World Of Customs- The South’s Premier Indoor Car Show

 

For the third year in a row, custom cars from around the surrounding areas of Tupelo, Mississippi, flocked to the World of Customs, a premiere indoor auto show for the south. The competition is tough. The quality of vehicles is top-notch. That is to be expected, of course, as this is an invite-only show. Once you’re inside, however, its the friendliest group around. 

Everywhere you turn, there are people: car owners, family, fans, and spectators sharing stories, histories, and build photos. There’s a bit of nostalgia as you walk around and hear stories of building up barn finds or restoring their first vehicles as participants flip through photo albums showing off their handy work.

Colleen Porterfield brought her 1953 Pontiac Chieftain and has a heartwarming story on how she came to acquire the vehicle. The third owner of the vehicle., she purchased it from a dear friend who was able to save it from being crushed at the junkyard. Since receiving the '53, she has upgraded the motor and wiring and has many more plans for the future.

Spanning between two buildings at the Tupelo Furniture Market the show has a little bit of everything for everyone. The show features a wide variety of International Show Car Association (ISCA)  custom cars, trucks, and motorcycles, as well as restored antique vehicles.

This year the show also celebrates the 150th birthday of the city of Tupelo as well as the 85th birthday of Elvis. Complete with musical performances from Elvis impersonators. Elvis wasn’t the only celebrity in the building that weekend. Forrest Gump, Bumble Bee, and Iron Man could be found walking around posing for pictures and interacting with spectators. The infamous Von Hot Rod was also set up pinstriping almost anything brought to him. Anything from car accessories to cameras, and even high heels — if it was able to be brought to his booth, he was willing to stripe it.

Tupelo is the birthplace of Elvis, and this show just happened to celebrate his 85th birthday. Here Durrell Lollar’s ’51 Ford pays homage to The King.

Welcome to the Chop Shop

One of the highlights of the show was watching Steel Rose Metal Company and CPC Customs perform a chop on a ‘52 Chevy Fleetline, right on site. With grinders, sawzalls, and welders — even while wearing a three-piece suit — Mike Abbot and his crew at Steel Rose Customs, along with  Lonnie Johnson of CPC Customs, completed a chop in two days before the eyes of eager onlookers. 

The crew showed that craftsmanship and metal fab are alive and well. Whether you sat and watched for hours or just checked in a couple of times a day, it was a real treat to see the project come together. Completing a chop of 4 inches in the front and 6 inches in the rear, this was a first-hand experience a lot of show spectators don’t get to see. It was something that truly makes you appreciate the time and effort that go into a lot of the vehicles at shows.

Mike Abbot, Lonnie Johnson, and their crews worked tirelessly to complete a 4-6 chop. Pausing briefly to pose for photos and answer questions, they worked all weekend long showing the skill and craftsmanship that goes into these custom builds.

Coming from Dora, Alabama, Bubba Youngblood brought his LS-powered ‘66 Chevy Nova SS. Originally built in 1986 as a drag car, this car has come a long way. After retiring it in ‘93 and letting it sit for a while, Bubba decided it was time for a complete overhaul. When the urge hit to start building, he wanted to keep the same car but make it something completely new.

Built by Paul Gargus of Dora, Alabama, the paint and interior were completed at The Tin Shop in Hancesville, Alabama.

David Grove’s 1948 Chevy Moonshine Delivery truck was surely a crowd-pleaser. Originally a Goodyear delivery truck, he and his wife have owned the vehicle for 40 years. Dennis purchased the vehicle for $50 to see if he could do a chop top on his own. He was successful. He drove the truck for six years with the chop before it spent three years in storage.

Chock full of modifications, this truck sports a 1972 Nova subframe and front-disc conversion. It is powered by a 292ci, six-cylinder, with a Wolverine Cam, and two-speed Powerglide. Unique features include the tapered front grille and filled-in fenders. Living next to a sawmill proved helpful, as all the woodwork is done by hand.

David Grove’s 1948 Chevy Moonshine Delivery truck was surely a crowd-pleaser. Originally a Goodyear delivery truck, he and his wife have owned the vehicle for 40 years. Dennis purchased the vehicle for $50 to see if he could do a chop top on his own. He was successful. He drove the truck for six years with the chop before it spent three years in storage.

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About the author

Laura Lazar

An automotive, photography, history and travel nut. Hanging out coast to coast at car shows and races is her idea of a perfect life. Laura may a small problem with collecting show and project vehicles but her 1st love will always be her 64 Caddy.
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