It was a great day and evening in Youngstown, Ohio as everyone on the Tour enjoyed the incredible street rod collection of Patti and Fred Warren, the Backyard Buddy facilities, Classic Automoblia's showroom, the stop at my home and of course the food and hospitality of the folks at the Quaker Steak and Lube in Austintown, Ohio.
Wednesday morning it was time to head towards New York and the Syracuse Nationals. It was a foggy morning in Ohio as we made our way up Route 11 towards Lake Erie. It was then east along I-90 as we had made Niagara Falls our destination for an afternoon sightseeing stop. For those that had never seen the falls it is an amazing sight. We spent some time at the edge of the Falls and then had some lunch. After lunch we made the short drive to Lockport, New York, the home of the brand new facilities of Mac's Antique Auto Parts. President Rick McIntosh and Vice-Present brother Randy McIntosh greeted us and gave us a personal tour of their just recently opened showroom, offices and warehouse. To say these folks stock some Ford parts is an understatement. In addition to their inventory of 1900 - 1972 Ford parts, their on-site upholstery facilities manufacture high quality realistically offer interiors for Ford vehicles up to 1952. After the tour of the facilities the folks at Mac's provided sandwiches for everyone. I had a surprise when Ken Horner showed up at Mac's in his 1937 Ford Phaeton. It was great to see two old friends as Ken was the winner in 1998 of the Road Tour Phaeton. I had spent 25,000 miles and touched all 48 states in that Phantom Phaeton and it was fun to see Ken and his prize once again.
On Thursday morning the time had come. The only thing between us and the huge Syracuse Nationals was some beautiful New York countryside and good two lane highways. We arrived at the headquarters Holiday Inn about 3 pm on Thursday. This was my first trip to the Syracuse Nationals. Bob O'Conner and the Right Coast folks have done their homework and everything at the 8th edition of the Syracuse Nationals was running smoothly when we arrived. The next three days were spent enjoying all the things that have helped this event grow into a 7,000 car spectacle. The New York State Fairgrounds was packed all weekend as tens of thousands of spectators covered the grounds to enjoy the street rods, custom cars, muscle cars and special interest vehicles on display. There was plenty to see and do with burn out contests, a thrill show, demolition derby and live entertainment kept everyone busy from dawn till late into the night.
The Street Rodder tent was a popular spot as the Right Coast folks provided special reserved parking around our tent for all of the Road Tourians. With our Road Tour coupe on the cover of the current issue of Street Rodder there were lots of questions about my ride for the summer. Many folks asked about the different wheel and tire combination that has appeared on the coupe over the summer. We have switched wheels and tires for each event. It was the idea of Wheel Vintique owner Mike Stallings. Mike wanted folks to see how different wheels and tires dramatically change the appearance of a vehicle. It is an exercise that has had great results. Everyone seems to have their favorite combination.
The weekend went by quickly as the Syracuse Nationals and the Classic Automobila Tour came to a close on Sunday. It was a fun week for everyone and especially for me. There is about a week before I head out again, this time to the NSRA Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky. The Eaton Spring Tour begins a few weeks after that, traveling from the Woodward Dream Cruise to the NSRA Richmond Nationals in Virginia. The Street Rodder PPG 2007 season wraps up with the Performance World Car and Truck Show Tour in September as we travel from the NSRA Nationals North in Kalamazoo, Michigan to the NSRA Northeast Nationals in Burlington, Vermont. Check back here at the website or call our Road Tour hotline at 1-800-664-1362 for all the latest details.
Get ready as we will soon announce our 2008 Road Tour schedule. We have some great Tours planned and a challenge for anyone that has the desire and the time to spend about three weeks on the road with us next June. Keep in touch and I hope to see you soon on the Road Tour.
After our evening at Flaming River Products we spent the night in Berea just west of Cleveland. On Tuesday morning we headed out on a very special day for me. For the first time in the history of the Road Tour we were going to my hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. We did have a few stops to make before we made it to Classic Automobilia a company nostalgia company that I had started in 1989.
The trip down the Ohio Turnpike lasted about an hour. Our first stop was just north Warren, Ohio to see the incredible street rod collection of Patti and Fred Warren. Patti and Fred have been friends of mine for a long time. Their cars include the 1993 Ridler Winner the "Aero Coupe", ShockWave, the 1933 Ford Roadster that won the famous 50th Grand National Roadster Show, AfterShock, a Ridler contender in 1999, various Street Rodder Magazine cover cars and, for my money, one of the most famous street rods of all-time: The Smoothster. It is an amazing sight to see all of these fantastic cars in one room. The moment was not lost on the Road Tourians. What made it very special was that Fred spent time talking about each car and relating stories about the build-up and history of the vehicle. Thanks Patti And Fred for sharing your breath taking collection with all of us.
