ELIZABETHTOWN – Saturday’s heat didn’t do much to deter car enthusiasts, who showed up by the hundreds for the 18th annual Made in the Shade Car Show, which took place Saturday in front of San Jose.
Entries for the event varied from early 1900s cruisers to late model Corvettes and included low riding trucks, vintage station wagons, and decked-out Beetles. Most had been shined like new, but not all.
“This is called a rat rod,” Gary Strickland said while pointing to his 1951 rusted pickup truck. “You just take a car body as it is, don’t fix it up, add odds and ends to it, and you’ve got a rat rod.”
The truck had originally boasted a blue paint job, but most of it had long since rusted away. Vintage items such as a gas can and army foot locker added an eclectic look, and that, combined with the large American flag, animal tail blowing in the breeze, and the 1930s suitcase atop the truck, gave the vehicle what the owners called a “Sampson and Son” appearance.
The enjoyment of showing off the truck was not the only motivation behind registering the truck and attending the show, however. That was found on the rear and the sides of the truck, on which had been painted cross scenes.
“People don’t always want Christianity shoved down their throats,” Lee said. “We paint that on the side, let people see it, and let God do the rest of the work. It gives us a chance to talk about God, but not in an in-your-face way.”
Lee wasn’t the only one with a dual motive.
Warren Fowler brought his 2014 Camaro to the show for one reason.
“Kids today don’t want to listen to adults,” he said after finishing his conversation with one teenager. “This car gets their attention, and then I talk to them about staying in school, not getting involved in crime, staying away from drugs, and respecting adults.”
“Attention-getting” was definitely the right word for the car. Many people stopped to admire the car, the paint job for which changed colors – from teal to Carolina blue to green – depending on the light. The plume boasted a teal cover with a chameleon on top of the 500 hp engine, flashing lights ran down the inside of the hood, lights also adorned the rims and undercarriage, the rims were teal, and Fowler even matched the car in his teal polo.
“I want kids to see that you don’t have to do drugs or crime to have a car like this,” Fowler said.
At noon, temperatures were already in the low 90s and rising, but the the grove of pecan trees under which the show took place, combined with the occasional breeze, provided welcome relief from the oppressive sun.
In all, 175 vehicles were registered for the event, slightly fewer than last year’s 200, but the organizers were pleased with the turnout. Upwards of 100 trophies were awarded, and the Bladen Journal will post winners at a later date.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.