Thousands of cool old cars. Hundreds of Elvis impersonators. The last car ever driven by Elvis. Fiftieth anniversary Mustang mania. And racing pigs.
All part of the scene when more than 100,000 people converge for the annual AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com from April 3-6 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., one of the biggest and busiest car events of the year.
This gigantic automotive lovefest gets moved up another notch for 2014, featuring a vast collection of classic, vintage, custom and exotic cars spread over the infield and part of the track of the 1.5-mile speedway; a massive automotive swap meet and car corral with about 1,500 cars for sale; displays from more than 50 car clubs; a collector-car auction by Dealer Auctions Inc.; and loads of vendors with parts and memorabilia for sale.
“At the Speedway, we like to make things bigger and better than the year before, and fans from around the globe will be in awe of what we’re going to display in April,” Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway, said in a media release.
As usual, AutoFair has a strong Elvis Presley connection. For instance, a major cadre of Elvis impersonators will compete in an official preliminary round of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest for a chance to go to the finals at Graceland.
The last car even driven by Elvis will be displayed after its preservation as the centerpiece of AutoFair’s Showcase Pavilion. The car – a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III – has been on longtime display at Graceland, along with more than 20 other cars once owned by the King of Rock n Roll. This is the car that Elvis was driving when the last known photo of him was taken entering the gates of Graceland shortly before his death on August 16, 1977.
The Elvis car was unveiled Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway Victory Lane by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., team owner Rick Hendrick and NASCAR veteran Ray Everham, along with representatives from Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises.
Earnhardt and Hendrick took the Blackhawk for a few laps on the high banks of the speedway. Last year, AutoFair displayed one of Elvis’ most famous cars, his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II.
The nationwide celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang will be featured at AutoFair with five generations of the original pony car, including a 1965 Shelby GT350, 1967 coupe in “Playboy Pink,” 1969 Boss 429, 1978 Mustang II Ghia, 1982 GT, 1996 Cobra and 2013 Boss 302 Laguna Seca.
The U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association returns to AutoFair for one of the biggest mower races of the year, with more than 120 ace competitors running their bladeless mowers in 11 classes on a specially constructed dirt oval.
The 85th anniversary of the North Carolina State Highway Patrol will present such historic patrol vehicles as a 1929 Harley-Davidson, 1935 Ford, 1947 Buick Special and 1978 Plymouth Fury.
Now, about those racing pigs. That would be the Hot Dog Pig Races, part of the family friendly Playzone area. The Hot Dog part of the name refers to the streamlined dachshund wiener dogs that will be vying in costumed competition. Then come the pigs, of the actual porcine variety, that will take to the track for some high-speed grunting and squealing.
So when AutoFair says it has something for everybody, you’d better believe it.