The King’s car needed a throne. A unique backdrop to frame the feat. Something worthy of the legend and the lore.
The King in this story is Richard Petty and the car, a replica of the No. 43 Plymouth Belvedere in which Petty scored 10 back-to-back wins during the 1967 NASCAR stock racing season and captured 27 of the 48 races held that year.
In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Petty’s historic season, Smithfield Foods—a sponsor of Richard Petty Motorsports since 2012—restored a 1967 Plymouth Belvedere that mirrors the No. 43 car, right down to the 43 that was hand-painted onto the replica by the artist who painted the original. The bright blue Belvedere was unveiled this past February at Daytona International Speedway to launch Smithfield’s “Win The King’s Car” promotion.
The idea conceived by the Smithfield marketing team was to display the restored No. 43 car at NASCAR events held around the country during 2016 then give it away at Daytona in February 2017 to mark the 50th anniversary. Race fans and consumers would register to win at roughly 15 events held throughout the year, giving Smithfield a sizable consumer database by the time the car was awarded.
While there was fanfare around the car’s unveiling last February, Smithfield officials knew that something was missing. The celebrated car begged for a backdrop that suited the story and would command attention at race events. To accomplish that, Smithfield turned to Jackson Marketing, Motorsports and Events.
Jackson submitted seven ideas for displaying the King’s car, with one quickly rising to the top of the list. The concept selected was an illustration of a 1960s-era service station/garage, with a tent-like awning extending from the station to cover the car. In an interesting twist, the station would double as the 20-ft. trailer that housed the No. 43 car as it traveled from venue to venue. The illustration included a 60s style gas pump at the front of the display that would be fabricated to feature an iPad as its face. Consumers would use it to register to win the car.
Jackson began procurement and production of the elements in the illustration, selecting Atlanta-based Fascinate Experiential Environments for fabrication of the gas pump. Using the concept illustration and 1960s gas pump images as a guide, Fascinate built the unit, outfitting it with an authentic hose, handle and lever. An angled shelf was built inside the unit to cradle the iPad.
Graphics produced for the exterior of the trailer feature images of service station attendants of a by-gone era, Coca-Cola signage and era-specific branding, including STP Oil and S&H Green Stamps. An A-frame sign proclaiming “Regular 22 9/10” was produced, and a vintage Coke machine secured. From concept to completion was six weeks.
“This project was very much like creating a museum-type display and making it mobile,” said Todd Steen, Jackson’s Executive Director of Business Development. And according to recent stops at Richmond International Raceway and Dover International Speedway, the King’s car now has a wow factor that gives it stopping power.
“Every time you drop the tailgate on the trailer and the car rolls out, people don’t just stand back and watch it, they literally flock to it,” Steen said. “There’s an excited pace and often a run to come over to get a picture of it. The legend and lore behind this vehicle definitely come to life when you drop that trailer.”
In addition to race fans, the King’s Car exhibit has received a thumbs-up from Smithfield associates and Petty himself, who visited the exhibit in Richmond along with Aric Almirola, current driver of the No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports.
The “Win The King’s Car” tour continues through November 20 of this year. The winner of the street-legal replica of the No. 43 car will be drawn by the end of the year and flown to Daytona in February to receive the car during the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of Petty’s dream season.
Until then, you can register to win the King’s Car at any of the following venues:
June 26, Sonoma Raceway, Sonoma, CA
Aug. 20, Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN
Sept. 10, Richmond International Raceway, Richmond, VA
Sept. 12, Boise Open Golf Tournament, Boise, ID
Sept. 18, Chicagoland Speedway, Joliet, IL
Sept. 25, New Hampshire Speedway, Loudon, NH
Oct. 2, Dover International Speedway, Dover, DE
Oct. 8, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Charlotte, NC
Oct. 23, Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega, AL
Nov. 20, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, FL