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.
Supervising editor is Zachary Matson.