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Wednesday, 04 October 2017 21:57

Elizabethton High School Car Show in TN Seeks to Inspire

Written by John Thompson, Johnson City Press
These dragsters and drag bikes were just a few of the competition vehicles on display at the annual Elizabethton High School Car Show. These dragsters and drag bikes were just a few of the competition vehicles on display at the annual Elizabethton High School Car Show. John Thompson/Johnson City Press

Elizabethton is known for the weekly cruise-ins held downtown from April through October, but that show does not have anything on the annual car show at Elizabethton High School.

That’s because almost all the cars lining East Elk Avenue on a typical Saturday night are "street legal." They can be driven home at the end of the night. Nearly all the cars in the high school’s events are race cars or show cars. They were built for the race track and it is against the law to drive them on the highway.

The Elizabethton High School Car Show was started six years ago by automotive teacher Paul Linberg. He said this year's show was the best yet. There were about 20 cars, ranging from a 1924 Ford Model-T to the latest sophisticated race cars and dragsters. There was even a race car simulator provided by the Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Elizabethton.

According to the school's website, many of the school's alumni from the automotive classes come to the car show to talk with and inspire today's students. Some of the alumni have gone on to have careers in the automotive industry or are hobby racers.

The school’s website said three of the visitors, Mike Williams, Chris Carter and Smoke Avery, attended Elizabethton High with Linberg. The men found different jobs in the automotive industry, from repairing cars to racing them, to teaching the next generation of technicians. All of the men gave credit to Roger Hughes for teaching them a great deal of what they now know about cars.

Linberg said another reason for the car show is to "spark an interest" in what the automotive industry can offer graduates and to encourage students to spend their time on a constructive hobby. 

"It can keep them off the streets and off drugs,” Linburg said.

He said the area was fortunate to have much better places than streets to race cars, such as the facilities at Bristol.

Linberg said about 20 of his students already have an intense interest in cars and trucks, and did not need any inspiration. He said one of them is Drew Pearson, a junior.

Pearson was wearing a Muscle Motors T-shirt, which he said was a company from Michigan headed by Mike Ware that specializes in Mopar engines. Pearson said he also likes Chevrolets.

Luther Norris reminded the students that the hobby did not have to be fast-paced. The top speed on his hobby is 25 miles per hour. He showed off his beautifully restored 1924 Ford Model-T truck, which he said took him six years to complete after finding the inoperable vehicle in the Blue Springs community.

We thank Johnson City Press for reprint permission.

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