Kars Unlimited

Club History

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2021 Veterans In The Park

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Kars Unlmited Logo

THE EARLY DAYS

 

Kars Unlimited was formed in Covington Virginia in 1976 by a group of local car enthusiasts that shared a common interest.  Early club activates primarily consisted of informal cruise in's, picnics, and impromptu meets at club members’ garages. Kars Unlimited held their first car show in 1978 at the Stanley Nichols building in Covington.  This would be the prelude to a much bigger event the following year.  As in modern times Kars Unlimited has always been involved with local charities and fundraisers.  It was not uncommon for Kars Unlimited to hold a car wash or other event on short notice to help raise money for local residents or charities in need

 

STREETSCENE AND THE BOOMING 80's

 

August of 1979 saw the presentation of the first organized car show in downtown Covington.  Streetscene, as the show would be known, would become the longest running open car show in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Main Street of Covington and the mid-city mall parking lot would be lined with classic cars, trucks, and motorcycles of all kinds for area residents to view and enjoy free of charge.  Classic music from the 50's and 60's filled the air on the bright sunny August day as thousands of people attended this event that was like no other ever held in Alleghany County...  As Kars Unlimited entered the 80's Streetscene would continue to grow each year, sometimes as many as 300 vehicles would be on display.  Activities would continue on Saturday night at Cocci’s restaurant where local residents could travel back in time to 50's night.  Music, classic cars, and nostalgia.  Kars Unlimited was on a roll.  Sponsoring car washes, dances, and poker runs each year.  And as with always donating the proceeds to charity.  By the mid-Eighties Streetscene was attracting entries from many miles away.  The Saturday night activates however had outgrown the space limitations of Cocci’s and were moved in different years to downtown Covington, Casey Field, or the Aides parking lot.  Live music now filled the air on Saturday nights.  Streetscene had become the biggest weekend event in Covington.

 

THE 90'S AND INTO THE NEW CENTURY

 

The 20th Streetscene was held in 1989 and attendance was as strong as before.  Though the population of Alleghany County had dwindled somewhat Kars Unlimited was as strong as ever.  New members became involved in the club, though some club activates ceased by the early 90's Kars Unlimited was still very prominent in the community.  Streetscene remained the featured attraction throughout the 90's.  Though not as large of a show as it was in the early 80's it was still a huge hit.  Streetscene Saturday night activities continued to draw large crowds each year as some of the best area bands performed for local residents.  Kars Unlimited members also frequently attended other shows during this time, and were regular participants in area Christmas parades.  Most importantly, Kars Unlimited was continuing to work hard to raise money for local charities including the Christmas Mother program.

 

THE MODERN ERA, 30TH ANNIVERSERY STREETSCENE, AND REBIRTH OF THE "OLD" KARS UNLIMITED

 

During August of 2008 Kars Unlimited presented the 30th Anniversary Streetscene.  It was an incredible event, one of the largest Streetscnes ever presented.  Many faces form the past were present, and so were many new ones.  Cars overflowed the mid-city mall onto Locust Street.  It was a grand event.  Streetscene 2008 was followed up by a very well attended Saturday night event at the new Jackson River Sports Complex.  The grassy open air ampatheatre would become the perfect venue for the clubs night activates.  During 2009 the 31st Streetscene was presented and it too had the flavor and feel of the old time shows.  During this time Kars Unlimited members also became very involved in the MDA Car Show in Roanoke, Virginia.  Representing the club on site each year, and often displaying one or more of the member’s vehicles...  In early 2010 the Kars Unlimited website became active and the club changed its colors back to the original red and yellow of old.  Streetscene 2010 was one of the best events ever with over 200 cars entering the show.  The highlight of the weekend however was the Saturday night concert at the Rock River Amphitheater featuring the tribute bands Hard Day’s Night and 2nd Flyte.  Over 1,200 people attended the concert.  It was an event like none ever seen before in the Alleghany Highlands.  By popular demand Hard Day’s Night and 2nd Flyte made another appearance during the STREETSCENE Saturday Night Concert in 2011.  This time they were joined by English Channel.  Over 1,200 people attended the concert.  The 2011 edition of STREETSCENE featured over 220 vehicles.

Kars Unlimited celebrated their 35th Anniversary in 2013 in grand fashion, over 230 cars participated in STREETSCENE 2013, and over 1,500 area residents attended the STREETSCENE SATURDAY NIGHT Concert at the Jackson River Sports Complex featuring the band LEGGZ and a fireworks display presented by the City of Covington. 

Kars Unlimited returned to their roots in 2014, hosting several cruise in's at the new Tractor Supply store at the Mallow Mall.  Each event evoked memories from the late 70's when club members and friends would hang out at the Mallow Mall, show their cars, and have some good clean fun.  Keeping with Kars Unlimited desire to help residents in the area in need, each cruise in served as a fund raiser for an area resident in need.  

