There's a separate car show in downtown Escondido, CA, called the Cruisin' Grand held the
Imagine getting in on the ground floor of something great. Maybe it would have been buying into an unknown computer company called Apple in 1976 or, more recently, having the insight to buy Google stock when it went public in 2004, but it's great when you can be there to participate in the start-up of something good.
Take the 101 Fun Run, an annual driving event in Encinitas, California. Though only in its third year, attendance has doubled each time the event has been held. Now, to be fair, only four cars showed up the first year, but the idea is starting to catch on!
Dennis Mahar, an ex-drag racer who gave up racing in the '80s to pursue life's other responsibilities, was recently introduced to the thriving T-bucket scene by his brother, who lives in Tucson, Arizona. After buying a T project (a Flatheadpowered one, at that), Dennis found out what all T owners discover-that they're a blast to drive around and the people you meet (especially other T owners) are a friendly lot who just want to get out and drive their hot rods!
T owners have to be the most creative lot when it comes to stuffi ng some strange engine c
So, with a couple of friends, Dennis formed a club called the So-Cal Ts, and 12 people showed up at the first meeting with four buckets. It's a free club (no dues) and has no bylaws either, and you don't have to own a T to be a member-you just have to like them! Interested in promoting the hobby and their cars, the So-Cal Ts organized a free-to-participants 100- mile fun run in 2005 along the famous 101 Highway that parallels the Pacific Ocean in Southern California, and that event brought together seven cars for the cruise.
In 2006, 21 Ts showed up the night before the event at the Cruisin' Grand car show (a weekly cruise located in the center of town) and 17 stayed for the Fun Run the next day. About half of the attendees were from the Arizona region while the balance from socal. The third year, in 2007, saw 27 T-buckets gather together at the Cruisin' Grand event the night before, with 21 Ts on the drive the next morning.
Assembling at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas (the same location for the annual Wavecrest woodie show), drivers and navigators took off for a 60-mile drive toward San Diego that included some of the best sights you can see from an open roadster.
A view from inside Shari Ward's T from Sierra Vista, AZ, shows what a great view the pilot
Anytime you can get a bunch of hot rods to drive anywhere is good, but when you get a long line of T-buckets going somewhere in a row, people alongside the route just can't help but point and smile. With help designing the route from Jeff Hall, Dennis had drivers winding up and down scenic roads as well as alongside the sand and the Pacific Ocean (something you can only see from a distance when on the interstate).
This year's Fun Run included a few pit stops along the way (most T-buckets have tiny fuel reserves) as well as some unique sights; in addition to driving over the 2-mile-long, 200-foot-high Coronado Bay Bridge, participants enjoyed the sight of the multi-rigged Star of India windjammer vessel moored not too far from where the WWII-era USS Midway aircraft carrier is docked. The rest of the drive was through the tony Torrey Pines and Del Mar regions, and all around Mission Bay.
The morning of the 101 Fun Run begins at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas (the same location u
By the time the group reached its final destination-a small cafe that could barely hold all the Ts parked in its lot- news had come that a freak, one-car crash had occurred along the route, critically injuring one T owner and taking the life of his passenger. In a somber mood, the attendees then opted to end the event at that time to be with friends and families.
Months after the tragedy, it was decided that the event itself will continue, and the 2008 101 Fun Run has been scheduled for August 2. It will be the first of a trio of T-oriented events (including a September event in Artesia, New Mexico, and a November meet in Tucson) organized in conjunction with the National T-Bucket Alliance, who are having their 10th annual T-Bucket Nationals in Springfield, Illinois, in mid-June (visit www.nationaltbucketalliance.com for more on that show).
Whether it's 30 Ts cruising up the coast or the projected 300 Ts NTBA officials are hoping for in Springfield later this year, a great time is guaranteed when you get a bunch of bucketheads together and all driving in the same direction!
Larry and Melody Vittitow (with Sparky the dog) from Tucson, AZ, are ready to roll. Sparky
Mike and Sherri Jones, from Tucson, AZ, enjoy their open roadster while cruising alongside
Sam Munoz and Nancy Nennenger, both from Tucson, are working their way through the route e
Now that's a bridge! The Coronado Bay Bridge is 2 miles long and 200 feet high-tall enough
What, me worry? That's Dennis Mahar outside his Flatheadpowered T, which developed some el
On the right is a member of the So-Cal Ts, Mike Ojeda, from Oceanside, CA, who is driving
There were a couple of pit stops along the way because most of the big-block buckets alway
You just don't get a view like this (of the Star of India, which claims to be the world's