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Muscle Car Mania

Area car club members gear
for Riverfront Run Car Show

Bedford, Ky.'s Wilkins to show
off his Camara Panther

(May 2015) – Area car enthusiasts will be making their way to the banks of the Ohio River in Madison, Ind., on Saturday, May 23, to attend the Riverfront Run Car Show, organized by the locally based River Rat Rodz Car Club. No matter your area of interest, this open show promises trucks and motorcycles, as well as cars, from a wide range of eras.
For Derby City Camaro Club president Jim Wilkins, the atmosphere is hard to beat. “We have 12 members going to the riverfront,” he says. The Bedford, Ky., resident adds that the hospitality of the show and the small-town feel makes this particular show a favorite among club members.

Photo provided

Jim Wilkins of Bedford, Ky., poses with his prized SLP Camaro Panther, which he takes to area car shows. He plans to participate in the upcoming Riverfront Run Car Show in Madison, Ind. It is set for May 23 on the Riverfront.

Wilkins, 54, won the People’s Choice Award last year with his 2012 Street Legal Performance (SLP) Camaro Panther. This 560-horsepower supercharged limited edition is No. 4 in a body style that Chevrolet says will only be used for 100 cars. This vehicle is a throwback to the company’s early plans to create its answer to the Ford Mustang.
In 1966 the rumors in the automotive world reported that Chevy was well on its way to creating its own pony car, or a smaller vehicle with a sport-oriented design. The project was code named “Panther.” However, in keeping with tradition, the new design would need to be christened with a name beginning with a “C.”
Unlike other modern Camaros, the Panther has a ride height that has been lowered a full inch as well as a modified spring package that makes for a smoother ride. The car is also outfitted with black chrome wheels that sport the panther logo.
Wilkins’ relationship with General Motors began at age 25 when he purchased his 1985 Trans Am. He recalls that he wanted the car as soon as he saw it, even though it had not even been processed into the lot’s inventory and was not technically available for purchase. However, Wilkins was able to buy the car. He recalls that he had to help install the splitter spoiler that keeps the car from overheating before he could drive it off the lot.
“My first credit card was a GM card,” he recalls. He then used the card to add the TA’s signature louvres on the back windshield as well as an enhanced speaker package, which were the two big options available on that model.
Wilkins’ Derby City Car Club is open to owners of all generations of Camaro and Firebird. The group has members ranging in age from their late teens to their ’70s, and they like to attend shows that are partnered with a charitable organization. This September, the club has partnered with Bob Hook Chevrolet in Louisville, Ky., and will be presenting its own car show at the Sportsdrome Speedway in Clarksville, Ind. Proceeds from this show will benefit the Dream Factory, a children’s wish granting organization that has a chapter in Louisville.
This desire to give back is a sentiment shared by the organizers of the Riverfront Run Car Show, with proceeds going to scholarships and the Shop with a Firefighter program.
The fun commences at 6 p.m. Friday, May 22, with a Poker Run that originates at Madison Bicentennial Park. There is a $10 entry fee. Also on Friday night, music lovers can enjoy live music provided by The Rumors and sponsored by River Valley Financial Bank. The concert is free to the public and is scheduled from 7-10 p.m. The car show opens at 8 a.m. Saturday, May 23. Awards will be presented at 4:30 p.m.
“Riverfront Run does an outstanding job making sure everyone feels welcome and has a good time,” said last year’s winner, Jerry Horine. He adds that the show being held on Memorial Day weekend provides an opportunity for people to honor veterans by enjoying a beautiful day filled with beautiful cars on the Ohio River – and the freedom that allows them to do so.

• For more information on the Riverfront Run Car Show, call (812) 599-6635.

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