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According to many, 2013 WW&K ‘the best ever!’

The mighty and mini were on display at Wings, Wheels & Keels at Hummel Field in Topping on Saturday. Above, the muscular blue Dodge Challenger contrasts the red Citroen 2CV, France’s iconic economy car. (Photo by Tom Chillemi)

by Tom Chillemi

There was a wide variety of machines on display at Wings, Wheels & Keels 2013 held on September 28 at Hummel Field in Topping.

About the only thing some cars shared in common was that they had an engine and a steering wheel.

For example, an iconic Citroen 2CV with its 29-horsepower, 2-cylinder engine was on display next to a muscular 2008 Dodge Challenger, boasting 426 horsepower.

Consider how different they are.

The 2CV was made in France following World War II. Its engine was 602 cubic centimeters (.6 of a litre, or about 36 cubic inches). Designed to sip gasoline, it got 45 miles per gallon, and topped out at 70 miles per hour. It was a farmer’s car, with doors and a rear seat that could be removed to load farm produce, animals, feed or whatever was going to market.

Using aircraft design innovation, it weighed 1,200 pounds, which contributed to its economy. The engine and 4-speed transmission were mounted on the front axle. The disc brakes (extremely rare for the time) were mounted “inboard” on the front axle next to the transmission, not at the wheels. 

Its neighbor on Saturday was a 2008 Dodge Challenger “muscle car” with an engine displacing 6.1 liters (370 cubic inches). It was Dodge’s recreation of the version of the Challenger that was built from 1970 to 1974. At the time, the United States had just flown men to the moon, gasoline was cheap, and the “energy crisis” was something most had never thought about.

The new Challenger, weighing more than 4,000 pounds, is in many ways the opposite of the 2CV.

The Challenger is about brute horsepower—to excess—and a flashback to pony cars, drag racing and a generation that left its signature with black tire marks on pavement.

The 2CV of 1948 was designed for austere times, when many people were still using horses and wagons. Its French name, “deux chevaux-vapeur,” translates to “two steam horses.” It was produced until 1990.

Best in show
There was so much to see at Wings, Wheels & Keels (WW&K), including a 1930 Cadillac that was named “Best in Show.” This American icon was restored by Alan Merkel of White Stone. His rare V-16 powered Cadillac will be featured in the October 17 “Wheels & Keels” special section in the Southside Sentinel and Rappahannock Record.

“I was amazed at how many motorcars were in attendance with so much variety,” said WW&K founder and organizer Jamie Barnhardt. 

Motorcar types ranged from a three-wheel Morgan to Merkel’s Cadillac that would need two parking spaces when parked on a city street.  

“We enjoyed a great variety of vintage aircraft, many of which were of the type men trained in prior to true air combat with the Germans and Japanese during WWII,” Barnhardt added.

“Rusty Gills’ professionalism was spectacular in conducting the first-ever spot landing contest for Wings, Wheels and Keels,” said Barnhardt. “The smile on Anna Brown’s face when she found out that she was the winner and received the $2,000 prize was even more spectacular.”  

Attendance was estimated to be close to 3,000 people, said Barnhardt. “We had a record-setting vendor count in excess of 50 with a wide array of offerings. Many said it was the best ever!”

Read the rest of this story and more about Wings, Wheels & Keels in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 10.02.2013

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