The Chattanooga Motorcar Festival draws thousands for races, auctions and rallies

Chattanooga’s downtown West Village took on a European flair on Saturday morning when, on day two of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival, nearly $ 100 million in vintage Ferrari sports cars rolled onto the Westin Hotel terrace to display to thousands of classic car fans.

Classic Italian Ferrari models shipped to Chattanooga from across the country for the weekend festival included two Central Florida Spyders valued at more than $ 50 million – including the last of just 55 Ferrari 250 California Spyders, which Ferrari built in 1963 (popular in the 1986 film “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”).

The other Ferrari Spyder on display is one of only 10 1967 275 NART (North American Racing Team) Spyder models that were the first Ferraris with a transaxle to go on sale.

Tom Hill, manager of the Rare Wheels Collections in Windermere, Florida, brought the Ferrari models to Chattanooga for the first time and praised the setting for the car show.

(READ MORE: Mecum auction becomes the beating heart of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival)

“I love downtown Chattanooga,” said Hill, who regularly exhibits cars from his US collection. “This is a special place that I never knew existed and I am happily surprised at how great this festival is going to be.”

Byron Defoor, developer, investor and racing car enthusiast from Chattanooga, helped found the Fifty Plus Foundation, which hosted the first Chattanooga Motorcar Festival two years ago.

Defoor estimates that this year’s event, with the two-day Mecum auction of more than 600 classic cars and other car shows, rallies and races, will be almost three times the size of the 2019 festival.

Photo gallery

The Chattanooga Motorcar Festival draws thousands for races, auctions and rallies

“We’re bringing Chattanooga to the top of the world,” said Defoor after dedicating the 2-mile track built on the former Alstom site to Jim Pace, the late racing driver who helped organize the Automobile festivals on COVID. contributed to -19 last year. “We never thought we’d get 14 of the world’s most sought-after Ferraris here. But this weekend we’re getting the attention of car fans around the world.”

A number of vintage cars from the nearby Cork Museum and other collectors will be on display in the West Village on Sunday mornings.

“This is an extremely successful weekend and shows that Chattanooga is a car town, from making the Nyberg in 1910 to making electric vehicles for Volkswagen,” said Corky Coker, owner of the Coker Museum of Vintage Cars and the festival’s great marshal .

Coker drove his 1911 Mercer Race on Saturday morning.

“I think this shows the appeal of classic cars that people love because they take them back in time to some of their favorite times,” said Coker.

Defoor hopes to triple sales in 2019, a portion of which will be donated to support the NeuroScience Innovation Foundation at CHI Memorial Hospital.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga Motorcar Festival circuit has been redesigned for 2021 after injuries in 2019)

“Chattanooga is not the largest city in the country and certainly not the richest, but it has a very big heart,” said Defoor.

The event lit the skies on Saturday afternoon when a memorial service for Pace included a plane with contrails labeled “PACE” in the sky over downtown Chattanooga.

While thousands flocked to both days of the mecum auctions at the Chattanooga Convention Center and a second full day of racing at the racetrack in Bend, 45 classic cars made their way on Friday and Saturday for road trips to the nearby Ocoee River and Lookout and Monteagle Mountains as part of it a road rally competition where drivers are judged on their ability to stay at set speeds during different stages of the race.

Rick Goolsby, the rally manager, said contestants came from across the country and included cars that ranged from a 1931 Ford Model A to a brand new Tesla Type S.

George Bruno, a retiree from Pensacola, Florida, drove his first rally this weekend in a 1974 Triumph TR6 that he had converted over the past decade and a half.

“The rally was a great experience and the landscape here is fabulous,” said Bruno.

Wade Kawasaki, a partner in Chattanooga-based Legendary Cos. Which owns Coker Tire Co., which makes many of the classic wheels and tires for the vintage cars, said the initial success of the Chattanooga Motorcar Festival should help keep the annual event going will and will grow over the next few years.

“I’ve been to classic car events all over the world and the Defoors and organizers here have done a great job and are successful in bringing people together from all over the country and around the world,” he said. “I think in three or four years this festival is going to be a monster and a must for this area.”

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or at 423-757-6340.

Photo gallery

Chattanooga Motorcar Festival – Day 1

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