefit the Charlotte chapter of Speedway Children's Charities. The auction starts at 10 a.m. on Friday, April 9. To obtain a complete list of auction cars, contact Dealer Auctions Inc. at (800) 352-4898 or visit www.dlrauctions.com.
Automotive Art: Famed automotive artists Dan McCrary, David Snyder and Roger Blanchard will have a mini-gallery in the Showcase Garage all four days of AutoFair.
Huge Car Corral: More than 1,500 vehicles available for sale or trade will circle the 1.5-mile superspeedway, and the North Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will have an on-site office to process the paperwork.
Giant Flea Market: One person's junk is another's treasure, and 10,000 vendor spaces, located both inside and outside the speedway, will offer an extraordinary array of automotive parts and memorabilia.
Manufacturers' Midway: The NASCAR Sprint Cup garage and its surrounding parking areas will be filled with manufacturers and distributors of aftermarket parts and accessories. From welding equipment to car care products, the Manufacturers' Midway is the ultimate shopping destination for automotive aficionados.
Awards Ceremony: The ceremony for car club awards will be presented by CarShowTrophies.com, the Preferred Award Supplier of the Food Lion AutoFair whose custom-made, hand-painted trophies are crafted in the United States.
Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 for adults; children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Coupons for $2 discounts on adult tickets are available at Charlotte-area Food Lion stores. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.