1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Hot Rod Heaven: Baurspotting at the Spring Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee April 2012

This is the first pic of many more to come:  a Low Rider Woodie Willys that I saw at the Spring Grand Rod Run, Pigeon Forge, TN on April 11, 2012.  It doesn't GET any lower than THAT!!  :)  Awesome!

My wife and I have just returned from a little vacation in the Carolinas, Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.  By an extraordinary twist of Fate, we happened to be in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday last week.  Totally unbeknownst to me (I swear!), that also happened to be the beginning of the Spring Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge. !!!  An extraordinarily happy coincidence!

We arrived at our B&B in Pigeon Forge late in the afternoon on Tuesday, after spending a glorious morning touring the Civil War battle site of Lookout Mountain, above Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Simply spectacular, btw, particularly for any American Civil War buffs (like me) out there.

So a little later that evening we were cruising The Parkway in Pigeon Forge looking for a bite to eat.  Traffic in the right lane was moving at a snail's pace, for reasons unknown to me..... until I noticed that there appeared to be a good number of 'classic' and 'hot rod' cars parked all along the street. We were actually in the line of traffic that was slowed because everyone was observing the cars that were on display.

The Parkway is the main strip in Pigeon Forge.  It is at least six lanes wide, with a grassy median down the middle with turning lanes.  It is at least a mile long, with wall to wall tourist attractions (read: tourist traps) lining both sides of the street.  All the businesses, however, are set back from the roadway a good distance, allowing for one or two rows of off street parking, as well as a travel lane (or two) for access to the parking area.  This off street parking area is very conducive to roadside displays, such as car shows.  My understanding is that the local government actually reserves this area for exactly that!  The two innermost lanes of the Parkway are generally well-moving thru-traffic lanes, but the out side lane is usually slow moving. Why? The outside lane is filled bumper to bumper with rubbernecking sightseers!  Now just imagine for a moment a mile-long strip (in each direction!) loaded cheek-to-jowl with the most amazing collection of hot rods, muscle cars, rat rods, custom coupes, and antique cars and trucks from the past 100 years..... Welcome to the 2012 Spring Grand Rod Run in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!  Hot Rod Heaven!

Now, let me tell you... I have been to car shows before... I love them! But I have NEVER seen anything like this: there were literally THOUSANDS of hot rods of every size and shape imaginable on display for all to see.... absolutely free! They were parked along the Parkway for literally a mile or more, sometimes in rows two or three deep!  If nothing else, this show firmed my resolve, to one of these years, making it down to Carlisle, PA for one of their big shows!

I was literally in awe, mouth agape, at the awesome display laid out before me.  Camaros, Mustangs, Firebirds, Road Runners (my personal favorite), Super Birds, Chargers, Chevelle Super Sports, GTOs,... of every possible color... hoods open, revving those awesome muscle engines.... but this was only the beginning! 
Chevy Nomad

Words fail to convey the wide variety of muscle cars, rat rods, t-buckets, trucks, custom coupes, etc. that were on street display this week.  On Thursday morning, I took a little time to cruise through the show on my own, before we took our planned trip up into the Great Smokies (which was actually the purpose of our visit).  After about 15 minutes I was on total sensory overload:   it was just an incredible show!  It is not humanly possible (for me anyway) to list the array of amazing automobiles that I saw that morning!  You name it.... there were probably a dozen of them there!  Dodge trucks?  original stock, beautiful patina, tricked out, hot rods?  Check, check and check!  They were ALL there!  Studebaker custom rods? Check! I saw two for sure!  Ford Sunliner, T-Birds, Edsel Station Wagon... the list goes on and on!!

I have included a few pics below, but please check out the linked website, or better yet.... check out the future shows planned down in that area, and plan to attend one of them. 

1937 Ford Custom Coupe

1950 Studebaker

A Classic Pair!

Classic Ford Hot Rod

It is worth noting that the cars I saw were all "Southern" cars:  most of the license plates were from North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida, etc.  largely rust-free examples.  This is the land of the original Moonshiners, birthplace of NASCAR.... we are talking SERIOUS gearheads here, fellas!  I expected to see the the General Lee drive by with the Dukes of Hazzard at any moment! 

Here is a little video of the 2011 Spring Grand Rod Run, just to give you a taste of what it is like:
Edsel Station Wagon

Classic Ford Truck


The street was, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly dominated by American Iron.... and it was really an awesome display!  But I did manage to spot a few 'furrin' gems:

1937 Bentley

Mercedes 450 SL

Triumph Stag

This 2002 was the only Bimmer I saw anywhere on the street!

We literally stumbled into this Spring Grand Run by accident.  My understanding from talking with the locals is that car shows of various types are a fairly regular occurrence in Pigeon Forge.  If you happen to be travelling or vacationing in the area, I strongly recommend checking out their car show schedule.  you may be very pleasantly surprised, as I was this week.  I only wished I had more time to spend there, to really do the Spring Grand Rod Run justice!

More Hot Rods and Classic Cars here:

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