Antique automobile tour starts Sunday in Rowan County

Published 12:05 am Saturday, June 11, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Starting Sunday, motorists in Rowan County may notice more classic cars on the road than usual.

Salisbury and Rowan County are hosting the Antique Automobile Club of America’s 2016 Sentimental Tour. It starts Sunday with a private reception and continues until Saturday. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Marketing Director Tara Ludwig said the automobile club will rent hotels in Salisbury and visit attractions in the Charlotte region, including multiple locations in Rowan County. About 70 cars from 1928 to 1958 are expected to participate.

Ludwig and tour organizer Phillip Cole said the best chance for the public to see the cars all in one place would be in downtown Salisbury on Wednesday evening starting at 5:30 p.m. Car owners will display their vehicles in a parking lot that’s located near the intersection of South Lee Street and East Innes Street. The parking lot is located across from the Salty Caper and directly behind Nashville Nights and Bangkok Downtown.

Cole emphasized that the cars owned by members of the automobile club are not show cars.

“People may think this, but this is not a car show,” he said. “These cars are for driving.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the cars will also be at the N.C. Transportation Museum. The tour also includes a visit to Gold Hill and a trolley tour of downtown Salisbury.

The oldest car taking part is the tour is a 1928 Huppmobile, Cole said. It was built by Detroit-based Hupp Motor Car Company, which is now defunct. The newest cars are a 1958 Cadillac and 1958 Mercury, he said.

Most vehicles participating in the tour are owned by people who live in South Carolina, North Carolina or Virginia, Cole said. Some are coming from further away. The Huppmobile, for example, is coming from Nevada. Ludwig said other participants in the tour will travel from Ontario, Canada and southern Florida.

“These are restored masterpieces if you will,” Ludwig said. “These people really love their cars and have taken good care of them.”

The Antique Automobile’s Club of America’s 2016 National Sentimental Tour is hosted by the group’s Hornets Nest region, which includes the Charlotte metropolitan area. Convention and Visitor’s Bureau CEO James Meacham estimated that the tour could result in an $250,000 economic benefit for Rowan County and a total of 400 hotel room nights.

Cole said touring events such as the sentimental tour started out as a way to provide the reliability of automobiles in the early 20th century. The 2016 event in the Charlotte region is an example of how those reliability tours still occur, he said.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.