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World of Wheels Part Two: Muscle Cars, Hot Rods, and Mary Ann Too!

Once again, as temperatures start to dive past freezing, gear heads need something to do to help them cope with their affliction.  In the eastern section of Tennessee, that was accomplished by taking a trip to the beautiful convention center in downtown Chattanooga, Tennessee for the 50th Anniversary World of Wheels car show.  Thanks to the miracle of indoor heating, thousands were able to partake in this unique event comfortably while the rest of the East Coast was shivering through a brutal blast of cold weather.  Our last installment focused on some of the amazing full customs that were displayed at the show, and this one will focus on some of the gorgeous hot rods and muscle cars that impressed the crowds.  There was even a surprise celebrity guest at the show that many of you will recognize from a disaster show made before disaster TV was a thing.  So, grab a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, plop down in your favorite chair by the fireplace, and enjoy this virtual tour of one of the neatest touring car shows left in America.

If I had the authority to pick the best car in the show, it would be this positively stunning Oldsmobile powered 1932 Ford roadster pickup.  Built by a shop called Goolsby Customs, the truck was a full custom built off of a Brookville body and topped with an incredible blue paint called Starfire Blue.  It took me by surprise when I saw the truck tucked in the back corner of the show, and the lack of a fancy display or mirrors did nothing to rob it of its beauty.  It was an incredible hot rod, and I’d be proud to own something like this one day.

For you Mopar fans, this beautifully restored 1972 Barracuda featured a different, but equally beautiful blue paint job.  While the factory color that most resembles what coats the car is called Blue Sky, in person it looked like a perfect match for Petty Blue.  This color, made famous by Richard Petty’s NASCAR stock cars of the era, looked perfect on this “Cuda.  Under the hood rested the famed 440 cubic inch V-8 engine with the “six pack” carburetor system.

Another neat car to take in was this Grumpy Jenkins drag racing tribute car.  Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins was a legend in the drag racing community, and he got his nickname from being amazingly focused and intolerant of chit chat at events.  His skills as a drag racer put him among the greats, but his biggest talent was an incomparable expertise building Chevy engines.  Five NHRA Pro Stock championships and three AHRA championships were won by cars powered by his engines.  While the car pictured is not one of “Grumpy’s Toys,” it is a remarkably well made replica.

For those readers that are partial to the blue oval when it comes to going fast, this might be the ultimate ride.  This 1961 Starliner was restored to perfection, and the amazing black paint contrasted well with the red interior.  However, despite the car’s undeniable good looks, the best part was under the hood.

Nestled between the perfect fender wells of this Starliner is one of the most powerful engines ever built by Ford.  Starting life as one of the rare 427 SOHC hemi engines banned by NASCAR, this mill has been bored and stroked to 484 cubic inches, and is fed by two gapingly large four barrel carburetors.  Producing 800 horsepower and 590 ft. lbs. of torque, and backed up by a Ford Toploader NASCAR spec four speed and a Ford 9″ rear end, I do think this black beauty could earn its owner a speeding ticket or two!

Another beautiful Mopar was this classic Dodge Charger R/T SE in Hemi Orange.  This incredible car was a combination of some newer parts and a whole ton of period options.  While it is one of the few Chargers that hasn’t been made into a Dukes of Hazzard tribute car, it does look like its 440 cubic inch engine could give the General Lee a run for its money.

Fox body Mustangs were out in force, and two of the nicest are this 1993 Cobra and the Steve Saleen modified hatchback you see above.  The Cobras were a product of Ford’s Special Vehicle Team, and they boasted a number of enhancements beyond those offered in the standard GT model.  Saleen Mustangs were production Mustangs modified by veteran road racer Steve Saleen, and these Fox body cars were tremendous performers on both the street and track during their era.

This baby blue 1963 Chevrolet pickup was hard to take a photo of.  Despite the fact that it wasn’t as highly modified or as jaw dropping exotic as some of the other vehicles, a number of people were crowded around it all day long.  The light blue paint with white trim was perfectly done, and a lot of people wanted to drive this subtly beautiful truck home at the end of the day.

Another interesting hauler on display was this dark green 1940 Ford pickup.  Everyone loves the lines on this series of Ford truck, with the slightly lowered stance and attention to detail making this one stand out.  Sitting on an S-10 frame, it was powered by a 4.3 liter Chevrolet V-6.  While this would not be my first choice for a chassis and power plant, the owners had a sign on the running board stating that they use the truck frequently.  If that is the case, then the chassis and engine choice is probably a good, reliable decision.

Each World of Wheels show has a celebrity of some sort signing autographs, and this year Dawn Wells is serving as that star.  While I didn’t get to meet her, it was obvious that she was very gracious and enjoyed seeing her fans.  Sometimes you meet someone you think you admire, but they turn out to be something else entirely.  I don’t think that is the case with Dawn Wells.  She was, and always will be, “Mary Ann” in manner and action.

Hopefully you enjoyed this second installment on the World of Wheels car show.  Reports on car shows don’t happen a lot on Barn Finds, so let us know if you would like to see more posts like this.  Also, please leave any questions in the comments section, and I will attempt to answer them.  Stay warm!


  1. KSwheatfarmer

    This Starliner makes my bone stock ,bench seat,three on the tree look pretty plane how ever radical show car is not my style.Or in the budget.Never the less fun to look at .I do still have a question about my inability to post comments on any car after it leaves early access status. Must be something simple I am not getting. Grew up with hammers and crescent wrenches instead of key boards. Anybody?

