Every year the 1969 Dodge Daytona, Ford Talladega, Mercury Cyclone Spoiler II and 1970 Plymouth Superbird cars flock to one location to celebrate their creation. This year, that location was in Murfreesboro, TN at our home. It is an honor to host such a spectacular and rare collection of cars. They come from all over the country to share fun activities and catch up with old friends. The cars are terrific but it is their owners who make the events so enjoyable.
As I write this, it is the day after the last scheduled activity of the 2021 Talladega Spoiler Family Reunion and Winged Warriors National Meet. My wife, Katrina and I are exhausted, but we also can not wipe the smile off our faces. What wonderful people our car friends are. Over the next few weeks, I will post more detailed information and photos from the 3 day event. However, I want to start by reposting a comment from Facebook by the daughter of an attendee. We had several youth and younger folks at the event, and it made our hearts warm with the outstanding personalities of these young people.
One that stands out is the daughter of Rick Miller. Rick is one of our Ford regulars and a super nice guy. Here is the post his daughter put up the day after our last activity.
Sarah Alyce is in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“· things i learned at the aero car reunion this week: 1) my love for driving and travel IS normal, 2) i CAN eat a whole bowl of spinach & artichoke dip by myself ~even though I shouldn’t have~, 3) sometimes losing cell service isn’t the worst thing, 4) *all* the time is an appropriate time to talk about your car, and 5) there’s some totally awesome people in this world“
This girl has obviously had some good parenting and is one reason we old guys can feel a little better about the future of the car hobby.
Brandon Atkins and his family are another reason to celebrate the future. The first day of our event was the one year anniversary of Mike’s passing. Mike was a long time collector of both Ford and MOPAR Aero Cars but even more important, he was a friend and outstanding human being. I was unaware that this day was the anniversary of his death when planning our event, but what better tribute to Mike than to bring a bunch of Aero Cars and car folks out to celebrate. I am sure Mike and other Aero Car owners who have passed since our last meet like the equally loved and missed Lou Whitfield and others were watching over us.
Thursday, the first official day of the Reunion, was a day to show off the attendees’ cars, get to know some new friends, and do a brief road trip with our toys. Everyone gathered at our home early in the morning for coffee and cars. Just after noon, we all headed out on some two lane scenic Tennessee country roads. Our destination? A moonshine distillery, Short Mountain. Our cars got their roots deep in NASCAR racing which has it roots in illegal moonshine runners. Tennessee has a long history of back country illegal moonshiners and running shine back in the days of prohibition.
Today, legal moonshine distilleries and their products are becoming very popular. I really believe that some of our cars leaving Short Mountain had almost as much legal “white lightning” in their trunks as did many of the original illegal moonshiners had in theirs.
Our guide at Short Mountain Distillery was excellent and entertaining. We also got to sample a wide variety of the distillery’s products. From there we headed to the restaurant for a wonderful menu selection.
The second day, Friday, saw us do a serious road trip to visit a fantastic 125+ private car collection. I will go into much more depth on this collection in a future post. This was followed with a great lunch and a visit to the Mefford Garage famous for its work with the American Pickters TV show. Late afternoon left time for antique hunting in Columbia TN or enjoying more conversations and food with friends.
This is the legal still at Short Mountain.
The last day was Saturday and was filled with options. The official, optional Reunion event started with a busload of diehard Aero Car fans going off to Nashville for a tour of the famous Lane Motorcar Museum. This is a unique museum, and one any real car guy needs to visit.
Lane Motor Museum
The big surprise of the day was getting the opportunity to tour the “vault”. This is the basement area, which is not part of the general admission. It contains cars under restoration, cars rotated out of the main room and recent deliveries to the Museum. Some very unusual and rare examples intrigued most of us. I can’t even remember seeing cars I never knew existed. The tour guide was especially interesting and helpful in answering our multiple questions.
Our next-to-last activity for the day included touring the Gaylord Hotel with its famous and unbelievable common areas of tropical landscaping, dancing fountains, and waterfalls. They even have shops, restaurants and a boat ride inside these remarkable areas!
The very last activity of the day and event was a memorable visit to the historical Grand Ole Opry with entertainment from many talented and popular musicians. I am sure many of our car owners were not sure what to expect from this taste of Nashville, but everyone who attended walked away with an enormous smile, with some even saying it was the highlight of the event!
The second option for those who preferred to continue with the car show activity, attended the 2021 Music City MOPAR Club show in Lebanon TN just a few miles north of Murfreesboro. Although this is an all MOPAR Show, the Club invited all of our MOPAR, Ford and Mercury Aero car attendees to attend and display their cars at no cost! Many of our attendees did just that.
More photos and details to come in future posts.