Tuesday morning we were up and rolling early. We had a 1 PM appointment in York, Pa at the Harley-Davidson assembly plant. From Charlottesville, Va. where we had stayed the previous night it was a four hour drive. The morning trip took us through the beautiful Virginia countryside then into Pennsylvania through the Gettysburg area. We arrived at the Harley-Davidson Assembly facility at 12:30 and at 1PM we took the one hour tour. Assembly had already begun on the 2009 models and they were going to debut in one week at the Harley dealers convention in Las Vegas. We were not able to see the 2009 models up close but did get a detailed look at the stamping area for fenders and the new 6 gallon tanks. It was a very interesting tour and nice to see that there really are still things that are "Made in America"
Tuesday evening was spent cleaning the cars and relaxing. Wednesday morning we made the short trip to Hummelstown, Pa. to visit POSIES. The drive up the river took us right past the infamous Three Mile Island nuclear power plant. The vision still brings back memories of that tense time 20 years ago. Ken Fenical the man behind POSIES started building cars when he was a teenager. Over the years he has produced some of the most innovative and creative vehicles in the industry. His Super Slide springs are used in many of the street rods that are being built today. With Dutch (as he is known to his friends) on his way to the Syracuse Nationals to help choose the Designer Dozen Awards, Team Leader Tim Leiphart gave us a tour of POSIES' facilities and projects that were in progress. We checked out a woodie build that will debut in a few weeks at the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville. By 10:30 we headed north past nearby Hershey Park and on toward Binghamton, New York for an evening party at Southern Tier Harley-Davidson. Local rodder Johnny Butchko had helped make arraignments with Larry Brooks and Jeff Coughlan, owners of Southern Tier Harley to throw a Hot Rods and Harleys get-together at the dealership. By 5 PM local rodders and Harley riders began arriving. We all enjoyed some great food including a local treat known as "speidies" that is marinated chicken grilled and served in a pita bread. It was a fun evening and the folks at Southern Tier Harley went out of their way to make us feel welcome. We enjoyed the Harleys as much as they enjoyed our street rods. Assistant service manager Gaye Sautro's early 70's style chopper Ruby Slipper fit right in among our rods. Thanks folks. It was a fun evening in Binghamton.
Thursday morning we got to see the collection of vehicles and parts that has been accumulated by local street rodder and Chevrolet dealer Mike Stolarcyk. Mike's tastes range from classic Packards and Lincolns to the 1932 Ford full-fendered roadster that his father gave him when he was 11 years old. Mike has turned the deuce into a very cool street rod. It was fun to see so many different vehicles in Mike's collection. By 10AM it was time to head to Syracuse. Mike's daughter Michelle got in Dad's 32 and joined us for the 1 1/2 hour drive through the rolling hills of New York to the huge Syracuse Nationals.
Bob O'Conner and the folks at the Right Coast Association do an incredible job of making sure that their events include fun that lasts the entire weekend. The New York State Fairgrounds was covered with over 6,500 pre 1980 special interest vehicles and 10s of thousands of spectators turned out to see all the cool rides. Each evening the was a grandstands show that ranged from burn-out contests to tractors pulls with garden tractors equipped with V-8 power plants. The Coker Tire Tour participants made the Street Rodder hospitality tent their headquarters all weekend. We even had some former Road Tourians stop by to say hello. One of our own, Ron who traveled with his brother-in-law Kris on the Coker Tour was honored with a Deigner Dozen pick and a Turtle Wax Top Ten Award. We were all very happy for our fellow Road Tourian and his beautiful red and black 32 coupe.
It was a great week on the Coker Tire Tour. We covered a lot of ground during the week and saw some very interesting sights. We were able to raise enough money to cover the expenses of a child for a week at the Victory Junction Gang. We made new friends and renewed acquaintances with old friends. Watch for complete coverage of the Coker Tire Tour in an upcoming issue of Street Rodder. Check back here soon. Next week we head to Louisville and the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. Then it is on to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit and then on to Speedweek at Bonneville. If you want to join in the fun see the Road Tour page in Street Rodder or call the Road Tour Hotline at 1-800-664-1362 for all the latest information.
See you on the Road,Jerry Dixey