Road Tour #5 Wednesday in Mowtown

After our wet and wild Tuesday in Ohio, it was time to continue onward toward our destination of the NSRA Nationals North. The rain of the previous day had subsided, but it was still overcast as we rolled out of the Hampton Inn parking lot in Berea, Ohio. Our route on Wednesday took us west on the Ohio Turnpike, and then north on I-75 at Toledo. We crossed into Michigan just north of Toledo and it was only 30 more minutes to our first stop at ASC in Southgate, about 15 miles south on Detroit. Mark Trostle, president of creative services, greeted us at ASC along with Kevin McLoughlin, project coordinator for American Speed Company's bold new '33 Ford roadster project. ASC has a long history of creative automotive design and has helped in the prototype, design, and production work on the GM SSR pickup truck and the '32 Dearborn Deuce steel roadster body. They are in the prototype stages of the American Speed Company's new '33 Ford steel roadster body that will incorporate all of the techniques that were developed in earlier projects. It is sure to be a hit with its retractable convertible top. Stay tuned to the pages of STREET RODDER as we follow the development of this program.

After our interesting visit at ASC, we trekked on to downtown Detroit where we had a lunch date with good friends Sandy and Mike Eaton of Eaton Detroit Spring. Mike is the third generation of spring manufacturers at the same location in the shadow of the old Detroit Tigers baseball stadium. The Road Tourians enjoyed a great lunch of hot dogs and brats cooked on the bed of a restored vintage VW pickup truck. After lunch, Sandy and Mike gave us a tour of the facilities. We were shown how the traditional spring manufacturing process has withstood the test of time and keeps Eaton the leader in the street rod and restoration spring business.

It was a short trip across the downtown area of Detroit for our afternoon appointment at GM Headquarters at the Renaissance Center. We were greeted by Kim Rusinow, who had arranged a special tour of this massive complex that houses not only GM's world headquarters, but also the command center for OnStar. It was a very interesting two hours as we learned about the background of the facility and what goes on daily in this city within a city. The view of Detroit from the 72nd floor took our breath away, but it also showed us that some very dark clouds loomed on horizon. With an evening cruise and party planned at the famous Duggan's Pub on Woodward, we didn't want any more rain on our Road Tour parade.

The trip to Duggan's showed us that while we missed the actual storm, the aftermath was very apparent. Portions of I-75 and Woodward Avenue were actually shut down to traffic. By this time, the Road Tourians had become a resourceful bunch, and we all managed to find our way to Duggan's in Royal Oak. We were greeted at Duggan's by the Shifters Auto Club, who had turned out in force to lend a hand with parking and logistics. The Shifters have been a part of the famous and prestigious Michigan Hot Rod Association since 1955. Their help was appreciated, and we enjoyed our evening on Woodward Avenue sharing stories with our new and old Motown friends. MHRA even had their Rod Repair Shop on hand for any problems with our cars.

Wednesday had been a jam-packed day on the tour. I am beginning to feel like Forrest Gump as I lead our roving band of rodders across the country. We managed make it to all of our planned stops and we all agreed that it was a great day on the tour. We are not to the Zoo yet, but we are close. Check back, as we have one more morning on the road before we roll to Kalamazoo.

Jerry

Click on the page numbers below to check out more fun stuff from the 2006 Road Tour.