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  2. JazzGuitarist54

    Met Mary Ann at a show many years ago
    She was gracious enough to give me her autograph in a book I had about her

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    • Metoo

      I’ve read a number of articles about her. She is a class act. AND she has always outpolled Ginger in any “Who’s The Hottest” poll. Just ask any male who was a teen back in the day.

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  3. Joe Haska

    I enjoy the show coverage, probably because I was a show producer for almost 30 years. I actually got a job with world of wheels in about 1995 producing their Denver show, after doing many events on my own. It was a real opportunity for me to learn what was involved in producing a large judged and juried indoor car show. Back then one of the draws was “Celebrities” in most cases it was a big pain in the butt. They were soap opera stars or B personalities, but they wanted to be treated like stars, and did not want to be at a car show, or do their job. It was always a pleasant surprise when you got a nice one. It sounds like Dawn Wells was one of the nice ones. When I went off and was doing my own events, I never would hire Quote “Celebrities” I did like to get people within the industry, that were considered Icons, and car people wanted to see and meet them, that seemed to work allot better

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  4. glen

    Always thought she was hotter than Ginger.

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    • jw454

      Mary Ann for sure… and while we’re at it, Bailey Quarters over Jennifer.

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      • glen

        WKRP was great! The only thing I’ve watched my whole life (I’m 56) is Hockey Night In Canada.

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      • Metoo

        The sweet girl over the gold digger every time.

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    • Rube Goldberg Member

      Aw, the only reason we liked Mary Ann was she was more like the “girl next door”, and we wouldn’t have had a chance with Ginger. ( btw, have you seen Tina Louise today?) And did Mary Wells do anything after Gilligan’s Island? The cars, meh. Kind of like ( the old) Ginger, nice to look at, but probably no chance of having one. I guess that’s the point of a car show.

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      • Big Mike

        IMPO Mary Ann always, good looking even today.
        Tina Louise today would make Ray Charles look twice!!!!!

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      • Metoo

        Ginger wore gowns, Mary Ann wore really nice shorts a lot. No contest. Hey, ain’t this an article about cars? LOL.

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      • Metoo

        Great analogy.

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    • Suttree

      Dawn Wells. Miss Nevada in the Miss America pageant 1958.
      Quite the looker when the contestants were naturally lookers instead of cosmetic surgery creations.

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      • Suttree

        Actually 1960 Miss America pageant.Sorry.

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  5. DonC

    I wouldn’t throw either of them out of bed for eatin crackers!

    Oh…we’re there cars to talk about!?

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  6. CrazyGeorge CrazyGeorge

    IN response to “metoo”
    Maryann is as cute as the Barracuda in this article.
    Ginger is more of a Lamborghini she’s nice to look at but will never be part of this show.
    My ol’ lady is a “Yugo” ! She’s smal, low, wide, ugly, old and I don’t want to be seen with her !

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    Yes, Please keep the car shows coming. What about poor LOVIE HOWELL?

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  8. Beatnik Bedouin

    Thanks for sharing the pics, etc.

    I also thought Mary Ann was the more attractive of the two. The girl next door that you knew would be memorable for all the right reasons.

    There used to be a joke about Bill Jenkins back in the early 1970s that he got grumpy by having to work on Corvairs. I think Hot Rod had a photo of him standing next to one, at the time…

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  9. Ron

    Parked right next to the black Starliner was an equally nice red one with the same engine setup. There was also an extremely well done, locally built ’64 Fairlane Thunderbolt clone a couple of aisles away.

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  10. 123pugsy

    Enjoyed this car show article.

    It shows the readers what can be accomplished if they grab one of these barn finds.

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  11. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    In one episode (maybe more) of Gilligan’s Island, I seem to recall all three female leads had, for some dumb story arc, bring on the “come hither” with the boys. Ginger was frightful and full of herself as always. Mary Ann was cute as always. But Lovie Howell showed some things that made me think she may have had the goods as well. If you stare at Lovie long enough she turns into Marilyn Monroe. My guess is her portfolio prior to being cast in GI was either model or dancing girl. Now…back to cars….

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  12. chad

    Ya got my vote, Jeff!
    Thanks for the write up, pic and “change up”.
    Great ta C a ‘feature’ thrown in with the usual.

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  13. Pete

    I loved me some Mary Ann back in the day. I also had a thing for Ginger. They were different kinds of women. Ginger was a party girl that you could have a lot of debauched fun with. LOL. Mary Ann was the girl you wanted to marry. :-) Car shows are not the only events that has Celebrities featured as a draw. Some of the large Gun shows do so as well. I have met the Navigator of the Enola Gay ( Theodore Van Kirk ) That was an honor, Dale Robertson, Lee Ermey, James Drury and a few more I can’t remember. I have also become friends with Tom Selleck and Gary Burghoff ( Radar O’Reilly ) Probably one of the nicest people I have ever met. The thing about celebrities is that they are just people like you and I. I am not a star struck kinda person, so I have no difficulty interacting with them like anyone else. Yeah a few have larger than life egos and they can be tedious. But for the most part I think they just want to be treated like regular people.

    I was in Asheville NC during the weekend. Had I known the car was going on at the same time I would have run up to Chattanooga to wander through it. Oh well can’t make everything worth doing.

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  14. Wayne

    That blue 32 roadster pick up reminds me of Ray Farhners “Blue eclipse”, for some reason. Guess that really shows my age. Anyone remember it?

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  15. Wayne

    Make that “ The eclipse “ not blue eclipse.

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