Is it raining at the Atlanta Motor Speedway? That is a question that has plagued race fans for years. For decades the answer has been no, however, in 2018 the answer is most definitely yes.
Since 1998 the race track has hosted the Clash of the Car Collectors, an annual automotive heritage show which features vintage cars from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s battling it out on their special stages.
The 2018 event was staged yesterday (27/02/18) and while the heavens did not open, they were certainly not closed either. In fact, it was a glorious day out at the “world’s most popular motor racing venue” as Race fans are affectionately known.
While the majority of the stages were bathed in sunshine, the Grandstand area behind the white grandstand was drenched by rain. This resulted in many fans having to take their jackets off and leave their seats – even in the middle of a game!
In the final installment of our three-part series, we will examine how the 2018 event was able to make the most of a bit of bad weather and highlight some of the vintage cars which truly impressed spectators.
Thunderstorms, Dangerous T-shirts And Classic Fords
Towards the end of the first quarter it began to rain heavily with frequent thunderstorms rolling in from the east. The heavens opened up in spectacular fashion and although the lightning did not strike directly on the track, it did flash dangerously close. The intense downpour was accompanied by thickening traffic as cars sought the best places to safely pull over.
One of the most famous American Motors vehicles to grace the track is the 1934 Ford Thunderbird. This luxurious “prestige” model was originally fitted with a 6.8-liter V8 engine and could reach speeds of up to 150 mph. Its distinctive look and sound put it at the top of any car lover’s wish-list.
This is the same model that was featured in the 2001 film Daredevil, which celebrated the life of Charlie “Lucky” Parker (Ben Affleck), the blind lawyer who became Marvel Comics’ vigilante, the Daredevil.
Parker’s faithful beagle, Kingy, also featured in the film and, as such, became an unofficial celebrity icon. The canine’s silky hair and tan colored winklepickers gave him the nickname “the Golden Labrador” and he was even the subject of a cartoon series. Sadly, Kingy passed away in 2005 but his legacy lives on in the form of a dedicated fan club and community-funded statue in his honor.
This is the first year that the Thunderbird has graced the track and, apart from a stray accident, the owners reported that it performed flawlessly. It was a great car, but it’s not the only classic Ford to make an appearance this year. A total of seven classic Fords roamed the track, including the legendary 1936 Ford Popular that was featured in the 2017 film, The King.
The versatile Ford chassis is synonymous with the greatest race cars of all time and this year it was put to the test as rival crews competed to be the first to lay down the perfect lap. While Aluntergioger’s ‘35 Ford was the overall winner of the “King of the Track” prize, Richard Petty’s ‘57 Chevy took the fans’ vote for their favorite classic car.
There are so many other iconic American cars that could be listed here, but we believe that these nine vehicles represent the absolute cream of the crop when it comes to vintage American cars. We could sit here all day praising the greatness of these legends but, alas, we need to get back to our game. Hopefully, this brief foray into American automotive history managed to pique your interest and, if so, then we would be delighted to hear your thoughts on this subject.