Dollywood's Shades of the Past

Hot rods make a splash in Splash Country

There's something about a car show in Pigeon Forge, where both sides of the street become pop-up collector car lots, with sellers and spectators vying for spots along the roadway for a better view of the carnival in motion. September 9th and 10th appeared no different, except that the number of vehicles and participants seemed higher than the norm, but mainly I attributed it to cooler weather. That was until I reached my destination, Dollywood's Splash Country, the site of the 29th edition of the Shades of the Past Hot Rod Roundup.

For someone who regularly attended the Detroit Autorama, Oakland Roadster Show (now known as the Grand National Roadster Show), NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, Goodguys events in Pleasanton, the Route 66 Rendezvous, and the L.A. Roadster Show, Shades of the Past simply blew me away. It wasn't only the sheer volume of hot rods, customs, and muscle cars on display, but the overall quality was on a par with anything I've seen in more than 20 years of chronicling shows and events.

Organized by the Shades of the Past Street Rod Association, its chairman Dan Draper of Maryville and the entire club put on an event that by my estimation is one of the finest in the country. To confirm that my judgment wasn't skewed now that I'm a "local," I asked a friend who was also attending Shades for the first time, Billet Specialties' marketing head, Scott Sandoval, who agreed, saying, "We came here not knowing what to expect, and we're glad we did." Rather than tell you about all that I saw, I think the images speak for themselves. Just be sure to check for more photos of the winning entries, and don't miss next year's Roundup. I know I won't! m

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