Brenau Barbecue Championship Features Classic Automobile Show

Aug 26, 2011
Rudi Kiefer

If the sight of a perfectly restored 1956 Chevy or muscle car from the ’60s gets your motor revved, don’t miss the inaugural classic car show at the second annual Brenau Barbecue Championship on Memorial Day weekend.

The event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Saturday, May 29, on the front lawn of Pearce Auditorium on the university campus.

The show thus far features a bevy of Chevys, including a ’35coupe and a ’57 Bel Air. Ford products are also well represented with ’32 coupe and even a 1963 Mercury Comet. But, according to Lauren Bradford, a 2010 Brenau M.B.A. graduate who is in charge of the auto show, many of the people who participate in these shows, particularly those with prizes offered, for tactical reasons do not let their competition know they’re coming. As a result, applications are still being accepted for anyone who wants to enter their pre-1972 vehicle in the competition.

Judging will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. with an awards presentation at 3 p.m. Registration is $20 and includes two complimentary tickets to the barbecue championship cooking festival. Like the barbecue revenues, proceeds from the car show also will benefit local scholarships for students to attend Brenau.

“We’ve had a lot of interest from classic car owners,” said Bradford, a 2008 Brenau Women’s College graduate who says began a love affair with vintage vehicles when she helped her father restore two 1956 Chevrolets.

“He got one ’56 done in 1980 and started restoring it again in ’97 to give it a different look,” she said. “It’s a fever. Once you finish one, you want to start another. These people spend thousands of dollars on the cars. A paint job can cost $15,000.”

It was pure serendipity, but Brenau’s auto show kicks off the final few weeks of the extremely popular exhibit, “The Allure of Automobile,” at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta. Brenau and The High last week announced a three-year education partnership deal that begins Aug. 1, an arrangement that, among other things, will ensure that there will be collaboration between the two institutions on future events and exhibits, like the two car shows.

“The Allure of the Automobile” exhibit includes classic cars from 1930-1965, including a 1935 Duesenberg JN Roadster formerly owned by Clark Gable, a 1957 Jaguar XKSS Roadster, formerly owned by Steve McQueen, and a 1948 Tucker Model 48 Torpedo.

M. Douglas Ivester, a Gainesville area native who serves on the directing boards of both the university and the High’s parent organization, the Woodruff Arts Center, is also a classic automobile collector. The dovetailing of the two institutions’ independent ideas, he said, illustrates the kinds of synergies that will be possible as this relationship unfolds.

“The collaborative relationship between Brenau University and the High Museum of Art will help broaden the educational impact and mission of both institutions. Starting with the celebration of the automobile as an art form, this collaboration will engage wider audiences with great art and educational programs,” said Ivester, who was the tenth chair of the board and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company from 1997 to 2000.

“I believe the communities surrounding Brenau and those of the High and Woodruff Arts Center will benefit in ways that we cannot yet even imagine today.”

For more information about entering your pre-1972 automobile in the Brenau Classic Car Show, go to or contact Lauren Bradford at 770-534-6120. Space is limited to the first 75 vehicles.

Originally published on 5/24/10