I was feeling rather smug on the way to dinner that night, as the tub was performing flawlessly, but then driver error came into play. Medley and I discovered that when the gas gauge says empty, it means it. With the engine dead, we coasted into a gas station only to find it was closed; fortunately, we had enough momentum and the terrain sloped downhill enough, which allowed us to roll into a neighboring station that was open.
Tuesday's lunch stop was at COMP Cams in Memphis, Tennessee. COMP's product line embraces just about everything from single-cylinder Briggs & Stratton junior dragster engines to the V-8s on NASCAR tracks, and of course lots and lots of street rods. We were given a tour of the facility where camshafts, pushrods, rocker arms, and all the other valvetrain parts the company offers are produced.
From COMP, it was a short trip to Holly Springs, Mississippi, where George Poteet was our host for dinner. A street rodder, Bonneville racer, and all-around good guy, he showed us his eclectic collection that contains some of the finest street rods in the country. George's generosity is legendary; he even offered a "loaner" street rod to one of the Road Tour participants having transmission trouble.
George treated the group to breakfast at Ellie Mae's Caf on Wednesday morning, and then we hit the road for our final destination of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Up to this point, our trip had been trouble free, but in Paris, Kentucky, the '34's exhaust note suddenly got much louder; the head pipes had come loose from the exhaust manifolds. Thanks to the friendly bunch at Mike's Mufflers, the missing fasteners were replaced and we were back on the road.
After running out of gas earlier, I decided to top off when the gas gauge dropped to a quarter of a tank-ironically, that led to the next problem. Shortly after we took off, the normally crisp small-block began to falter, so I turned around and went back a few miles to my last stop rather than risk having to make roadside repairs. That was a good choice, as it seems one of the locals was giving the management an ear full about contaminated fuel. And, although the telltale odor was missing, the suspicion was diesel fuel had been put in the wrong underground tank. We were on the road again after dumping what we had onboard and filling up with fresh gas from another pump, and the engine was its old self again after a few miles.
Thursday morning, we were given a tour of the Corvette plant, where we saw the assembly process from beginning to end. (As a side note, if you're planning on buying a new Vette, you can make arrangements to follow your car down the line and pick it up at the factory.) Then, we all met at nearby Holley, conveniently located in Bowling Green, for a tour. Matt Held took our group through the impressive facility that produces carburetors, blowers, heads, and all the other products in the company's lineup.
Our final destination was the Hot Rod Reunion at the impressive Beech Bend Raceway. A special area was set aside for those on the Road Tour, and the rest of the weekend was spent watching great nostalgia-style racing, touring the pits, walking through the swap meet, checking out all the other cars, and just hanging out with a bunch of good folks (see page 150 for the full story). It was a great way to wrap up a fun week. For more information about how to join in on the fun in 2009, call the Road Tour Hot Line at (800) 664-1362, or visit www.streetrodderweb.com.
A term coined by our own Jerry Dixey, it's used to describe those who participate in the Road Tour and their vehicles. Here's a look at a few of them.
Curry and Rosa Cross joined the Road Tour to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, and it was her idea! Now that's true love.
We stopped by the Civil War battlefield in Vicksburg, MS, just in time to get a demonstrat
Hatfield's is well-known for turning out first-class street rods, restored classics, antiq
The Road Tour is everything the name implies; seeing the country is great, doing it in a s
Before departing each morning, there was a quick drivers' meeting to go over the day's rou
Rob Hamis probably had an easier time diagnosing the fuel system glitch in his '32 sedan d
Tuesday's lunch stop was at COMP Cams in Memphis. We were given a tour of the facility aft
COMP Cams has a huge stock of blanks for just about every popular engine, plus a surprisin
There's no quick way to mass-produce quality camshafts. A "master" controls the machine th
George Poteet hosted the tour at his Holly Springs, MS, farm, where hot rods are the major