The starting point of the AMSOIL Road Tour was the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion with the end being the famous St. Ignace Car Show in St. Ignace, Michigan. After our Sunday morning driver's meeting the AMSOIL tour participants headed north on I-65 and made our first stop about 90 miles up the interstate at Jason Grimes' shop, known simply as The Garage.
Jason is one of the young builders who has brought a fresh approach to our hot rod hobby and has the talent to make his ideas a reality. The shop was filled with a wide variety of projects that run the gamut from old-school rods to muscle cars, and even a VW Beetle that is waiting for a big-block implant. After a quick walk around the shop and some juice and doughnuts it was time to continue our journey north.
The remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon was spent on interstates that took us past Louisville, Kentucky, Indianapolis, and around Chicago. Our destination for the evening was Rockford, Illinois, where we had been invited by longtime friend Kerry Hopperstad to visit his shop in nearby Belvidere, Illinois.
We checked into the hotel and met up with more AMSOIL Road Tour participants. We made the short trip to Kerry's shop together and were greeted by 20 local rodders. Kerry has been in the rod and custom business for over 30 years and his shop has completed many great vehicles. During our visit we saw projects ranging from a '35 Ford coupe to a modern update of a '55 T-bird. Kerry and his crew specialize in custom fabrication in all of his builds.
Kerry and his wife Darlene had arranged for a hot dog wagon to be on hand for Sunday evening and all the Road Tour enjoyed the shop visit and the great sandwiches. It was a good first day on the tour.
Monday morning started with our daily driver's meeting. At these brief get-togethers we go over the plans for the day and review the itinerary that each participant receives at the beginning of the tour. We answer any questions that folks may have and clarify some of the details of the day's travel plans.
Our destination for Monday evening was AMSOIL's headquarters in Superior, Wisconsin. We had arranged to meet more participants on the way to Superior so we planned a lunch stop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Some of the folks who were joining us were coming from the Back to the 50's weekend in St. Paul that had just ended the previous day. After some burgers and shakes and distribution of goodie bags, T-shirts, and itineraries, 16 cars rolled out of Eau Claire toward Superior, Wisconsin, and a big party at the AMSOIL Center.
The two-and-a-half-hour drive to Superior was beautiful as we traveled up Route 53. While we had been in record heat for the last week on both the Vintage Air Tour and the beginning of the AMSOIL Tour, all that ended as we rolled into Superior. The temperature was 52 degrees! What a change from the sweltering heat of the previous week.
We checked into our hotel, cleaned the cars, and made the short trip to the AMSOIL Center. We were greeted by the staff and given a very interesting tour of their facilities, where many AMSOIL products come from. We got a very up-close look at the entire operation from start to finish. AMSOIL's growth since their beginning in 1972 has been incredible, and they have plans in place for added growth far into the future. After the tour of the AMSOIL Center we were treated to a delicious catered dinner.
Outside, special interest vehicles started to stream into the lot for the evening car show. The final total of vehicles in attendance topped 300. AMSOIL is a major supporter of the Road Tour program all year long and it was fun to be able to visit their headquarters and see all the local vehicles.
The AMSOIL Tour headed out...
The AMSOIL Tour headed out on Sunday morning from the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green with our destination to be the St. Ignace Car Show in Michigan.
The first stop of the Tour...
The first stop of the Tour was in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky, at Jason Grimes' shop, known simply as The Garage. Jason (far right) and shop graced the February '09 cover of STREET RODDER.
One of The Garage projects...
One of The Garage projects was this five-window coupe. It does not appear that it will be lacking anything in the power department with a big Hemi up front.
Sunday we were welcomed at...
Sunday we were welcomed at Hopperstad Customs Hot Rod Shop in Belvidere, Illinois. Owners Darlene and Kerry Hopperstad invited local rodders to join us, and some 30 rodders stopped by to say "Hi."
Monday we stopped in Eau Claire,...
Monday we stopped in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, for lunch at a Culver's, and we were joined by more tour participants. Some folks had attended the Back to the 50's event in St. Paul the previous weekend and were hooking up with the AMSOIL Tour to go on to St. Ignace.
Dan Schlosser and his son...
Dan Schlosser and his son Josh from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, joined us in Eau Claire in their recently completed '34 Chevy roadster. Josh's grandfather Ed was also on the Tour in his Chevy coupe making the AMSOIL tour a Schlosser family affair.