Regardless what part of the country you come from, hot rodders live for the summer months. It's the perfect time to lay down the miles on your ride, whether it's to cruise your local boulevard, head off to the beach, or make the trek to a large national event. Enjoying a well-planned road trip like one to the 14th Syracuse Nationals allows you not only the chance to participate in the show, but to enjoy some of the local culture and sights along the way.

If you rolled into town before the event started you could have experienced the very picturesque Finger Lakes region where more than 100 unique local wineries add flavor to the shorelines accented by timeless architecture. Downtown Syracuse offers a myriad of historical museums, including the Museum of Automotive History as well as exceptional restaurants and a great nightlife. On Thursday, the Right Coast Association hosted a free picnic barbecue at Oneida Shores Park in nearby Brewerton for all registered entrants. A quick check-in at the host hotel had you ready for the weekend's festivities.

When the event opened on Friday it was time to make your way to the New York State Fairgrounds to get settled within its massive 365 acres to find just the right spot for the day. It was like stepping back in time as you motored along the many tree-lined streets adjacent to numerous classic-styled buildings and open-air eateries accented by vintage horse and livestock barns. Once settled, it was time to review the event program to see what exciting happenings were set for the day. While walking the grounds there was a dazzling supply of wicked hot rods, customs, muscle cars, classic trucks, and restos everywhere you looked, even in the most remote areas. Lining the roads as well as inside the exhibition buildings you were able to check out literally hundreds of vendors who were showcasing many of the hobby's hottest products, as well as offering countless classic parts to make your ride complete.

On Friday and Saturday there were a number of informative tech seminars offered by well-known manufacturers, including ones by PPG, TREMEC, Champion Brands, KBS Coatings, and Morrisville State College. One of the coolest parts of the Nationals is having the chance to meet up with some of Hollywood's hottest celebrities. This year fans had the chance to meet and talk with Mike Wolfe and Danielle Colby-Cushman of the History channel's American Pickers TV series, as well as Candy Clark of American Graffiti fame, and the stars of Speed channel's series RU Faster than a Redneck. You could have also stopped by the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour tent and met up with our own Jerry Dixey who cruised into town behind the wheel of the latest 1951 Ford Road Tour car with plenty of great stories to tell from his many years on the road.

One of the most talked about mini-events within the show again this year was the Old Skool Roundup where hop-ups, customs, and culture raised the bar once again with countless fresh builds gracing the inner sanctum of the open-air pavilion. Checking out the vibe was a blast with an expanded grouping of culture artists mixed in with vendors offering plenty of neat swag alongside the Backyard Build-off competition. A classic pin-up contest made the scene complete while live rockabilly bands churned our searing sets. For the first time ever, a professional Autocross course sponsored by SSBC Performance Brake Systems, gave drivers the opportunity to carve through the cones to see if their rides had what it took to earn the hottest lap time of the weekend. If all this sounds like a packed schedule, hang on because there's even more. Inside one of the many buildings you could almost smell the high octane as Gasoline Alley showcased many top race cars, spanning decades of motorsports, including well-known early hot rods, 'rails, Funny Cars, and circle track competitors. Fueling excitement throughout the weekend, a special signature award of the Syracuse Nationals known as the Winfield Award, presented by legendary customizer Gene Winfield, had crowds flocking to see the amazing creativity on display. Through an application process, Winfield hand selects six cars to be recognized as the "Winfield Select Six". Car owners arrived from all over the country to compete for the award, presented by Meguiar's, which included a custom-made trophy, jacket, and check for $10,000. This year's winner was Bob Fryz with his dramatic 1951 Mercury. Across the room inside the same building you found the work area and stage for the legendary Artie's Party. A pinstriping and panel jam area featuring the amazing artistic creativity of 63 pinstriping and air brush artists from across the United States, Canada, Italy, New Zealand, and Japan, who donated their time to craft one-off works of art to be auctioned off to benefit The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central New York.

Sunday afternoon is always a thrilling time as crowds of registered attendees gather at the main stage for the highly anticipated Syracuse Nationals giveaway program, the announcement of the weekend's award winners, and a chance at winning the giveaway car. This year the car was a traditionally styled Wintec Fabrication roadster built by the talented team at Tucci Hot Rods. The lucky winner of the keys was Pete Gugliotta of Central Square, New York. As the weekend came to an end, 7,550 cars motored through the main gate (arriving from 33 states and 3 Canadian provinces) along with over 70,000 visitors who stopped in to check out all the fun. Thanks to the support of the Central New York Car Club Association (who are the hosts of the show) and area service clubs, donations were made from proceeds of the event in the amount of $104,600 (which included $71,431 from the Panel Jam auctions) to a number of local charities bringing the 12-year donation total to an incredible $727,675. This is one event that continues to grow with each passing year, and we can't wait to check it out again in 2014. You can see more at rightcoastcars.com.

Painless Tech Tip
LS-style engines

Before ordering your new LS harness from Painless Performance Products, be sure to know exactly what the donor vehicle was, as all the engines may look the same but the injectors and sensors are probably not.

STREET RODDER Magazine's Best Ford in a Ford
Presented by Ford Racing

Just the Facts
Year: 1966
Make: Ford
Model: Fairlane
Owner: Dick Brereton
State: South Carolina

While attending the 14th Annual Syracuse Nationals at the New York State Fairgrounds it was a perfect time for STREET RODDER and Ford Racing's recognition of street rodders who install a late-model Ford engine in a Ford hot rod. Walking the event we came across a classic 1966 Ford Fairlane packed with a Ford Racing 5.4L Mustang SVT supercharged crate engine linked to a TREMEC six-speed trans owned by Dick Brereton of Anderson, South Carolina, who is our latest award recipient. To add plenty of punch to his Fairlane, Brereton selected the engine due to its 500hp rating and the fact that it came complete with its Eaton supercharger and all accessories. Utilizing the available controls pack from Ford Racing made getting everything dialed in and running a snap. Horsepower moves through a TREMEC six-speed trans topped by a B&M shifter with a Hurst pistol grip. A custom driveshaft then links to a Ford 9-inch rear filled with 31-spline axles and 3.50:1 gears. Brereton continued by adding a Rod & Custom Motorsports IFS complete with tubular upper and lower control arms and coilover shocks while a four-link with coilovers was used out back. Custom owner-fabbed front to rear frame connectors were then added along with 12-inch Wilwood drilled discs and four-piston calipers. Racline wheels, 17-inch front and 18-inch rear, capped with Goodyear rubber seals the deal. To get the original body razor sharp, Brereton contacted Nick Dowis to handle all custom fabrication, including fitment of the fiberglass hood and bumpers. Dowis then laid down the gunmetal gray metallic luster. Finally, the interior was covered in black leather by Billy Owens of Got U Covered while a custom dash holds Classic Instruments dials to monitor the vitals. Congratulations to Brereton who will receive a limited-edition jacket as the award winner.

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