Chrome and Bacon car show revs up and sizzles

On Saturday, I finally wrote my first automotive story for the Missourian. I worked alongside fellow aspiring automotive journalist Joey Ukrop, so you can imagine our enthusiasm covering the event. We both had an awesome time, met a lot of great people and saw some unbelievable cars! It was even sweeter to see the article on the front of the Sunday paper!

Chrome and Bacon car show revs up and sizzles

September 14, 2013 | 9:29 p.m. CDT
A pair of Chevrolet pickups from different eras stand on display at the Chrome and Bacon car show at Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday.
Bob Hurdle’s 1966 Rally Red Chevrolet Corvette gleams in the sunlight at the Chrome and Bacon car show at Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday. | Joey Ukrop
A group of boys that stopped to admire a 1934 Ford three-window coupe are reflected in its custom paint job at the Chrome and Bacon car show on Saturday at Woodcrest Chapel. | Joey Ukrop
A steady flow of cars and motorcycles made their way into the Woodcrest Chapel parking lot Saturday afternoon for the Chrome and Bacon car show. Hartley Wright, ministry coordinator, said there were approximately 85 entries.

The Chrome and Bacon car show brought a steady stream of vehicles to Woodcrest Chapel on Saturday. ¦ Joey Ukrop

COLUMBIA— Columbia’s car show scene is starting to take on a different look as more participants showcase their souped-up daily drivers.

The second annual Chrome and Bacon motorcycle and classic car show was held Saturday at the Woodcrest Chapel parking lot on W. Nifong Blvd. Chrome and Bacon is hosted by the Woodcrest Chapel men’s ministry and began in June 2012.

“We moved this year’s show into the fall to generate more interest and participation,” ministry coordinator Hartley Wright said. “We wanted to build on what we started last year.”

The strategy definitely worked, as there were far more registered cars and spectators than during the ministry’s inaugural show last year, Wright said.

Wright came up with Chrome and Bacon’s unique name to differentiate it from Columbia’s other annual car shows and draw more participants.

“Cars and bikes have the chrome, and all of our food is served with bacon,” Wright said. “As you know, it’s very hard to find a guy that doesn’t respond to bacon.”

More than 85 cars and motorcycles were entered in the show, ranging from trailer queens to daily drivers. If anything, the event serves to show spectators that participating in car shows doesn’t have to be a high-dollar operation; they just need to have a passion for cars and bring something unique.

The Danger Ranger

Chris Patterson, of Columbia, entered a moderately stock appearing 1996 Ford Ranger pickup in the show. Traditional automotive enthusiasts likely wouldn’t give the sedated truck a second glance, unless they happened to take a peek under the hood.

Instead of the Ranger’s standard 2.3L four-cylinder engine that produces a mere 112 horsepower, Patterson’s Ranger features a modified 250 horsepower turbocharged and intercooled engine modeled after the iconic 1984-86 Mustang SVOs.

“When I tell people I have a turbo Ranger, they look at me weird,” Patterson said.

Patterson purchased the truck from his father in May 2009.

“My dad was too big for it and didn’t fit,” Patterson said. “When I bought the truck, it was bone-grandpa stock.”

After Internet research into what other Ranger owners had done, Patterson realized his truck’s true potential. The popular choice among Ranger enthusiasts was to swap in a V8, but Patterson wanted to be unique. Instead, he chose to modify the Ranger’s existing four-cylinder engine by installing Mustang SVO forged rods and pistons and a HX-35 twin-scroll turbochager from a Dodge Cummins diesel. A Hurst shifter was also installed for crisper, quicker shifts.

Despite extensive drivetrain modifications that have more than doubled the vehicle’s horsepower, Patterson’s Ranger still logs 27 mpg on the highway and retains perfect street manners.

“Trailer queens have irritated me at car shows since I was a little kid,” Patterson said. “I built this truck to be a driver. It’s a great mix of power and handling.”

