It has been going on for 17 years now and every year we meet people who are participating in the Cruisin' the Coast event for the first time and their response is almost always the same, “Wow, what an amazing event. I can't believe what we've been missing." Yes, Cruisin' the Coast is truly an amazing event. Rather than pack 7,000 hot rods of every description into a fairground, this event decided to spread them over 30 miles of some of the most scenic Mississippi Gulf Coast imaginable. Unlike most cruise nights this event actually involves driving, and for a week Route 90 becomes a scene right out of American Graffiti.

What began in 1996 with 374 cars registered to cruise Gulfport and Biloxi for two days has morphed into eight different cruise sites and over 7,000 registered cars participating in a weeklong event. Each cruise venue has plenty to offer, from good restaurants to live music, and hot rods fill virtually every bit of the respective towns. From the Biloxi Block Party to the Long Beach hot rod breakfast, there is always something going on. While you can manage to visit all eight sights on the Cruisin' the Coast program in a three-day weekend, it is a lot more fun to spend five or six days. This allows ample time to spend at least a half day at each of the scenic locations, and believe me you'll want to kick back and relax at these great venues.

By adding a couple of new locations to the cruise program this year traffic seemed to flow better. As you can imagine with 7,000 registered cars on hand and at least another 3,000 non-registered cars, traffic management can be a real challenge. This year there were alternate routes published in the event program and we found that with a little advanced planning we were able to go to our destinations with minimal problems.

Of course an event of this scope doesn't just happen. As a matter of fact, this year there were 700 volunteers and 12 car clubs working to make things go smoothly. It takes this small army of volunteers and some good old fashioned southern hospitality to manage a large swap meet, a car corral, an indoor auction, and eight different cruise sites. This year there was also a "meet the stars" of the reality TV show Counting Cars and the longest running classic automobile TV show was on hand filming an episode of My Classic Car with Dennis Gage. The fun continues after dark with several casinos in the area offering world-class entertainment, food, and gambling, not to mention VIP parking for hot rods.

We opted to spend our evening on the porch of one of the many restaurants, eating a generous portion of gulf shrimp, sipping a cool beverage, and watching the cars go by. Trust me, we were not alone. From this observation deck we saw several trends. First, the Tri-Five Chevrolet is still by far the most popular of all '50s cars, and there had to be a thousand of them on hand. Second, the old car hobby is quickly moving into the '60s and fullsize '60s cars seem to be all the rage, from flat-finned Chevrolets to Fury hardtops, these cars make great cruisers. Beyond that plenty of traditional pre-'48 hot rods and muscle cars filled the streets. The best part of the weekend is seeing this great mix of cars cruising together, from hot Model A roadsters to early Corvettes and '60s cars it truly is the world's largest block party. This is an event that continues to grow because it is simply too good to miss, and you can bet we'll be back next year as this is on our “must attend" list of events. Next year the 18th Annual Cruisin' the Coast will be held on October 5-12, 2014. For more information, visit cruisinthecoast.com.

Painless Performance Products presents STREET RODDER Top 100 2013

For the Top 100 program, STREET RODDER attends 10 selected car shows each year and picks 10 vehicles at each to make up the Top 100. For more on where those shows are and how they're voted on, check streetrodder.com.


Wayne Davis | Southlake, TX | 1934 Lincoln K-Model

Few cars can take to the open road better than this big Lincoln. The stately appearance is just the way Lincoln built it in 1934, but we suspect the mile-deep black paint and super-straight panels far exceed the factory finish. Underhood, LS power motivates this exquisite four-door.


Jon & Pattie Van Alstyne | Bakersfield, CA | 1940 Willys coupe

Looking every bit the dragstrip refugee, this all-steel Willys runs long-tube EFI Hilborn injection atop 392 ci of Chrysler hemi. ET Wheels and Mickey Thompson tires complete the picture.


Kim McPherson | Edmond, OK | 1946 Ford convertible

If you're spending a week cruising the coast what better car than this Caddy-powered '46 Ford convertible? Adding to the beach flavor is the Sea Coral color scheme and the wide whites and lack of chrome add to the hot rod flavor. The car was originally built by Jerry Hagens of Aledo, IL.


Frank Drummond | Northport, AL | 1959 Chevrolet Biscayne

The great thing about building a flat-fin Chevy is all of the outrageous styling was done at the factory. All you need to do is achieve the proper stance, roll it around on some great American five-spokes, and you have a great cruiser. Underhood a ZZ4 coupled to a five-speed can be found.


Douglas Necaise | Bay St. Louis, MS | 1935 Ford coupe

Happily, the effects of Hurricane Katrina are finally disappearing from the coast and this '35 Ford is a fine example of a survivor. Once a fine restoration, the hurricane destroyed the driveline in the car. Douglas Necaise took the remains and completely rebuilt the coupe with LS power, awesome two-tone paint, and Billet Specialties wheels.


Amos Minter | Dallas, TX | 1940 Ford DeLuxe coupe

If you know anything about early T-birds you will recognize the Minter name. So what does the family drive when they decide to leave the T-bird at home? How about a gorgeous, flawless '40 coupe done in deep burgundy? Underhood a modern LS1 powers the conservative coupe, while inside tan leather covers the original seats.


Julian Harris | Edmond, OK | 1947 Ford Woodie

It's the perfect combination: black sheetmetal, flawless maple, and red steelies. Nothing says cruising the coast better than a woodie, and this traditional timber wagon rolls on a Heidts front suspension with a 350/350 Chevy combo passing the power to the 9-inch rear suspended by Posies springs. Inside the car is one of the most unique leather interiors ever to grace a hot rod.


Roger Minyard | Bowling Green, KY | 1957 Chevrolet 210

Of all the fine '57 Chevrolets at the coast we really liked the approach on this 210. Clean and simple always works, and the flamed side trim insert was just the right amount of fire. Rolling on big 18s and 20s, this Chevy is contemporary but still feels traditional. The “new tradition" LS power is under the hood, while inside you'll find bucket seats and Dakota Digital gauges.


Darrell Cooper | Wetumpka, AL | 1937 Ford Club Coupe

We've always had a thing for '37 Fords and the Club Coupe is a relatively rare model. After some mild de-chroming the coupe was covered in PPG urethane while underhood a ZZ4 crate motor is connected to a 700-R4 transmission. Suspension consists of Mustang II up front with QA1 coilovers out back.


Greg Kirk | Livingston, TX | 1933 Ford three-window coupe

Here's a recipe for a “real hot rod". Start off with a blown big-block coupled to 350 turbo and pass that power back to a Pete & Jake's suspended Winters quick-change. Now top it off with a chopped three-window body and cover it all in PPG Candy Tangerine paint. Finally, roll it around on big 'n' littles and you're done. It worked perfectly for Greg Kirk and his three-window.


Tech Tip
'60s GM Truck Front Crossmember

Tired of those squeaky steel-on-steel “A" frame bushings in your '60-66 GM truck? The crossmember from a '74-86 truck will bolt right in with only a couple of holes that need to be drilled. Are rubber “A"-arm bushings now in your future?

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