The year 2015 was an incredible year for Kars Unlimited.  The 37TH STREETSCENE was the largest in over 20 years with 292 vehicles participating.  The club also hosted several cruise ins and participated in several area shows.  On a sad note, the club also lost one of its founding members Jeff Hicks.  Jeff will be remembered fondly by all current and past Kars Unlimited members.


40TH ANNIVERSARY STREETSCENE AND BEYOND


In 2018 Kars Unlimited Held the 40th Annual STREETSCENE in downtown Covington.  It truly was a grand spectacle.  Nearly 300 cars were in attendance and the event saw one of the largest public crowds ever.  Special tribute was paid to fallen founding Kars Unlimited member Denny Pence and our two remaining charter members Eddy Clemons and James "Twig" Bush were given a special tribute.  The STREETSCENE Saturday Night Concert featured the band THE ENGLISH CHANNEL playing to a packed River Rock Amphitheater and the night concluded with one of the largest fireworks displayed ever presented in the City of Covington.  Heading into 2019 Kars Unlimited presented one of the largest and most successful STREETSCENE's ever held.  In addition The 2019 Cruise In season was very successful and members headed into 2020 on a wave of optimism.


A NEW DECADE AND NEW CHALLENGES


The optimism felt at the end of 2019 carried into 2020 as Kars Unlimited along with many other clubs attended that years MDA car show.  It seemed everyone was gearing up for what would be an epic car show season.  All of this came to a screeching halt however as just days after the MDA Car Show Virginia's Governor imposed extreme and excessive restrictions on Virginians due to the COVID-19 virus.  All across the state car shows were cancelled or postponed as our safe, outdoor activities were among the most heavily restricted by the new guidelines.  As winter turned into spring more shows were cancelled as the Governor tightened his grip on every aspect of our activites.  Finally by May restrictions had eased enough to allow some types of car related activities to return.  Although the guidelines prevented traditional car shows Kars Unlimited pressed on, bringing back one of the most classic elements of the car hobby, cruising.  The first Kars Unlimited Cruise Night was held on Memorial Day weekend and over one hundred cars came out cruising the town and gathering for informal meets.  Local restaurants were overjoyed to see the cruisers ordering curbside and dining on their parking lots as their dining rooms remained closed and their businesses suffered greatly.  Summer Cruise Nights proved to be very popular with the car crowd, the public, and area businesses.  As May turned to June the Governor ever so slightly eased up on the restrictions allowing our Cruise In's to resume in mid July.  Fortunately we were able to hold five of these events in 2020 helping area residents whom had serious illnesses that had all but been forgot by the governing bodies whom were imposing restrictions.  By July it had also became clear that STREETSCENE would not be able to be held in downtown Covington because of the restrictions on gatherings that were still in place.  Fortunately, due to quick thinking by Kars Unlimited membership and the extraordinary cooperation from the City of Covington we were able to hold the event at the Jackson River Sports Complex as it was a sports venue and fell under a different set of guidelines.  The 42nd Annual STREETSCENE was different, but it was a great event.  The year 2020 will forever be known as the year that Kars Unlimited pressed on and went the extra mile to hold our events, helping our residents and our community enjoy some safe, social fun when so much had been taken from them.  Although 2020 was a tough year, Kars Unlimited pressed on when so many other clubs threw in the towel. 


RETURN TO MAIN STREET AND CONTINUED GROWTH


Following the dark days of 2020 Kars Unlimited emerged as one of the few organizations within the Commonwealth of Virginia displaying the courage to press on amidst national turmoil.  Although the 42nd Annual STREETSCENE was an enormous success, the decision was an easy one to make, STREETSCENE needed to move back to downtown Covington in 2021.  Many positive developments came out of Kars Unlimited's venture to the Jackson River Sports Complex however, the quality and suitability of the venue for car related events was clear.  A decision was made that in 2021 Kars Unlimited would sponsor two car show, for the first time in it's history.  The 1st Annual Veterans In The Park car show was held at the sports complex during May of 2021 and despite less than desirable weather, the event was a tremendous success.  In keeping with it's tittle and Kars Unlimited's commitment to the community, the proceeds from the show were donated to the local V.F.W chapter.  Cruise In's and Cruise Nights continue to be held and preparation is under way for STREETSCENES triumphant return to downtown Covington.  It's been a wild ride, but it continues to be fun as we carry our legacy into the future.

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35TH Anniversery STREETSCENE 2013

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30th Anniversery Streetscene

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And Now We Step Into The Way Back Machine...

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30th Anniversery Streetscene

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Streetscene Prize Giveaways

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Kars Unlimited At Dixie Food Mart

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Early Club Offivers 1970 Something

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2009 MDA Car Show Booth

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Twig Bush, John Bush, Eddy Clemons - Charter Members

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Robert Floyd and "Big Al' Live On Highway 64