The 29th Annual Springtime in the Smokies European Car Show will roll into Townsend Saturday, May 14, on the grounds of the Talley Ho Inn. The event is hosted by Blount British Cars Ltd. and the English Auto Society of Knoxville. The show is open to all British and European cars/motorcycles, with proceeds contributed to charity.

The European Car Show was originally known as the British Car Show. The event premiered in Maryville as part of the Dogwood Arts Festival.

“When we had the first show, there were (five participants),” Blount British Cars club member Jim Watson said. “Now we average around 140 cars every year.”

The show moved to Townsend the following year. Three years ago, Blount British Cars partnered with the English Auto Society of Knoxville and changed the show into its current incarnation.

“After so many years looking at British cars, you feel like you have seen them all,” Watson said. “We wanted to show a variety cars, and decided to bring in vehicles from all over Europe.”

Wide variety

A wide variety of European cars will be displayed at the show. “We will have cars ranging from the 1930s to the 1990s,” Watson said. “There are usually around 70 cars preregistered for the show. Cars from all over Southeast and beyond will be there. We have had cars as far west as California, and as far north as Canada.”

Cars on display will include Porches, Lamborghinis, Rolls Royces, MGCs, Volkswagens and Citroëns.

Some of the cars the Blount British Cars club members will bring to the show include Watson’s 1952 Triumph Mayflower and 1968 MGC, Brooke Gunning’s Alfa Romeo Spider and George Mason’s 1964 Spitfire.

What is the appeal of the classic European cars? Blount British Cars club member Ryan Carrell said the cars have a unique personality. “These old cars have character that the new cars don’t have,” Carrell said. “Each has a story to tell.”

Mason, who has worked on cars for around 60 years, has a story about restoring his 1964 Spitfire. “I knew the guy that bought the spitfire when (it was new),” Mason said. “Before I got the car, it had spent five years in a chicken barn. I spent 13 years restoring it. I know every piece of that car, and I have enjoyed all the work that has been put into it.”

Benefits New Hope

Blount British Cars’ proceeds will go to the charity New Hope — Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center (NHBCCAC). In an email sent to The Daily Times, BCCAC Prevention and Fundraiser coordinator Nicole Wicker described the function of the center. “The (NHBCCAC) is a safe place for child victims of sexual and physical abuse. The Center is designed to be the ‘child’s office’, where multiple agencies and professionals convene to coordinate and deliver services in one place so the child only tells their story one time.”

This is the second year Blount British Cars has donated money from the show to NHBCCAC. “Everything above the cost of the show (earned by Blount British Cars club) is donated to New Hope,” Watson said.

Watson would like to see the car show add more mileage to its already lengthy run.

“As far as I am concerned, it needs to continue in some form or fashion,” he said. “We are trying to get new blood into it. The show, and the club, is hard work but a lot of fun. You meet several people with the same interests.”

Registration on the day of the event is $30. The show is free for spectators. Free parking will be available. The show will be held rain or shine. For more information, go to www.blountbritishcars.org, or call 865-599-4305.

Life columnist

Linda Braden Albert worked as a feature writer and editor at The Daily Times. She is now the editor of Horizon Magazine and a columnist.

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