Derek Chamberlain carefully ran a soft, shaggy dust brush Saturday over the sharp angles of his fully restored 1966 Ford Thunderbird.
“My very first car was a ’63 Thunderbird, and I’ve stayed with them ever since,” said Chamberlain, who lives in Kansas City and works in collision repair at Jay Wolfe Body Shop.
Chamberlain is among hundreds of local car fanatics showing off their prize possessions this weekend at the 55th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts World of Wheels custom car show at the Kansas City Convention Center.
The show is packing Bartle Hall — a space the size of eight football fields — with more than 700 custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. About 90 percent of them came from within 100 miles of Kansas City, said Larry Way, public relations director for World of Wheels.
Way said he expected at least 25,000 people to attend the three-day show in Kansas City, “a hotbed of automotive interest.”
More than cars are at the family-friendly event. Booths display everything from pinstripe art to homemade root beer to skull-shaped shift knobs.
World of Wheels also features appearances by celebrity guests such as WWE wrestler Sheamus, who met fans on Friday, and Peyton List from the Disney show “Jessie,” who signed autographs on Saturday. Farmtruck and Azn, co-stars of Discovery Channel’s “Street Outlaws,” are scheduled to make their World of Wheels appearance from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.
On Saturday, Jonathan Hahn of Spring Hill got an up-close look at five vehicles from the “Fast & Furious” movie franchise, including the 1995 Mitsubishi Eclipse that Paul Walker drove in “Fast & Furious.”
Hahn said he owns all the “Fast & Furious” movies on DVD and was most excited to check out the matte black 1970 Dodge Charger that Vin Diesel drove in the fourth installment.
The “Fast & Furious” cars are a popular attraction at World of Wheels, Way said, but in Kansas City, the lowriders might draw even bigger crowds.
More than 50 lowriders are parked at this year’s show, including a deep purple 1981 Cadillac Coupe De Ville nicknamed Purple Kush. On Saturday, Purple Kush owner Solo Batrez of Overland Park showed off the car’s hydraulics by displaying it with the back bumper tilted 4 feet off the floor.
Bill Hanley of Quincy, Ill., snapped a photo of the crooked Cadillac as his son Bill Hanley Jr. walked around it for a full 360-degree view. The Hanleys run an auto body shop and recently bought a 1965 Chevy Impala convertible that they plan to restore together.
“I like (Pontiac) GTOs a lot,” the elder Hanley said, “and he likes (Chevy) Impalas.”
“Especially the 1962s, ’63s and ’64s,” said the younger Hanley.
Anna Springer of Harrisonville shared a passion for cars with her dad, Kennie Springer, who died in 2011.
On Saturday, Anna wore a blue dress that matched the 1956 Ford Fairlane Victoria she restored with her dad. She said she drives the car every day because he would want it that way.
“My dad was dead set against having a trailer queen,” Springer said, referring to car show regulars who don’t drive their vehicles.
A short walk from Springer’s bright blue Fairlane, Joe Pace stood proudly next to the shiny 1982 DeLorean he made to look like the time machine in “Back to the Future.”
Pace, who owns Pace’s Body Shop in Kansas City, used airplane parts and other junk yard scraps to build his time machine back in 1985. He said he also made a replica of the Ecto-1 in “Ghostbusters” and is working on a “Dumb and Dumber”-style Shaggin’ Wagon that could be displayed at a future World of Wheels show.
“I’ve already got the carpet and the van,” Pace said. And, yes, he plans to drive his Shaggin’ Wagon.
“When I’m on the freeway,” Pace said, “you’ll see the ears flapping.”