The Grand Am GT

Tanner Davis, of Columbia, is another automotive enthusiast that brought his daily driver to the car show: a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT. While the majority of Grand Ams likely wouldn’t receive any attention at shows, Davis’ electric red Grand Am GT is anything but ordinary.

While Davis recognizes that his Grand Am isn’t much of a performance car, that hasn’t stopped him from applying his tasteful design style to modify the car in other areas.

“I focus on appearance modifications because there isn’t much aftermarket support for performance,” Davis said.

Equipped with an aggressive SC/T ram-air hood, 18-inch five-spoke wheels and a two-inch lowering kit, Davis’ menacing GT serves as yet another example that unique cars can be built with a relatively inexpensive budget.

“Any car has potential, as long as you take care of it,” Davis said.




Is automotive journalism relevant anymore?

Many readers and even journalists themselves are beginning to question the value of automotive journalism.

With the rise of citizen journalism and strategic communicators, Ray Wert of Jalopnik believes automotive journalists are no longer relevant to the industry.

“The PR teams do a pretty good job of regurgitating what they are saying on their own,” Wert said. “I don’t think they need a journalist to help them do that.”

While it’s true strategic communicators say all the right things about their company’s latest automotive creation, I believe Wert undervalues the need for truthful information and unbiased car reviews.

When readers pick up the latest issue of Motor Trend or Car and Driver, they aren’t looking for rehashed press releases that kiss the automotive manufacturers’ asses. They want truthful, honest reviews from journalists who have a shared passion for cars.

An article written by an automotive journalist must tell a story. While the review should focus predominantly on the car, it must also be entertaining and filled with the journalist’s personality and sense of humor.

This is something automotive strategic communicators cannot provide. They can only report vehicle specifications and new model features to the public. They are paid to put a positive spin on their company’s cars and defend them at all costs. It’s hard to believe a word they are saying because the truth is buried beneath company loyalties.

The world needs automotive journalists to seek out the truth about cars in an industry clouded by company lies and deceit. With cars being one of the most expensive purchases an individual makes in his or her lifetime, it isn’t something that should be taken lightly. As an automotive journalist, I hope to entertain readers by putting them behind the wheel and giving them the information they need to make an informed decision.

Automotive journalist Chris Harris commits career suicide

Jalopnik’s Chris Harris may be the most honest automotive journalist left in the profession. Unfortunately, Harris’ outspokenness may have cost him his job.

In an extremely enlightening article, Harris openly slams the Italian automaker Ferrari and accuses the company of lying to make its world renown cars appear better than they actually are.

Even a nice salary at one of the world most respected automotive journalism institutions couldn’t keep Harris quiet about the issue. While many automotive journalists are paid by car manufacturers to publish positive reviews about their cars, Harris was tired of being a puppet for Ferrari.

As a result, Harris exposed Ferrari’s dishonest track testing policies and other forms of company and media corruption. Prior to test driving a new Ferrari, an automotive journalist must contact the company and reveal which test track they will be taking it to. Afterwards, Ferrari will send the test team to the specified track and “tune” the car for maximum performance.

In other words, Ferrari is cheating. When automotive journalists test drive a new Ferrari, they are driving a “tuned” version of the car, while other manufacturers supply journalists with the actual car available to the public. It’s an unfair advantage for Ferrari to bump up the horsepower on their test track models. If no other automakers are doing it, why is Ferrari allowed to get away with it?

If automotive magazines continue to pardon Ferrari’s manipulation, readers will start why their Ferrari doesn’t have the same 0-60 time or the same quarter-mile time as the publications’ latest reviews. By condoning this behavior, the journalists are no better than Ferrari in my opinion. They are writing glorious reviews about a tuned Ferrari that is entirely different than the consumer model at the nearest dealership.

I applaud Chris Harris for his ballsy article. He wasn’t about to sit back and let thousands of potential Ferrari owners buy a car that wouldn’t live up to the impressive reviews. Even if Ferrari will no longer allow him to drive any of its cars again, at least he can sleep at night knowing he did the right thing.