CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 12, 2003) – It would take super speed to see all of the awesome display cars at Lowe’s Motor Speedway when dozens of clubs converge for the Sept. 11-14 Food Lion AutoFair. Probably the only person who could manage it would be America’s favorite arachnid, Spiderman – especially now that he has a Corvette!
Charles and Kim Bifano of Irmo, S.C., own the unusual fifth-generation Corvette (“C5” for short) that answers the question: “What would Spiderman drive on his day off?” They bought the stock red coupe in 2000 but considered selling it because it was seldom driven. Attending a Capitol City Corvettes club meeting convinced them that showing the car might give the couple an outlet for their creativity and get them more involved with the Corvette hobby.
At one show Kim noticed that all the modifications people made to their cars – superchargers, wild paint schemes, billet accessories and such – were aimed at adult spectators; she told her husband they should do something that appealed to children. The Corvette’s color, which is almost identical to the red on Spiderman’s costume, suggested what popular superhero the Bifanos should choose.
The inside of the Corvette’s large, forward-hinged hood was the canvas for a mural depicting the web slinger swinging between two buildings at the end of his self-spun thread. The engine compartment was covered with the Spiderman theme, with the Corvette’s valve covers wearing coats of red so thick the overlaying web strands look three-dimensional. The paint work, performed by a local shop, was a Christmas present from Kim to Charles.
The C5’s interior features red-and-black seat covers with spider emblems and little touches here and there, such as the Spidey head that acts as a release button for the console lid. Opening the trunk reveals Spiderman’s secret hideout and serves as a home for several dolls and action figures.
The Corvette body was left untouched, but it doesn’t take Spidey-sense to realize something’s different. The front parking lights (should that be “Peter Parker lights?”) have a distinct web outline, and the Bifanos spent a great deal of time painting spider silhouettes on the Corvette’s four oval taillight lenses. Other hints to stay away if you are arachnophobic are a “SPIDEY” personalized plate and an eight-legged creature hunkered down low between the quad exhaust pipes.
“It’s just something we did for fun,” Charles said. “We didn’t think it was fair Batman got all the cool cars.”
From historical exhibits (including a Harley-Davidson display, convertible roundup and wacky product vehicles such as the Zippo Lighter car) to more than 7,000 automotive flea market vendor spaces that spill outside the bounds of Charlotte’s famous 1.5-mile superspeedway, the Food Lion AutoFair has much to offer any level of car or nostalgia enthusiast. Setting apart AutoFair from other car shows is the enthusiastic participation of more than 40 car clubs and their members.
“Between the open car corral and the support from these car clubs, we’ll have more than 4,000 cars on the speedway’s grounds at any given time throughout the weekend,” said H.A. “Humpy” Wheeler, president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte. “We get car clubs from all over the Carolinas and the East Coast wanting to be a part of AutoFair, and their enthusiasm sets the tone for a great show every time.”
A sampling of the car clubs participating in the spring Food Lion AutoFair include the Buick Club of America, Clubvette, East Coast Cruisers, the Foothills Ford Club, Carolina Regional Mustangs, the International Mercury Owners Club and Lincoln & Continental Owners Club.
Food Lion AutoFair hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $8 for adults; children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit the website at www.lowesmotorspeedway.com.