By now all of you should be aware that the National Street Rod Association has announced beginning in 2010 its events will implement a 30-year sliding scale as to defining an eligible participant.
For starters, in the NSRA's published release it was reported, "...an overwhelming majority of our members are requesting that we open our events. Most are making the request in order for them to be able to continue to participate as a family; parents, children, and grandchildren. The National Street Rod Association has always been and will continue to be focused on making our events a family activity." We couldn't agree more.
To get added insight I took the opportunity to speak with Vernon Walker of the NSRA; he has watched, listened, and learned from the past 40-plus years being one of the "guiding lights" and principal policy shapers of the NSRA.
SR: How long has the NSRA had been "percolating" this idea?VW: We have been thinking and working out details in our minds for the past 4 or 5 years-it was about getting the timing right.
SR: Why was the cutoff set at 30 years and not 20 or some other number?VW: We wanted to include cars that are not yet desirable but shortly will be; it allows for new 'blood' to participate down the line, and new cars that are both plentiful and affordable.
SR: Will the owners/participants of these post-'49 cars be members of the NSRA just like the current membership?
VW: Yes, it is the NSRA intent to treat all members the same-one big family approach.
SR: What has the early feedback been from manufacturers and the core membership on the expansion?
VW: The manufacturers are 100-plus percent behind the expansion; the membership has been overwhelmingly in favor, say 98 percent-plus.
SR: The expansion into later model year cars will also bring a younger participant. Will there be a change in the types of events held on the grounds, entertainment, etc.?
VW: We will use the first year and the experience we have already gathered to learn how best to accommodate the younger rodders.
SR: Will all manufacturers' booths be mixed throughout or will there be sections for pre- and post-'48 vehicles?
VW: All the manufacturers will be comingled.
SR: The NSRA already has the largest automotive participant event in the U.S.-and possibly the world. Is Louisville prepared for the possibility of 15,000 entrants within a few years?
VW: The NSRA has signed a contract with the Kentucky Expo Center through the year 2020 to host the Street Rod Nationals. We wouldn't have done that if we weren't assured by the City Fathers there would be new hotels and all the related facilities to host such an event.
SR: Will there be a cutoff for the number of entrants at any given event?
VW: No cutoff is planned as of yet. We need to win over late-model rodders and convince them the NSRA will provide the type of event in which they'd wish to participate. It will take time to bring in the large numbers of late-model rodders.
SR: Will stockers be encouraged to participate?
VW: It doesn't matter if you show up with a modified '32 or a stocker, and it will not matter if you show up with a modified '62 or a stocker: all are welcome. We hope once the "stockers" are on the grounds they will want to either convert or build a hot rod.
SR: Will everything from a Camaro to a full-size Ford be welcome?
VW: All cars that fit the 30-year sliding scale are welcome.
SR: What about classic trucks: '47-54 Chevy's, '67-72 Chevys?
VW: It doesn't matter-all GMCs, Chevys, Fords, Mopars, etc. are welcome as long as they fit the cutoff year.
SR: What about replicars?
VW: If they are registered as 30 years or older they will be fine. If they are registered as late-models then they don't fit the guidelines.
SR: What about foreign cars such as English, Australian, German, etc.?
VW: No problem.
SR: Will there be awards added for these late-model cars?
VW: Awards will be for all cars, no distinction.
SR: Will you eventually build a post-'48 giveaway car?
VW: I would imagine in time this too will occur.
SR: Will there be outdoor corrals for various years, makes, models, etc.?
VW: The participants will determine this, if they want this type of activity and inform us we will do what is required.
SR: Will there be more state reps added?
VW: Right now we will retain the status quo.
SR: Are we going to see you drive a '69 Camaro to the Nats?
VW: Well, I have two '57 Chevys but I am partial to my '39 Chevy. We will see.
After speaking with Vernon one couldn't help but be excited about the future of rodding in the land of the NSRA. There are other associations and individual events who have taken this broader viewpoint with great success. By being one of, if not the oldest, association to cater to rodders nationwide it will add more clout to our hobby/industry and go a long way toward solidifying a strong future for all of us.