January 27, 2023


Still car-crazy after all these years

Ford V8 in a Mustang Drag Car

Ford power!

The 2021 Charlie Craig car show

The 2021 Charlie Craig car show

Click on the thumbnails for a larger view

Charlie Craig is a car guy.

You can tell by the big pole barn visible from the road by his property. Decorated to with a Sinclair gas station sign from the ’50s, the building screams “car enthusiast.” There are invariably a few specialty cars about. And for the last thirteen years, Craig has hosted his personal private car show in Gastonia, NC.

I have attended countless car shows over the years. Usually, an association or organization is responsible for the behind-the-scenes activity. The fact that Charlie Craig can arrange a show of this rank with only the help of some volunteers is astonishing.

Not your Grandpa’s Car Show

It’s hardly your typical show. There were no trophies or awards. At least I none that I saw. I am not sure if there was an entry fee for car owners, but spectators could stroll through the show at no charge.

The only cost was an option to donate to cancer research.

Craig has reason to raise money for cancer — he has survived several forms of cancer during the course of his 74 years. He has also suffered through two heart attacks, the latest of which occurred only a few weeks prior to the latest show.

“I have a Car Show to put on!”

“I told those doctors I had to get out of that place,” Craig explained to me. “I have a car show to put on!”

And what a show. I don’t have an actual count, but there were cars sprawled all over Craig’s acreage. It is difficult to tell how many cars were on hand, because the participants were arriving and departing all through the morning.

The cars themselves were way beyond warmed-over daily drivers. Almost all the entries were true custom or specialty cars, each worth examining in detail. There was a stunning variety of vehicles, including street rods, race cars, classics, cruisers, European sports cars, rat rods, trucks, historic vehicles and more than a few sleepers. Did I mention VW Beatles? Lots of old-school Beatles.

Most of the entries arrived under their own power, but the all-out race cars and some of the historic vehicles came aboard trailers.

I didn’t see entry numbers or information on the vehicles. I am sorry to admit I have very little information other than what I could discern just looking over the cars. If you or a friend happen to own one of these cars, list the particulars in a comment so I can share. There were some impressive cars at the show, and it would be nice to offer some recognition.

I didn’t expect to find a show of this caliber a few miles from your home. Now that I know about it, I can’t wait for the fifteenth annual show next year!

Tom Bonner