Transportation Museum hosts Celebrity Car Show

Published 12:03 am Sunday, July 31, 2022

SPENCER — Having to take a year off in 2020 did not slow down the annual Celebrity Car Show at the Transportation Museum in its second year back.

Replicas of favorite cars that were stars in movies and film were displayed during the event and most visitors snapped photos with at least one of the displays. The people who put in the hard work creating the replicas, which took anywhere from a month to two and half years to complete, were on hand to share their stories. There were tales of the creation of the replicas themselves, and tales of why they decided to make it in the first place.

Food vendors were also available to stave off hunger and thirst while visitors roamed through the building that normally houses the airplanes and the antique cars on permanent display. Vendors included Roadway Dawgs, The Old 97 Kettle Corn and The Chill Shak.

The museum itself got in the spirit of the event by taking an antique truck and creating their own character of Tow Mater from the movie “Cars.”

Jack Wright, who travelled from Hayes to show off not only his replica of Evel Knievel’s motorcycle, but part of his overall collection of Knievel items, has been collecting memorabilia of one of his heroes as long as he can remember.

“Knievel was a man who started from nothing, and I was a poor kid, so to me, he showed me anything is possible.”

Jessica Cox of Vale said she has wanted the Jeep from “Jurassic Park” forever, and “now I’ve got two littles who love Jurassic Park as well,” so it seemed only logical to create a few replicas. She has both the truck from “Jurassic World” and the Jeep from Jurassic Park.

Toni Roelker of Lake Wylie, S.C., brought a replica of Bumble Bee from “Transformers” that she said is not yet show worthy, but she brought it along anyway.

“I am a child with adult money,” she said when asked why she started making replicas. “I started by watching ‘Knight Rider,’ and then discovered big robots. There is an inclusivity, an acceptance no matter who you are, that I love.”

Jeff Branch, a retired Montgomery County sheriff, was on hand with his 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 replica from “The Andy Griffith Show.” Branch is well known in the area and has even appeared in two movies, most notably a documentary on Amazon titled “The Mayberry Effect.” Branch was told repeatedly that “if I put on a bow tie and tweed jacket I would look just like Howard, the county clerk,” so he finally followed through. Those who told him so were right.

Tim Walker was joined by former stock car racer Bobby Allison on his display of a replica of Allison’s No. 12 Daytona Charger. Walker said the project took “two and a half hard years,” and there is $173,000 in parts alone in the replica, along with at least 3,000 hours of labor just from him. Allison said he does not drive as much these days. Instead, he flies planes.

Martin Bevis from Germanton brought both the Pontiac Trans Am from “Smokey and the Bandit,” and the sheriff’s car that chased Burt Reynolds all through the movie that had its top sliced off by a tractor-trailer in the movie. Inside the trunk lid, Bevis has numerous signatures from folks involved in the movie and other famous folks he admires. His hope is to get Loretta Lynn’s autograph inside that trunk lid one day. Bevis said he had the car for a while, and noted it is a hard model to find — it is a 1976 Pontiac LeMans — but once he began the project, it took him only a month to complete. He said he does drive it locally, but without an actual top, long distance drives are not an option. He is, however, in the middle of creating a replica of the station wagon from National Lampoon’s Vacation, and when it is finished, he and his wife plan to take it on vacations.

Mitch Williams and his wife, Christy, traveled to the show from Mt. Airy to show off their yellow Toyota Pizza Planet delivery pickup from “Toy Story.”

“I saw the movie in 1995, and the little yellow truck is only on screen for a minute or two, but at the time I thought it would be fun to recreate,” said Mitch. But he put it aside. Then his daughter came along and discovered the Toy Story movies, and it brought his idea back. He found a small truck on Craig’s List and painted it yellow, collected toys from the movie for display inside, but then had to figure out how to get the roof ornament.

“Disney doesn’t make that, and I wasn’t sure how I could make that happen,” he said. But his wife teaches an engineering class in Virginia and her class designed and created the ornament, using 3-D printing.

“I thought it would be small, but it’s actually life sized and is perfect,” Mitch said.

Most of the participants have been involved in previous years, and most say they plan to come back next year.