The ride was relatively uneventful in spite of the dreadful heat. We first made a stop at COMP Cams in Memphis, a small six-hour detour on the way to the Nats and then motored into Louisville on Wednesday. After a brief rain on Thursday the weather went from intolerable to bearable and the fairgrounds began to fill in by late afternoon.

By Saturday afternoon over 10,000 cars crowded the fairgrounds and the mix of street rods and pluses made for a fresh new look to the event. Other than a handful of "protest cars", like a '78 Dodge truck, the event really was the Street Rod Nationals Plus, plus a lot of very cool cars that look great parked among all the pre-'48 hot rods. By the time the weekend was over it was apparent the mixing of old and older was working just fine, so Plus remains a positive, not a negative. It was after a discussion with Editor Brennan on this very topic that he suggested I photograph a few of the cars that caught my eye. And so I offer this small sampling of hot rods that made me stop for a closer look at the first ever NSRA Street Rod Nationals ... Plus. Enjoy.

Varied Treasure
The Street Rod Nats Plus Swap Meet
We don't think of swap meets as cars and parts someone doesn't want. We think of them as previews of coming attractions.

The Street Rod Nats Plus swap meet, socked back at the northeast portion of the Kentucky Exposition Center grounds, is an annual magnet for buyers and sellers. We know for a fact that a fair number of street rods, and a larger number of parts, on display in the show 'n' shine areas once served their time in the Nats swap meet. As we wound our way through the rows of sellers and stuff, we wondered what some of these vehicles used to be and where some of these parts came from. Now we're wondering about where they will go and what they will become. It's inevitable (isn't it?) that the cars, parts, and pieces on trailers, atop tables, and filling plastic milk crates will one day find the owner they've been looking for and contribute to the success of a street rod project-maybe even a trophy winner.

Late Arrivals The Street Rod Nationals Plus welcomes post-'48 cars The NSRA created a real commotion within the hobby when it announced that, after years of limiting the Street Rod Nationals to pre-'49 vehicles, it was modifying the rule and welcoming cars and trucks 30 years old and older.

The uproar that followed rang a familiar bell around here. In 2007, after years of maintaining an identical pre-'49 cutoff, the magazine you're reading right now began covering '50s and early '60s cars, even while retaining the STREET RODDER title.

When we got to Louisville this year, we were relieved to see that NSRA's inclusion of later cars didn't prevent the place from filling up with acres of beautiful pre-'49 street rods. We were also happy to find a lot of cool Tri-Fives, shoeboxes, lead sleds, customs, pickups, and other "new" iron-including an outstanding '49 Fleetline featured elsewhere in this issue. Had NSRA not changed its pre-'49 rule, we wouldn't have seen any of these cars. Had STREET RODDER not changed its pre-'49 rule, you wouldn't see this sample of some of the "late arrivals" welcome-for the first time-at the Street Rod Nationals Plus. Enjoy.