Classy Chassis mixes rare autos, good cause

HOUSTON Long before unleaded gasoline and air bags, there was a world of real chrome, steel fenders, and elegance.

Bob Supina bought a 1937 Packard town car in pieces 30 years ago and restored it to its art deco glory.

"It's a Mona Lisa," Supina said. "There are no others in existence. They made 16, and this is the only one left."

Many of these cars have stories to tell through the new owners who saved them. A 62-year-old Oldsmobile sedan still has its body intact, but what's under the hood is new and very fast.

"It gets me off the line when I shift," owner James Caraway said. "I get rubber up to 100 miles per hour."

Its name is Sharky, and it outlived the company that made it. Given the downturn in the U.S. auto industry, car shows like this reveal the contrast between now and the golden age of the car.

"The other car I have is a Pontiac Firebird and that's another one that isn't around, so I'll have two cars that are obsolete," Caraway said.

More than 100 cars are part of the Classy Chassis event. It began six years ago, growing into one of the top classic automotive shows in the country that puts everything under one roof, from the race car Steve McQueen once drove, to a priceless Ferrari.

"These cars were rare when they were first built, so now they're almost untouchable," Classy Chassis chairman Clay Becker said. "[The public] loves these cars. I love these cars."

And the event loves charity. This year it benefits the Shriner's Hospital for Children. For a good cause, the best of the best will be on display -- fun for the visitor and fun for the owners, who remind everyone how much an adventure driving used to be.

The show opens at 10 AM and goes 'til 6 PM.

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