Thanks to Jim Landree of the...
Thanks to Jim Landree of the Minnesota Street Rod Association and the 30-some members who made the trek to SoCal in February to say hi while I was setting up at the Grand National Roadster Show. Each year Jim brings a contingent westward to sample what the West Coast has to offer in rodding and to also thaw out from the typical Minnesota winters.
Yep, I am now a veteran of the indoor car show circuit. While I have had my share of cars on display, I have never entered one of them into competition. Well, that's over.
For starters, I entered my '29 Ford highboy roadster in this year's Grand National Roadster Show at the Pomona Fairplex. Let's set the record straight from the get-go: any credit for how the car competed, its great looks, and outstanding fit and finish must go to Dean Livermore of Dean's Hot Rods of Phoenix. (Additional attaboys must also be passed onto Dick "Magoo" Megugorac for overseeing the project and for keeping me away so as not to screw up a good thing.) Well, at least I get credit for--it will come shortly, but for now I digress.
No matter how jaded one becomes after spending a lifetime around street rods, car shows, rod runs, early-morning donut cruises, and all matters related to cars, you can't help but get caught up in the moment when entering you car in a competition. It must be something manly (or at least a testosterone rush) when it comes to competition. It is my nature to be a mild-mannered, gentle soul.Well, that is, until the green flag drops. (I don't give a damn what the staff says. My infrequent rants, raves, and momentary lapses in restraint are brought about as a direct result of the pressure of the job.) I am not sure what it is about competition but I can feel my internal body temperature rising and the desire to kick the crap (figuratively speaking) out of the competition.
Fortunately for me, everyone from the show producers to my fellow competitors couldn't have been nicer. Everyone was so complimentary about the Model A highboy that it was really hard to get worked up. I know I shouldn't be so vain as to think my roadster was the cat's meow and the best highboy in the show, but I did. I might add, in spite of me. When reality set in, there was no denying that my highboy was quite capable of holding its own, competitively speaking. But one look around the five halls and there could be no denying that the level of workmanship was the highest it had been in years at the GNRS. I should also point out that street rods in general are clearly in their heyday as to the level of quality.
Truthfully, about the only thing I can really do well with a street rod is drive it. (And there are some doubts of that as well.) I am terrible at keeping my own cars clean and building one is pretty much a recipe for a disaster. Generally speaking, there's a good reason why I am kept away from fresh paint and not allowed to carry sharp objects around finished cars.
As I looked more closely at the cars in the show--all the cars, not just the ones in my class--I began to realize how much time, effort, and the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears owners and builders alike place into these works of art. Every car in the show (which also included nearly 100 motorcycles of uncompromising beauty and engineering) was something to behold and anyone would be proud to own. I would also have to say even those cars that might not be my cup of tea were well done and should be appreciated if for no other reason then the sheer effort put forth. Yep, I have a newfound appreciation of car show competitors and their cars.
Those of you who know me realize I have a definite opinion on trailer'd cars. So let's get it out of the way right now--yes, I did trailer my car to and from the show. Yes, the car is very capable of being driven, and it runs hard and rides nicely. Given my well-documented history of not cleaning cars, everyone thought it best to clean it once and get it to the show. So there it is--I trailer'd. I might add that the trailer was nicely detailed by Tech Editor Ron Ceridono, who is now referred to as one of my "peeps" and in charge of show logistics. I have been unleashed on the show car world--look out. Up next: Blackie Gejeian's Fresno Autorama.