For years comedians, and road-weary journalists, have said, "If this is Friday it must be Springfield." Oftentimes the memory of going back to one location time and time again conjures thoughts of "not again," "boring!" and, my favorite, "who did I piss off?" Not so and no way. Louisville, by whatever happenstance, is the rodding capital of the world-not just the good ol' U.S. of A. We are talking about the 41st running (this is Kentucky) of the National Street Rod Association's premier event: the Street Rod Nationals Plus.

Threw you a curve? What's this "Plus?" Could it be that the NSRA has acknowledged the modern day rodder's waist size has begun measuring on its second yardstick? Nope, it means there's a change for the first time in 41 years within this hallowed event. Don't get us wrong, the Nats Plus still offers everything non-plus Nats had come to be known for-10,000-plus (there's that word again) street rods, literally 750,000-plus (again!) square feet of indoor exhibit space (with incredible air conditioning), a Builder's Showcase displaying the finest rolling examples our hobby has to offer, new products (where the latest our supporting industry has produced is unveiled), Rod Repair Shop (for the unscheduled maintenance), numerous outdoor events, entertainment, and related activities. The NSRA Nats Plus had everything we have come to want (and expect) with one noticeable change.

The Nats has always been a pre-'49 event until this year and the 41st annual event was expanded to cover post-'48 cars and trucks, and established a sliding scale so each year vehicles that are 30-years-plus may attend all NSRA events. Hence, the use of the word "Plus" when referring to an NSRA event. (Editor's note: The NSRA did produce a handful of NSRA Street Machine Nationals back in the '70s and the pre- and post-'48 events were held on bookend weekends. The NSRA was ahead of its time and it's unfortunate they didn't stick with the formula, for they had a winner.)

All of us have seen plenty of pre-'49 street rods and are willing to see more more, and the Nats didn't disappoint. The bonus this year was seeing hot rod material from the '50s and beyond that offered a change of pace and some great new ideas. Were there some cars of questionable content? Of course, just like there is always pre-'49 iron (and 'glass) that could use a great deal of massaging, and that's how they were treated.

Follow along as the rest of the STREET RODDER staff zeroed in on many of the worthwhile attractions at the Nats Plus-Eric Geisert takes us through both the Builder's Showcase and New Products; Chuck Vranas has a look at the '40 Ford (as it's the 70th anniversary) and his selections for the Best Ford in Ford; then, Tim Bernsau walks us through the aisles of the Swap Meet, always a favorite; and finally Bernsau and Gerry Burger walk a whole lot more aisles, showing us what was taking up all those parking spots around the Kentucky Exposition Fairgrounds. I on the other hand concentrated on the ice cream, sugar-coated baked goods, and fried edibles, of which I am not sure of the origin, but I am around to write this story so it couldn't have been that bad. Hope to see you next year in Louisville with the hot rod of your choice.

NSRA Nats Plus
Builder's Showcase
For the past five years, the National Street Rod Association has set aside a portion of the large convention center (the cavernous hallway between the vendors inside and the cars outside) to showcase a select group of car builders. The idea is, as the NSRA's Tom Vogele tells it, with 10,000 to look at, why not celebrate the shops and the builders? It's a good idea, and 28 cars and trucks were put on display this time out, and STREET RODDER wanted to give you a taste of what was there.