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World of Wheels

Beverly Collins spent two days just cleaning the underside of her 1956 Ford Thunderbird before driving it to the World of Wheels Custom Auto Show this weekend.

"It's a lot of work, but I love it," Collins said, as she proudly stood beside her fiesta red Thunderbird, which she drove from Dalton, Ga.

Collins said the '56 model has always been her "dream car," and she did most of the work to remodel it herself.


World of Wheels continues today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Admission is $16 at the door for adults, and $5 for children.

Aaron Kaufman from Discovery's Fast N' Loud and Gas Monkey Garage TV shows will be at the show to greet fans from noon until 4 p.m.

"I tell everyone it's a lady's car," she said, laughing. "My husband doesn't even drive it."

Collins' Thunderbird was among more than 100 cars and motorcycles on display at the annual World of Wheels Custom Auto Show, sponsored by O'Reilly Auto Parts and held at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

The car show offers attendees a look at some of the most beautifully restored cars in the Southeast, along with plenty of other entertainment. Judges determine winners in a wide variety of categories including fan favorite, best in show and best first time in show.

Small crowds gathered in front of a 1954 white Corvette, which was one of 3,640 produced that year. The car, which has been in Chattanooga for 59 years, retains the original Blue Flame six-cylinder engine, along with the original two-speed Hydramatic transmission.

On Saturday afternoon, families wandered amongst the rows of cars, stopping to take pictures with their favorites or to chat with the owners.

Boys pointed at different cars saying to each other, "I want that one!"

Miss World of Wheels posed for pictures, SpongeBob SquarePants signed autographs, and the High Roller BMX team performed bike stunts on a series of ramps as fans cheered.

Amy Coffey, a spokeswoman for the event, said, "This is the best looking show we have ever had. ... There are gorgeous custom cars here this year."

Larry Kendall and his grandson Tanner Lloyd, 9, were both first-timers at the show.

Kendall had never attended a car show before, but said he had wanted to ever since he was a child.

"This is very cool," he said. "I fell in love with that '65 Shelby Cobra."

Tanner was full of excitement as he looked at a black Corvette, but was even more eager to talk about the plastic Hot Wheels toy car he got and was able to race on a wooden track at the show.

Joel Bailey drove to the show from Dalton and said he and his friends try to come every year.

"Mainly to get ideas," he said

Bailey is restoring a 1986 Chevy pickup, and he said the show was motivating him to keep working in the garage.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at or at 423-757-6592.