Crowds of car fans and fun seekers came to Chattanooga on Oct. 11 and 12 to be a part of the inaugural Chattanooga MotorCar Festival, Presented by DeFoor Brothers, Sponsored by Volkswagen of America. They viewed the starts and finishes of two High Jinks Rallyes through the Tennessee countryside, racecars of all ages competing against the clock on a 1.5-mile circuit called the Time Trials-Between the Bridges, and The Rendezvous of the Greats Concours d’Elegance.
Ticket holders were treated to tire-smoking drifting performances on the Time Trials circuit by the incomparable Tanner Foust in a custom 900-HP, V8-powered Volkswagen Passat; racing and automotive celebrities signing autographs and books; a dynamic public unveiling of Volkswagen’s Atlas Cross Sport; street parties in Chattanooga’s West Village; and some of the world’s most significant vintage, classic and historic cars.
More than 200 cars competed in the three disciplines at this unique first-time event held in “the Scenic City,” the proceeds of which benefited Chattanooga’s Erlanger Neuroscience Institute.
Along with sponsorship from Volkswagen, Coca-Bottling Co. UNITED, Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau, SunTrust Bank, Baker Donelson, Capital Funding Group, Lynskey Performance Designs, AAA, EPB, Hagerty, and Meguair’s, the Festival was supported by General Motors, Revs Institute, National Corvette Museum, Kayo Sports, Legacy Ventures, Antique Classic Boat Society, BP Construction, Coker Tire Company, McDowell Time, Porsche of Chattanooga, Bowers Automotive, White’s Cycle & Marine, Crockett Powersports, and many others.
In a city known for its Southern hospitality, 250-plus volunteers donated their time to work at the Festival’s three venues each day. Most were employees of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee, Erlanger Hospital, Volkswagen Chattanooga and Grace Healthcare.
“I want to thank everyone at the Festival so much for allowing us to volunteer during the Chattanooga MotorCar Festival,” said Kerry Kerlin, of Chattanooga. “My wife Donna got to meet Wayne Carini and he graciously let me take a couple of pictures. What a great guy! We both will be waiting for the announcement to sign up for next year’s event.”
Concours winners received a bronze sculpture designed by local sculptor Cessna Decosimo. The People’s Choice went to a 1961 Porsche 356 Outlaw, owned by Jerry Peters of Braselton, Ga. The 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS Roadster, owned by Peter Boyle of Oil City, Pa., earned the Timeless Elegance award, and the Best of Show was presented to Al an Barbara Mason of Purcellville, Va., for their 1928 Auburn 8-115.
Time Trials class winners included a 1918 American LaFrance, a 1929 Ford Model A, a 1938 Wolseley Special, and a 1967 MGBGT.
Sports-car racing champion Brian Redman served as Grand Marshal, and he and other racing drivers and personalities, such as David Hobbs, Bill Elliott, Dorsey Schroeder, Alain de Cadenet, Jim Pace and Linda Vaughn, participated in panel discussions and autograph signings. They often shared the stage with fellow car aficionados Wayne Carini, Donald Osborne and Corky Coker. Brian Johnson of AC/DC was also on hand.
Coker was named Honored Collector of the event.
“We thank everyone who participated and supported our ambitious efforts to bring this unique motoring event to the City of Chattanooga,” said Byron DeFoor, founder of the Festival. “It took many months of sacrifice by many people, including employees and volunteers, to make this special event happen. We could not have done it without the support of everyone in Chattanooga, the sponsors and the passionate car collectors who brought their cars here. Thank you all.”
“I love events like this,” said Tanner Foust. “It’s very impressive for a first annual event with all the cars and people. Anything that shows how healthy the car culture is in America in a time when all you hear in the media is that the passion about driving and cars is going away with the new generation is great. I love being here and seeing a whole new generation of kids and car fans coming out of the woodwork.”
“I’m so proud to be here,” said Linda Vaughn. “I think next year will be bigger and better, because you learn by going through your first event. They get an A-plus. You can bring your family, your neighbors, and everybody can share in the love of the automobile.”
“I think they’ve done a fantastic job for their first time,” said David Hobbs. “These things take a lot of organizing and everything ran extremely well. The streets were full of people, full of some great cars. I think it was a very exciting event.”
Added Dorsey Schroeder, competition director of the Time Trials, “It’s a fantastic effort, well thought out by a lot of people. It’s gone off well and I’m really happy for that.”
“This is my first time in Chattanooga. It will not be my last,” commented Donald Osborne. “The people here are absolutely amazing. They are passionate about cars, they are passionate about this event. I think community support is really the most important part of any event. If the community is behind you then you can build this event to be something absolutely amazing. This is quite a unique mix of events.”
Said Bill Elliott, “I think the event is great. It’s a lot of fun, for a good cause – that’s the main thing. Come out, enjoy the people, enjoy the cars and have a good time. I had a good time.”
For event results, go to CMCF 2019 Event Results.