I want to backtrack a bit here.The Pigeon Forge Tennessee Grand Rod Run started as a car show at the Grand Resort and for some crazy reason,limited space or (?) it flowed out onto Parkway which is the main road.
The hotel was rated the dirtiest in the country, the convention facility was dated and towards the end even lacked rest rooms, the facility was closed with the promise of a revamp. At the moment it is an empty lot GONE!
The concept of a "car show" lives on in the new Le Conte Center and now it is just the Pigeon Forge Rod Run with new promoters.
This is at least my 4th year so 7th Rod Run and some discussion with friends and my own observations are disappointing!
When I first attended it was clear folks were building special projects to debut at the Rod Run and the first year in the Le Conte center had a major rod and custom feel reminiscent of the Detroit Autorama and even when at the Grand Resort they had some heavy hitting street rods!
This Camaro just won SEMA's 1st battle of the builders!
This Dart was one of the Detroit Autorama Great 8!
In retrospect as I review the photos although some of the cars featured maybe did not meet the high level of most, quality was present!
This is not a street rod!
Yes you get out of the elements and get some clean restrooms,but this needs to step up its game a bit!
Taking in the actual show seems to be just a diversion with added walking and a $10 fee!
Many vendors were selling wallets and jewelry, many vendors were out in the unpaved area outside with all the rain was muddy!
I feel the center of the display floor should be filled with hand picked cars that are far above the norm!
Let me clearly state the Le Conte display is not a "ROD RUN", maybe an up and coming car show?
I do feel the vendors took up way too much space, remember what goes on less than a half mile away is still not joined at the hip in anyway!
I think the show in the Le Conte should have the aura that it is the only event happening and with the move off of the main strip I would venture to say many never attended the indoor happening? I think they need to expand the handpicked (invited) show cars!
The freestyle car show takes place very disorganized along about 3 1/2 miles of roadside parking, but only on the outside of the power lines seen in the above photos. You will notice the stores and restaurants that need to still let customers park! I say about 3 1/2 miles because it does flow past these limits and beyond,but I have to put some end caps on this thing!
ROD RUN, so I decided to pick what I consider to be worthy Street Rods and I do feel they should have been inside the Le Conte not squeezed into grassy parking spots or in parking lots!
If you attempt to walk the show expect at least 7-8 miles (round trip) and my blisters are living proof I went and done it again!!
Over the last 3 years I have watched it become a used car lot, seems everything is dragged out, some fresh painted "barn find/beaters", but not for this weeks blog!
Lets ignore the junk cars and beaters for now!
The best I can tell this event has been around for 30 years? Who is keeping track, NOBODY!
Yes some quality cars do attend,but most serious enthusiasts choose to leave their show cars home and just check out the spectacle. No entertainment,no organized display areas, it is freestyle to say the least!
You have to deploy the "boots on the ground" approach or you will inevitably miss a bunch of stuff!
It seems the fame only hit in this decade,brewing for 20 years, exploding and fizzling?
You can sit with your car, but you won't see much, the cruiser traffic makes up mostly hunky diesel pickups and commuter cars! I sat for almost 2 hours and actually nodded off a few times!
Once you get a good spot, you gotta keep it all weekend or else!
You need to be a CARHUNTER!
There is no entertainment, no clubs securing a "headquarters lot" and camp out, no vendors and no organization!
Although I balked at the Woodward dream cruise outside of Detroit they at least had the cooperation of many townships, designated parking/show display areas and manufacturers displays from Ford , Chevy and Chrysler! Cruiser traffic was the show vehicles amongst regular site seers!
I noticed quite a few areas that could be had for the weekend - front and center spots for a small fee, why has no club taken them? Club members come and go as they please cruise and come back to a guaranteed spot?
Muscle Cars, Trucks, Rat Rods, Street Rods and just about everything from Packards to Pintos shows up here!
I was told that the show originally started in Gatlinburg near by and was run out by the Police.
It seems the Police are now being very critical and enforcing everything even approaching cars parked on private property and looking for violations! A friend had a car parked at a hotel and the officer told him it was not a parking spot even though the owner had giving an OK. The car had to be moved off private property under threat of a ticket!?
This is the best video I have seen taken from the pilots seat of a street rod!
2012 Spring show
Watch both videos- this was back in 2012 and an early AM sweep
Google maps street view actually shot the area during the Rod Run a few years ago which was very cool, but updated during a non car show weekend, too bad!
Can someone take the bulls by the horns and have meetings with the local government and Police to organize this thing, I think so, but it is a different part of the world down here, it may be tough!!
I DID NOT WANT TO DISCOURAGE ANYONE FROM ATTENDING!
THE FALL SHOW USUALLY IS BIGGER AS THE WEEK BEFORE IS SHADES OF THE PAST AT NEARBY DOLLYWOOD