After 30 years, Mopar Car Show remains a community favorite

Photos by Shawn Nowlin
Shane Sullivan drove up from North Carolina with his RT Challenger to participate in this year’s event.

This year’s Roanoke Valley Mopar Car Show was significantly different from the one that took place three decades ago. For the first twenty-seven years , it was held at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke.

For the last three years, it was held at the Salem Civic Center. Additionally, the one-day event featured a silent auction, raffle prizes and a multitude of vendors.

“Because all proceeds go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, supporting events like this helps others who may not be as fortunate and gives people a good feeling of making a difference,” Roanoke Valley Mopar Club President Randy Holloway said. “Not only did we raise money this weekend for St. Jude’s, but we also helped contribute indirectly to the Blue Ridge Autism/Achievement Center (BRAAC) through raffle prizes won by Blake Bryant.”

Despite the less than favorable weather last Saturday, approximately 65 cars and 10 vendors still attracted hundreds of attendees. “We generally have around 150 cars plus vendors and several swap meet sellers. The weather negatively impacted us this year,” Randy said.

Art Hamrick says that he’s been coming to the car show for years. “Meeting new people that share an interest in cars and catching up with old friends really revs up my engine,” he said.

Judges stand by Mike Hill’s “Hemi Bird of Many Colors”, a historical drag car from the 70s. (l-r) Art Hamrick, John Ringle, Cuz Wooding, James Simpkins, Harlan Akers and Wayne Linkous. The White Superbird in the background is from Graveyard Cars.

Usually, awards are given out to the top 50 classic and 50 modern cars. Because there weren’t as many participants this year, everyone who showed up got a top 50 award. “We also annually give out an award to one of our members who goes ‘above and beyond’ to help the club and our charity,” Randy said. “This year the award was officially named the ‘David Brooks Founder’s Award’ in honor of our club founder and it went to James Fannin of Salem.”

Members of the Christiansburg Blue Ridge Mountain Mopar Club have served as judges for the past three years. “These guys are very detail oriented as well as fair and take the time to look over each car from top to bottom,” Randy said.

This year’s special guests were Mike and Jen Hill as well as Douglas Wind. Doug has won six out of 12 national championships in his race series, according to attendee Jerry Haislip. One of the Hill’s Superbird vehicles was restored by Graveyard Cars and driven across the country.

Like all events, the Roanoke Valley Mopar Car Show has had ups and downs over the years. “Even after losing our major sponsor this year, our members stepped up to the plate and raised even more from various local businesses,” Randy said. “It is always lots of fun and brings us all together as a club and community.”

Doug Wind’s SRT-4 Neon Race Car.