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IF YOU GO
What: Hot Rod Power Tour
When: June 6, 12 p.m to 7 p.m.
Where: Chattanooga State Community College
HOT ROD MAGAZINE TOUR STOPS
• Arlington, Texas
• Texarkana, Ark.
• Little Rock, Ark.
• Birmingham, Ala.
• North Concord, N.C.
Source: Hot Rod Magazine
With racing stripes, flames on the hood, rusty hinges, vintage tires and souped up engines, the Mustangs, Corvettes, Monte Carlos and Chargers — just about any make and model created, really — have two things in common. They're customized. And they're coming to Chattanooga.
Thousands of hot rod and high-performance cars will roll into the Scenic City this summer as part of the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour, publisher Jeff Dahlin announced Tuesday.
Spectators will be able to look at about 3,500 vehicles at the free car show June 6. Chattanooga is one of seven cities the annual tour stops in this year. Nationally, the tour will cover 1,400 miles and five states in seven days.
In Chattanooga, the one-day stop at Chattanooga State is expected to have an economic impact of more than $1 million, said Bob Doak, president and CEO of the Chattanooga Visitors Bureau.
"This group epitomizes Chattanooga," he said. "It's vibrant, it's energetic, it's fun."
He expects about 4,000 spectators at the show, which is returning for a second time to Chattanooga. Dahlin said the family-friendly event will include opportunities for spectators to interact with the cars and meet stars like Powerblock's Courtney Hansen and NASCAR legend Linda Vaughn.
"Really that's something we try to focus on at the Power Tour -- an engaging experience," he said. "[Spectators] want to shake hands with their favorite racecar driver, they want to be able to sit in some of these historic cars."
Corky Coker, owner of Chattanooga-based Coker Tire Co., said he is excited to see the tour return.
"I twisted arms to get these knuckleheads here," he said with a laugh. "It's important to us. If we can bring all these long-haulers here, it will have a tremendous impact."
The Power Tour is made up of privately owned vehicles, and drivers pay to participate in the tour. Some vehicles drive the entire seven-day route -- they're called long-haulers -- while others join for just a day or two. The drivers travel together from city to city, avoiding interstates as much as possible and creating a parade of hot rod vehicles on the road, Dahlin said.
"People actually sit on the side of the road with lawn chairs and signs and watch them drive by," he said.
Last year, the tour offered everything from a 1951 Buick Riviera with a Viper V10 under the hood to a 2012 Chevrolet Caprice Patrol Vehicle to a 1964 Chevy Chevelle 300 two-door wagon. And the drivers were as different as the cars, ranging from teenagers driving their first renovations to experienced drivers who have been collecting for years.
He estimated that about 84,000 total spectators will visit the car show during its seven-day tour. Chattanooga State will host the event and provide shuttles from parking areas to the show.
Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...