Broad Street will be filled with vintage Aero Warriors on Saturday to help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the type of car that forced NASCAR to create a few new rules and the 50th anniversary of the Talladega Superspeedway.
Every five years there is a reunion of cars of the past with wings across the trunk. Kristy Steele of Steele Marketing who is helping organize the Aero Warrior reunion said this event will be unprecedented.
“Normally we have 60 to 70 of the winged cars come to a reunion,” Steele said. “This year more than 230 cars are registered. It is because it’s the 50th anniversary of the car. They predict this many will never get together again. It’s a big deal.”
Steele said the cars will start to arrive today and be involved in a couple private events Friday but Saturday everything will be happening along Broad Street is open for the public for car enthusiasts and anyone else interested to enjoy.
“They will start to line up at 6:30 a.m.,” Steele said. “The best times for the public will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.”
Steele said car owners and drivers will be around their cars sharing stories and talking automotive history. She said the whole city is involved.
“We opened registration for the reunion in March and all the local hotels sold out almost immediately,” Steele said. “Others are involved too. Main Street (Alexander City) will have bands in the Broad Street Plaza in front of Jake’s from noon until 3 p.m.”
The website for the event is promoting all the downtown places to eat and shop.
The Wellborn Musclecar Museum is open on Saturday and by appointment for the public but not this Saturday as the reunion takes over.
Steele said the museum has more than 80 cars in its collection and they are regularly rotated.
Five years ago at an Aero Warrior event at the Wellborn Musclecar Museum, Kenny Troutt stood next to the K&K Insurance 1969 Hemi Dodge Bobby Isaac piloted to a NASCAR championship in 1970 and Wellborn now owns.
Troutt’s name is painted on the rear quarter panel of the car, and he shared stories of how the car was built and how it forced NASCAR to write rules so other cars wouldn’t be left in its dust.
“People ask me, ‘How did you come up with that?’” Troutt said then to The Outlook. “We started with the D500 and built a new nose and the wing. When you put it on the track, it just stuck to the track and from there, I looked at Harry Hyde, and all we could do is smile.”
Hyde is the legendary crew chief that was the basis of the Tom Cruise film, “Days of Thunder.” Troutt said that was a special time in racing and the Aero Warrior was a big reason why.
“I tell people that we didn’t break any rules,” Troutt said. “But we are the reason a lot of those rules were written. We just found a way to make a car go fast. Back then, that’s what it was all about.”
The Aero Warrior Reunion will help put Alexander City on the map.
“It should be a lot of fun,” Steele said. “People are coming from everywhere. There is one guy here already from the U.K. and they are coming from all over Canada. It is an international event.”