2007 Road Tour Logo

The Street Rodder\PPG Advanced Plating Tour continued on Tuesday morning as we were up early. First on the schedule was a visit to the shop of our Tour sponsor Advanced Plating in Nashville, Tennessee. We were given a full tour of their facility. The first thing you notice at their plant is that it is not your normal chrome plating facility. The Advanced Plating facility is incredibly clean and organized. Owner Steve Tracy's philosophy is that you cannot do quality plating in a dirty environment. Anyone who has seen any of their work realizes that Advanced does quality plating. Also on display in their showroom is their line of chrome plated products including grilles, manifolds and valve covers. All their products include a full dose of their high quality chrome.

After our tour at Advanced we had no time to rest as we had an invitation for lunch at Lokar Products in Knoxville, about 3 hours east on I-40. As usual owners Debbie and Skip Wall and Lokar President Rick Craze really rolled out the Road Tour red carpet for us. A catered BBQ lunch was just what the Road weary Road Tourians needed. On top of great food, Debbie put together goodie bags for all of us which included a Lokar hat and umbrella. Lokar is the only company whose products have been used on every Road Tour car built since the program began in 1996. After a tour of their manufacturing facility it was again time to keep moving with our next destination was Charlotte, North Carolina.

Our Tour guide for the evening in Charlotte was good friend Brent Vandervort, founder and President of Fatman Fabrication. We had stopped at the Fatman facility last year on the Road Tour and this year Brent had volunteered to get us a behind the scenes look at two of the coolest car-related places in the Charlotte area. The Tuesday evening stop is not open to the public but Brent made the visit possible. Dennis Carpenter Reproductions is a well known name in the restoration and street rod hobby. Known for their high quality Ford reproduction parts, the company has expanded into Cushman scooter parts and also tractor parts. What we were able to get a tour of that evening was a museum style collection of cars, trucks, Cushman scooters, motorcycles and automobilia that has been accumulated by the company over the years. It is unbelievable collection. We were guided through the displays by long time Dennis Carpenter employee and museum curator Roy Howard.

Wednesday morning Brent was again our guide as we visited the Hendrick Motorsport complex just around the corner from Lowes Motor Speedway. Bob Hice gave us a personal guided tour through the amazing Hendrick facility. We spent some time spent in the museum area where Daytona winning cars of past years are on display. We then visited the chassis shop where fabrication begins on all of the race cars. From there it was on to the building where the work is done on Jeff Gordon's and Jimmy Johnson's race cars. It was fantastic to get such an up close and personal tour of the Hendrick facility. Many thanks to Brent Vandervort from Fatman for putting together such a great evening and morning in Charlotte.

Wednesday evening was spent in Charlottesville, Virginia. We enjoyed a group dinner at Cheeseburgers in Paradise which was great fun for all of us. Thursday morning and we still had two more stops before we arrived in York at the NSRA Nationals East. Our first stop was at the home of author Ken Gross. Ken has written for all the major automotive magazines. His subject matter is wide ranging but by his own admission his love is with hot rods. His collection of early flathead manfolds has to be one of the largest anywhere. His '32 Ford roadster was chosen as one of the 75 honored at the Grand National Roadster Show this past January. Ken was also director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. It was a very enjoyable morning with one of the most interesting people in our hobby.

Our final stop on our Advanced Plating Tour was at the Gettysburg Memorial. It was a fitting end to our week. What began on Memorial Day wrapped up at the site of an event that decided the destiny of our nation. It was a very emotional afternoon at the Memorial and Cemetery.

We rolled into the headquarters hotel in York about 3PM on Thursday afternoon. We definitely had a full week on Road Tour. Watch for the complete article in an upcoming issue of Street Rodder. Check back here as we head for San Antonio next week with a quick visit with the folks on the Hot Rod Power Tour. Then it is on to the LA Roadster's Fathers Day Show on the Vintage Air Tour.

Hope to see you on the Road Tour

Jerry Dixey