May 27th

The second half of Road Tour #1 proved to be as exciting as the first half. We even managed to learn a few things along the way.

We got an early start for our Wednesday morning in Nashville. It was a short drive to Advanced Plating, the official sponsor for Tour #1. Owner Steve Tracey greeted us in their beautiful retail showroom. After a quick look at a few of Steve's vehicles (including the very shiny "Chromezilla" '32 Ford roadster) the tour and education began.

We were given an in-depth look at the chrome plating process by the best in the business. Lasting just over an hour, the tour followed parts from the time they are received at Advanced Plating until they are very shiny and on their way back to the customer. What happens in between is part inventory control, part restoration, and requires an awful lot of hard work and the knowledge of a chemical engineer! From the look of the chrome-plated parts at the end of this process, its safe to say the folks at Advanced Plating know what they are doing.

From Advanced Plating, Steve lead the group to one of his plating customers: Gibson Guitars in Nashville. Hot cars and hot guitar licks have always gone hand in hand. We were all amazed at the craftsmanship that goes into the manufacturing of a Gibson electric guitar. We followed the process from the time that the exotic woods from around the world arrived at the plant until the time that these hand crafted masterpieces are shipped out to musicians across the globe.

Both Nashville tours really showed that pride, quality and craftsmanship are still alive in America today.

By noon we were headed west on I-40 to Jackson, Tennessee. Our ranks had grown to sixteen vehicles and we had an invitation from street rod builder and collector George Poteet to come to his farm in Holly Springs, Mississippi for some dinner and to take a look at his incredible collection of vehicles. What an evening!

We started out with a tour of a beautiful Southern mansion that is maintained by the Holly Springs Garden Club. We were treated to a very interesting lecture about the history of cotton in the South. George's good friend, William Bearden has written a book on the subject and held everyone's attention as he discussed the crop that built the South. It was then on to an "off the beaten path" restaurant where we were served the best hamburgers I've ever tasted. Then it was on to George's farm for homemade ice cream and a look at his unbelievable collection of street rods and collector cars.

A gracious host and genuine Southern gentleman, George shared stories of his cars and their history with all in attendance.

When we arrived at our hotel in Holly Springs for the evening, it was hard to grasp all of the incredible things that we had seen and learned in that single day of Road Tour #1.Thursday morning we made the thirty-minute drive to Memphis where we enjoyed breakfast at one of Elvis' favorite restaurants. We made a brief stop at Sun Records then drove down the famous Beale Street section of Memphis. From there we headed across Arkansas, made a stop in Hardy and toured the automotive museum. One more stop for lunch at Hillbilly Junction, then it was on to the NSRA Mid-America Nationals in Springfield.

It was a great week on the 2006 PPG Street Rodder Road Tour #1. Many friendships were formed and everyone who came along for the ride said that they would love to do it again. They will have their chance, since there are five more Tours on this summer's schedule. Our next stop is San Antonio, Texas as Jack Chisenhall and Rick Love from Vintage Air help lead a group of over fifty vehicles as we head to Los Angeles for the famous Father's Day Roadster Show.

Check back here for more updates from the 2006 PPG/Street Rodder Road Tour #2...

Jerry