The Spartanburg Regional History Museum is currently hosting an extensive exhibit about the history of racecars in Spartanburg. Racing Legends of Spartanburg has hundreds of authentic elements, including old autographed photographs, racing uniforms (with the original dirt and grim), helmets, trophies, flags, an engine block from a drag racer, andeven actual racecars, such as a 1928 dirt track Sprint car, a micro midget, and a homemade soapbox derby car. The exhibit will be open until Sept. 1, Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Chapman Cultural Center.
Spartanburg has an established and well document history of auto racing, dating back to the days of moonshining. Delivering illegal whiskey and outrunning the law in Upstate South Carolina are the roots of auto racing that later developed into an international sport with many variations, such as drag racing, stock car racing, and even soapbox derbies, which was a favorite father-and-son activity in many communities. Among the displays at the History Museum is a real moonshine-making still, accompanied by a short history lesson setting the perspective of running whiskey and auto racing.
“This is one of our most extensive and popular exhibits ever,” Museum Director Nannie Jefferies said. “It’s been in the making for over a year, and we have borrowed artifacts far and wide from some of the greatest names in auto racing. Many people know that Spartanburg was instrumental in the early development of auto racing, but I believe this is the first time someone has pulled together an exhibited history. This is very complete and colorful story about something unique to Spartanburg. The story may not be over, but Spartanburg was certainly there from the very beginning.”