A Car Show for a Good Cause

Where showing off can make a difference

To any columnist, getting feedback means you're reaching your audience, and we appreciate the e-mails we've received. No, we didn't get any new vehicles left on our doorstep as a thank you from Chrysler for our last column, although Christmas is only a little over four months away should they have a spare SRT anything lying around for which they don't have a home.

What began as an invitation to attend a car show on Aug. 6-7 at Chilhowee Park turned into much more than the usual show and shine, thanks to Lee Willis, the head of Southeastern Events and GLW Enterprises of Knoxville. Mr. Willis took what we all enjoy doing, showing off our street rods, muscle cars, lowered trucks, lifted 4X4s, and anything in between, to create the Everything Wheels Expo. So what's different about this event, and why should the car community care about this new show?

Well, let's start with the fact that having more shows is usually better than having fewer, and getting a cross-section of vehicles of all types can certainly prove to be educational, if not downright inspiring. The intricate paintwork on a lowrider, the chassis and drivetrain updating on a street rod, or the rebuilding of a classic muscle car are things we can learn from in observing how they were built or finished. Then there's the camaraderie of gathering in the hot summer sun, sweltering in the humidity that has hung around for weeks like a distant relative that's worn out their welcome.

No, there has to be a better reason for pulling off the car cover, washing off the dust and putting on a coat of wax beyond another trophy or enameled dash plaque.

Call it Love, or more accurately the Love Kitchen. If you're like me and you knew little about this Knoxville institution, skip the search and go to thelovekitchen.org. There you'll find this shining light in our town, an all-volunteer organization that provides meals, clothing, and emergency food packages for the homebound, homeless, and unemployed right here in Knoxville. It was founded by twin 82-year-old sisters Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner, who have been the subjects of numerous TV interviews, including an appearance on Oprah Winfrey's show.

Just as the Red Cross or the local blood bank needs constant support, so does the Love Kitchen. Admiration only goes so far, and then it takes dollars and the hard work of many volunteers who prepare, serve, and deliver meals throughout the area. It's not important that the Everything Wheels Expo has a car count to rival the NSRA Street Rod Nationals South or Goodguys, but what does matter is that there is a second Everything Wheels Expo next year—and every year thereafter—in support of the Love Kitchen.

In this day and age, custom-car owners are an anomaly. We enjoy and revel in the pride of ownership of a specialty vehicle, something most others see as little more than a mode of transport. We care for and dote upon these objects of our affection, a symbolic representation of a time in our youth or a more recent celebration of achievement. Whatever the reason, we are fortunate in ways the Love Kitchen's recipients are not. Maybe the idea of sitting in the sun this weekend at the Everything Wheels Expo wasn't your first inclination, but think about it. I'll be there to meet those of you who do come out at least one of the two days of the show. For more information on the Expo, call 865-584-2942, or log on to glwenterprise.com.

Got a car query or idea? E-mail Jason at spdnmotion@yahoo.com.