Each year Jack Chisenhall, Rick Love, and the staff of Vintage Air plan a great road trip and then invite their friends. This year they chose the destination of Bowling Green, Kentucky, and the celebration at the 10th annual NHRA Hot Rod Reunion at Beech Bend Park. The word went out and 60-plus hot rods quickly registered for the trip. Jack and Rick have a loyal following and people know they are always in for a fantastic week.
The 2012 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour got off to a great start on Saturday evening, June 9, with the first leg originating from Vintage Air. This year the initial destination was the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green. The Saturday evening wienie roast has become a tradition on the Vintage Air Tour. It gives everyone a chance to get together, renew acquaintances, and make new ones among the folks who will be traveling together for the week.
During Sunday’s drive we stopped at Brent Mullin’s military armor restoration shop. It’s a
It was What-a-Welcome at Whataburger Sunday evening. Many local rodders turned out to wish
In Longview we visited the amazing car collection of Sidney Allen. This phaeton was on the
Vintage Air Sales Manager George Packard then gave everyone an in-depth tour of the facility where the air-conditioning units are manufactured with pride in the United States. Vintage Air's vice president, Rick, greeted everyone and went over some of the details of the coming week. The canvas goodie bags, commemorative hats, itineraries, and credentials where handed out to the participants, representing 63 cars. (Of the 63 signed up, 35 began at Vintage Air while the rest would join up along the route.) Vintage Air's president, Jack, thanked everyone for the great turnout again this year. Sunday morning we gathered back at Vintage Air's headquarters in San Antonio.
After a three-hour drive we arrived in College Station, Texas. First up was a quick lunch at the Golden Corral. It was then a short drive to the amazing military vehicle and equipment collection of Brent Mullins. We also got a chance to see the initial stages of the Museum of the American GI. Brent was on hand to personally give us a tour of the collection and restoration facility. The tanks on display were massive and covered both World Wars and Korea- and Vietnam-era equipment. We were even able to hear one of the tanks run. We want to thank Brent for his hospitality and for keeping the history of the American soldier in the public eye.
From College Station we headed north to Tyler, Texas. We were special guests at the Hot Rod Whataburger in Tyler. We were treated to some delicious burgers and fries. Just one of the many Whataburgers owned by hot rod enthusiast Doyle Thomas, this restaurant features a beautiful '37 Ford street rod as the centerpiece of the dining area. Manager Connie Baker and the crew even put together a great goodie bag for all the tour participants. Local rodders stopped by to say hello and wish us well. Thanks to Doyle, Connie, and their Whataburger team for a great evening. The Vintage Air Tour was off to a great start.
It was an early morning getaway on Monday as the drivers' meeting was held at 6:45 a.m. under the watchful eye of Trail Boss, Rick. The latest participants who had just joined us in Tyler the previous evening were also ready to roll.
Tuesday morning we visited COMP Cams in Memphis. The Ford Coyote motor in our coupe is top
Vernon Walker has a real gas station in his backyard in West Memphis, AR. This fully funct
We have always been welcomed at COMP Cams with a generous display of southern hospitality.
It was an hour drive to Longview to see the car collection of Sydney Allen. When you talk about car collections it usually comes down to quantity or quality. In Sydney's case his collection is a quantity of quality hot rods. The collection was displayed beautifully in three buildings. Almost every vehicle was a magazine cover car and it was amazing to see such a large grouping of high-end rods in one place. The restored Tony Nancy 22Jr. race car was very impressive, as were a number of Magoo-built street rods. There were at least three STREET RODDER cover cars spanning almost four decades. Each vehicle was displayed with a copy of the magazine in which it appeared. Sydney and his team were on hand to give us the inside story on each of the vehicles. It was a very impressive collection indeed.
It was a three-hour drive from Longview to Little Rock, Arkansas, where we stopped for lunch. We then set our sights on the home and collection of Vernon Walker near Memphis. Vernon is a longtime car enthusiast, owner of Walker Radiator, and the president of the National Street Rod Association. He has a passion for gas station collectibles and neon signs. Vernon does things in a big way when it comes to his passions. A fully functioning early '60s Texaco station sits in his backyard. When you walk in it is a trip back to 1962. His neon sign collection has to be one of the largest in the country and the history of the different signs is extremely interesting. Vernon took time to give us some background on the signs and answered all of our questions. Thanks to both Sidney Allen and Vernon Walker for making Monday a great day on the Vintage Air leg of the Road Tour.
While we were in Memphis we visited Elvis Presley’s home, Graceland. The final resting pla
It was a rainy Tuesday morning in Memphis, making it perfect timing for a visit to Graceland. I had visited Graceland in 1998 and the exhibits and displays have been enlarged tremendously. It was interesting to see the life of Elvis told in pictures, vintage films, and original items from his early years up to his untimely death. He really was an American icon.
From Graceland we made the short drive to the huge facilities of COMP Cams, a major supporter of the Road Tour for a number of years. They have provided product and support through more than one of their many associated companies. This year our Ford Coyote motor is equipped with an Inglese injection system from their FAST division. We were treated to a great barbecue lunch and took a tour of the Memphis facility. They are a company that has grown tremendously over the last decade. Many thanks to everyone at COMP Cams for their continued support of the Road Tour program.
From COMP Cams we headed south 35 miles to the town of Holly Springs, Mississippi. Hot rodding icon and driver of the Bonneville Speed Demon streamliner George Poteet had invited us to visit his ranch and see his one-of-kind car collection. Our first stop was at Phillips Grocery where George treated us all to delicious hamburgers and french fries. It was then a short drive to George's Holly Springs home and his amazing collection of hot rods and restored vehicles. Dessert was homemade ice cream and our day in the Memphis area was complete.
On Wednesday we stopped at the Lane Automotive Museum in Nashville. Their collection inclu
Wednesday we headed north toward our final destination of the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. After a lunch stop in Nashville and a visit to the Lane Automotive Museum the Vintage Air leg of the Road Tour arrived in Bowling Green on Wednesday afternoon. The streets were filled with hot rods and the parking lots were covered with vintage race cars "good to go" on their trailers.
We headed to the Beech Bend Raceway on Thursday morning to settle in for three days of fun, with racing beginning in the morning and at noon we gathered for a group photo. The folks from the NHRA Museum who organize the event had set aside a special area for the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour participants. The swap meet area was filled with vintage speed equipment and new product vendors had their wares on display. Thanks to Rick Love's great planning it had been a fantastic week on the Vintage Air leg of the Road Tour.
Next up is the Aeromotive leg of the Road Tour as we travel to Aeromotive's headquarters in Lenexa, Kansas, for a big show and open house on Monday evening, spend the week on the road, and then travel on to St. Paul and the huge Back to the 50's event.
Our host for the evening was hot rod icon George Poteet. George invited us to Phillip’s Gr
Just a few of George Poteet’s many collector cars and hot rods. Go to the Road Tour sectio
Early funny cars are always the center of attention at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunions. This exa
New this year is the Surf City Garage “Attention to Detail Award”. Fellow Road Tour partic
Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green was the site of the 10th NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. The woo
Participants of the Vintage Air leg of the Road Tour were given a special weekend parking