The Corvette Expo Featuring Chevys in the Smokies Takes Over East Tennessee

By Tommy Lee Byrd   –   Images by the Author

Some parts of the country have a climate that is conducive to year-round car shows, but for most of us, the winter months are spent in the garage. By March, cabin fever sets in and it’s time to get out. For 47 years, the Corvette Expo in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, has been the go-to season opener for folks in the Southeast, but it has expanded over the years to reach a broader audience. A few years ago, the Corvette Expo event organizers added a special feature area for Chevelles, which has morphed into Chevys in general, so it’s not uncommon to see Camaros, Novas, Chevy trucks, and more. The Chevys in the Smokies feature widens the audience and has sparked significant growth in the event.

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002 Classic white Chevrolet Chevelle with hood open

Read More: Corvettes and Chevy Muscle Cars Invade the Great Smoky Mountains

From NCRS-certified stockers to wild custom creations, the Corvette Expo has a great variety of cars on hand. We saw a significant increase in C8 Corvette participation this year, ranging from bone-stock base model cars to highly modified customs. As always, the early Corvettes get a lot of attention from the purists, but there were lots of great late-model cars in attendance. Those late models are the most likely to take part in the Dragon Cruise, a coordinated driving event, that tackles the famed Tail of the Dragon, a mountain road that has 318 curves in 11 miles.

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003 Vintage white drag corvette with Smokey's Dyno Service

One of the wildest customs on hand was Jim Bryant’s final build, a car that combines a highly modified C1 body with C7 underpinnings. If that name sounds familiar, Bryant was the man behind the Soff Seal ’57 Chevy Pro Mod, driven by Rob Vandergriff in the ’80s and ’90s. Bryant and Vandergriff remained friends for many years, and Vandergriff was on hand representing the car after Bryant’s death in December 2023. Our favorite drag car on the property was Tom Clary’s ’63 Corvette. It was set up for Modified Production with a John Lingenfelter–prepared small-block, but the “wow” factor is the untouched paintjob, complete with beautiful hand lettering. It’s always exciting to see some of the survivors that come out of hiding to take part in this annual event. Chevelle guru Jeff Helms had an outstanding all-original ’66 Chevelle SS396 on hand—one of six built with the L78 (395/375hp) big-block, M21 four-speed, and 3.07:1 rear end ratio.

004 Blue custom Corvette with gullwing doors open

Although the weather wasn’t ideal for Friday’s activities, the crowds really came out on Saturday, packing the LeConte Center inside and out. Let’s look at some of our favorites from the 2024 Corvette Expo featuring Chevys in the Smokies, and if you’re interested in taking part in this annual event, check out corvetteexpo.com for more information.

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