It was an impressive sight as the Classic Automobilia Tour of more than 20 vehicles pulled
The Vintage Air Tour wrapped up its week on the road with drag racing excitement in Bowling Green, Kentucky, at the NHRA Hot Rod Reunion. It was then back home for most of the Vintage Air participants, but there was still fun ahead for some, as the Classic Automobilia Tour was heading from the Hot Rod Reunion to the huge Back to the 50's weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota.
The Classic Automobilia Tour was scheduled to make stops in Youngstown, Ohio; Dearborn, Michigan; St. Ignace, Michigan; and Superior, Wisconsin. All the Classic Automobilia participants met up on Sunday evening at Austintown, Ohio-based Quaker Steak & Lube, a restaurant known for its hot wings and cold beverages, along with its automotive dcor. We were set up with special parking and seating when we arrived thanks to Jason and Ken at the Lube. Sunday night is cruise night at the Lube, and about 400 local cruisers were there to greet us.
After we had some great wings and talked to folks about the tour, we headed just around the corner to my home where Mary Ann and I were able to show folks our collection of cars and collectibles. I even got to introduce the Road Tourians to my mom and my brother, Jack, so it was a special evening for me to share a bit of my home life with my Road Tour friends.
The Roadster Shop-built American Speed Company Speed33-bodied convertible has performed fl
We made the short trip to the Classic Automobilia showroom in Austintown on Monday morning. Mary Ann and I started Classic in 1989 and carry pedal cars, Coke coolers, gas pumps, and neon clocks. It is appropriate that the Classic Automobilia Tour was heading to the Back to the 50's event, since that is the era of the products we sell.
After a look around the Classic showroom, we traveled about 20 minutes north to see Patti and Fred Warren's incredible collection of street rods. It was fantastic to see the Smoothster, Shockwave, After Shock, Aero Coupe, and other street rods in Patti and Fred's collection all in one room. It was even better to have Fred walk from car to car explaining in detail how each show-winner was conceived and constructed.
From the Warrens' shop, we headed to the Cleveland area, and some folks made a quick stop at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for lunch. From downtown Cleveland, we headed west to Berea, Ohio, and the facilities of Flaming River, a company that has been a supporter of the Road Tour program for years. We were able to get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into Flaming River steering components and products. By mid-afternoon, it was time to head toward our evening stop of Dearborn, Michigan, where it felt great to relax after a long day on the trail once we arrived.
On Tuesday morning, Hot Rod magazine's publisher, Bruce Miller, greeted us in a very cool early '60s Ford station wagon driven by Don Hardy Jr. Bruce and Don had just finished the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour and gave us a full report. Also on Tuesday morning, the Road Tour convertible received its official VIN sticker from Officer Ray Robinson of the Michigan Secretary of State's office. We had gone through the registration process, and the car was now officially registered by the state of Michigan as an assembled vehicle.
We then made the short trip to Plymouth, Michigan, to visit the offices of American Speed Company. The American Speed folks produced the Speed33 body for this year's Road Tour car, and we were treated to an in-depth look at what goes into one of these steel bodies. From American Speed, we headed to Fenton, Michigan, and the home of Kathy and Dick Confer, who have assembled an incredible amount of pedal cars, gas pumps, and collectibles. We also enjoyed a wonderful lunch prepared by Kathy, Dick, and some of their friends and family. Thanks to all involved-it was a great afternoon stop.
Participants on the Classic Automobilia leg of the PPG / Street Rodder Road Tour were spec
From Fenton, it was a four-hour drive to our evening stop in St. Ignace, Michigan. We had been blessed with great weather over the previous few days, but our luck ran out as we neared St. Ignace and we drove for an hour in the rain. When we arrived, we were greeted by Ed Reavie, the fellow who puts together the great St. Ignace car show at the end of June each year. Ed had arranged for a great meal at the Kewaden Shores Casino, just down the road from our hotel. We even met the mayor and the head of the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce; they really enjoy street rods and classics in this northern Michigan town, and we may be making a stop at the St. Ignace show on a Road Tour next year.
On Wednesday morning, the Classic Automobilia Tour rolled on toward its destination of St. Paul, Minnesota, and the Back to the 50's weekend. After the daily drivers' meeting in the parking of the hotel, we heading north into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. In my 13 years of traveling on the Road Tour, this is one of the only areas of the United States in which I have not spent much time. It was a great drive with smooth roads and beautiful scenery. The traffic was light, and many of us were able to stay together as we made the 425-mile trip to AmsOil's headquarters in Superior, Wisconsin. We wanted to be on time for our special get-together at the new AmsOil Center, where we were to be guests of honor at a special dinner and receive a tour of the plant.