From Fred's we traveled across the city of Warren to the manufacturing facility of Backyard Buddy. Backyard Buddy is famous for their high quality American made car lifts that have become so popular. Owner Larry Gross give us a personal tour of their manufacturing plant and showed us what sets their lift apart from all the other that are available. After our tour they fired up the grill and served up hot dogs and hamburgers for everyone.
After our lunch stop at Backyard Buddy it was a short 15 minute drive to my Classic Automobilia showroom in Youngstown. The Road Tourians all seemed to enjoy the diner theme look of the showroom and its display of pedal cars, soap box derby items and automotive collectibles that I have assembled over the past 20 years. The Classic Automobilia line includes the 1932 Ford pedal cars and also the new '34 Hi-Boy which has the look of a 1934 Ford Roadster. From the Classic showroom we made a stop at my home. It was really fun to have everyone see my personal collection of vehicles and I took the opportunity to show off my 1927 full fender T Roadster that is almost completed. My wife Mary Ann had put together some food and desserts that everyone enjoyed. My Mom even stopped by to greet everyone. It was a very special afternoon as all the Road Tourians got a glimpse of my business and my life off the road.
The day wrapped up with a party at the Quaker Steak and Lube in Austintown. This automotive theme restaurant was the perfect place to spend the evening. We were treated to some of their famous chicken wings. I want to thank everyone at the Lube for their hospitality and watch for a Quaker Steak and Lube opening near you.
Another day on the Road Tour, but for me, a very special one! Check back as we continue our trek to Syracuse and their huge Syracuse Nationals and make a stop at one of the most famous natural wonders in the world.
Click on the pages below to view the previous blogs from the Classic Automobilia Tour and all of the other previous Road Tours. - Jerry Dixey
Both the NSRA Milwaukee Nationals and the Right Coast Syracuse Nationals are relatively new on the car show scene. They both welcome the later model cars to their events and attract street rods, customs, muscle cars and special interest vehicles. This year the two events landed on back to back weekends so they were chosen as the bookends to the Classic Automobilia Tour. Started in 1989, Classic Automobilia in Younstown, Ohio specializes in pedal cars, vintage gas station items and all those items that make the car hobby even more fun.
The weekend was spent in Milwaukee at the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds. The Street Rodder/PPG Road Tour tent soon became the gathering place for all the folks that had signed up to travel on the Classic Automobilia Tour. We had folks from Canada, Wisconsin, Oregon. Texas, Virginia, Ohio and Michigan traveling along for the week. After a great three days of good weather and high quality cars at the NSRA Milwaukee Nationals it was time to head out on the highway. Our stop for Sunday evening was in LaPort, Indiana. The reality was that the city of Chicago and its dreaded traffic snarls layed between us and our evenings lodging. It actually wasn't too bad as the Sunday afternoon traffic was fairly light by Chicago standards. There were still some tense moments but all the Road Tourians managed to make it through.
Many of us enjoyed a good meal at a Mexican restaurant in LaPort and got to know our fellow travelers a little better.
Monday morning at 7:30 we gathered for the morning drivers's meeting in front of the hotel. We soon headed off to our first stop at Jim Wise"s Hot Rod Shop in nearby Goshen, Indiana. Jim is the President of WiseGuy's Seating whose seats have made my life comfortable for the last three Road Tours. Jim is also a very talented car builder and he invited us to stop at his home and shop for some donuts and coffee and a look at his latest projects. There were a number of cars in various stages of assemble with one nearing completion for it's debut at the NSRA Nationals in Louisville in two weeks.
Our next stop was at the Auburn Cord Dusenberg Museum in Auburn, Indiana. Housed in the original Auburn dealer showroom the museum is an incredible art deco showplace with examples of all of these fantastic marquees on display. It is well worth a visit. From Auburn it was time to make the three hour run to Flaming River's facilities in Berea, Ohio. The folks at Flaming River have been long time supporters of the Road Tour program with their high quality steering components. This year the tradition look of a dropped axle with the smooth ride of an independent front suspension is achieved on our coupe with a Flaming River Dominator front axle. It is the best of both worlds. We were treated to dinner at Flaming River and were given a tour of their manufacturing facilities. It had been a great first day on the Classic Automobilia Tour.
Check back here for all the details of the rest of the weeks activities as we stop and see Fred Warren's unbelievable collection of street rods including the famous Smoothster. We then pay of visit to the facilities of BackYard Buddy. From there we stop at the Classic Automobilia showroom in Youngstown, Ohio and drop by my home for some refreshments.
Click on the pages at the bottom for previous Road Tour blogs and watch for the complete story in Street Rodder Magazine. - Jerry Dixey