Car show to bring model cars to waterfront

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, October 19, 2017

Come Saturday, the waterfront will be filled with a gamut of classic cars — from sleek Camaros to antique Chevys.

It’s all part of the Down East Rods & Classics Car, Truck and Bike Show at Smoke on the Water. It’s an event that’s taken place for 20 years, and Larry Lang, president of Down East Rods & Classics, has been a part of it from the very beginning. He said he was a member of New Bern’s car club and went to the Washington show for the first time in 1992 before organizing the Smoke on the Water show himself in 2003.

“It’s been a neat ride,” Lang said. “There are no other members that are the lone people from the start. … It’s kind of special to be a part of.”

Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday on Stewart Parkway near the North Carolina Estuarium and ends at noon. Awards will be given at 3 p.m. Participants must pay $20 to enter, and they will be given a free breakfast from the Civitan club.

All of the money raised at the event will be pumped straight back into the hobby, according to Lang. He said the club works to provide scholarships to Beaufort County Community College students majoring in the welding or auto mechanic field.

“It’s a good circle, we’re going to raise the money and put it back into the hobby,” Lang said.

This year, the participants will also act as judges for the contest. Lang said drivers will choose the top two cars, trucks and motorcycles to be entered into a computer program, but they cannot vote for their own car.

With each year comes with a new batch of cars, as Lang said every show is always a bit different than the last. Lang, the owner of two ’66 Mustang convertibles and a ’95 Corvette, has been immersed in the culture of classic cars for almost a lifetime — he said his father enjoyed the hobby when he was a young boy, and he’s been a fan ever since. To him, it doesn’t matter what kind of car it is — it’s just part of the hobby.

“If you’re proud of the car, bring it out and show it off,” Lang said. “It doesn’t have to fit in a particular mold. If it’s on four wheels and it’s fun … it doesn’t matter if it is 2 years old or 100 years old.”