Some of the local street rodders had already arrived when we got to the AmsOil Center; we had sent out postcards to all of the Street Rodder subscribers within a 100-mile radius of Superior. We were not sure of the turnout to expect, but we did want to let folks know the Road Tour was in town. Our tour of the incredible production facilities was very interesting. The huge buildings house giant tanks for mixing AmsOil's specialized lubricants. We were seated for dinner after the brief tour, and as we enjoyed the great food, we were joined by Ed Newman, AmsOil's director of advertising, and we were honored to get a very special greeting from Al Amatuzio, the founder and CEO of AmsOil. Jo Coddington-the wife of the late hot rod hero Boyd Coddington, and co-star of the TV show American Hot Rod-spoke briefly and said how excited she was to be traveling with us to St. Paul and to Back to the 50's the next day.
Classic Automobilia was started in 1989 and sells pedal cars, gas pumps, and nostalgia dco
We then made our way out of the building to see the street rods and special interest vehicles that had turned out to greet us. What we saw as we walked into the parking area was incredible-more than 300 vehicles from the Superior area filled the parking lot. It was an amazing sight to see so many folks turning out to say hello and let us get a look at their cars. We spent the next few hours talking to folks about their vehicles and letting them know about our Road Tour adventures. It was another great evening on the Classic Automobilia Tour and many, many thanks to the great team at AmsOil who made it happen.
On Thursday morning, the time had come to get to our final destination of St. Paul. We gathered back at the AmsOil Center for coffee and donuts and some pictures. Jo Coddington rode with me in the Road Tour convertible, and the two-hour drive was extremely pleasant, with more great roads and beautiful scenery. Our plan was to have lunch in a St. Paul suburb and get some event info from Pete Emeott, a member of the board of directors of the Minnesota Street Rod Association. Pete was our liaison with the MSRA, helping to make our visit as enjoyable and trouble-free as possible. Pete was well-prepared and handed out maps and instructions for the best route to registration and the easiest way to enter the fairgrounds each morning. We were shown on a map the location of our PPG / Street Rodder Road Tour hospitality tent, and we felt much more confident about our weekend adventure at Back to the 50's with all of this knowledge.
Things were off and running at the fairgrounds on Friday morning. Manned with Pete's maps and info, the entry was fairly painless, and soon we had set up camp in our area of the grounds. The weekend was spent enjoying the incredible spectacle that is the Back to the 50's event. The fairgrounds are beautiful with tree-lined streets and a traffic flow that permitted non-stop cruising. More than 11,700 registered vehicles covered the grounds.
The Classic Automobilia participants gathered for a group picture Saturday afternoon, and then got a chance to meet the new folks who would be traveling on the Golden RODTronics leg of the Road Tour to the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals in Pueblo, Colorado. After the photo shoot, the Classic Automobilia Tour participants loaded on to a very cool bus, provided by the Detour Street Rod Club, and we were treated to a tour of the beautiful fairgrounds.
It was a wonderful week on the Classic Automobilia Tour as we traveled "back to the '50s."
Later on Sunday evening, everyone gathered in the backyard of the Dixey home in Youngstown
The street rod collection of Patti and Fred Warren is beyond description. In one room, we
The Flaming River Industries headquarters is located just west of Cleveland in Berea, OH,
In Dearborn, we completed the final phase of registering the Road Tour's Speed33, as an as
We were treated to a great lunch at Kathy and Dick Confer's. When lunch was over, Kathy an
Ed Reavie (center) provided dinner for all of us at the Kewaden Shores Casino in St. Ignac
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan provided us with smooth roads and great scenery. Our stree
We stopped at the Plymouth, MI, headquarters of American Speed Company, the manufacturers
We were treated to a sit-down dinner at the AmsOil Center in Superior, WI, on Wednesday ev
More than 300 vehicles of local street rod and muscle car enthusiasts showed up at the Ams
We all gathered back at the AmsOil Center on Thursday morning to prepare for the two-hour
We created an instant car show wherever we stopped. Gas stops are always interesting on th
Minnesota Street Rod Association Board of Directors member Pete Emmeott met with us during
The tree-lined streets of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds are a perfect setting for a larg
The PPG / Street Rodder Road Tour hospitality tent provided a gathering spot for the Road
This was the scene at the Back to the 50's weekend in St. Paul. Everyone on the Classic Au