If you want to see the USA in a street rod, the PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour is the way to
Without question the first five legs of the 2008 PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour were successful, and with everything planned for number six, we were confident the Edelbrock Tour would be a hit as well. After all, what could be better than starting out at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise and ending up at Bonneville's Speed Week? And you just knew there were going to be some great stops in between.
For many of those on this leg of the tour, the good times started early. As the hotel where we would stay in Detroit was just around the corner from the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, a number of those on the tour arrived a day or two early to take them in.
Henry Ford began collecting things for the museum that would carry his name as far back as 1906. He was quoted as saying, "I am collecting the history of our people as written into things their hands made and used...when we are through, we shall have reproduced American life as lived, and that, I think, is the best way of preserving at least a part of our history and tradition..."
For many of the Road Tourians, the trip began with a tour of Greenfield Village. There's s
Along with an array of automobiles, the museum houses the rocking chair President Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot, Buckminster Fuller's prototype Dymaxion house, and the Fokker Trimotor airplane that made the first flight over the North Pole.
Adjacent to the Henry Ford Museum is Greenfield Village, where over 90 buildings were moved from their original locations to represent an American community of the past. Those buildings include Ford's Michigan homestead, Edison's New Jersey laboratories, and the Wright brothers' home and bicycle shop. Transportation around Greenfield is by horse-drawn bus, a 1931 Model AA bus, and a fleet of Model Ts and steam locomotives. (For train buffs, an 1873 0-6-4 Mason Bogie which is one of the oldest operating steam locomotives in the U.S., and a Baldwin 4-4-0.)
The official start of the Edelbrock Tour was at the Woodward Avenue Dream Cruise on Saturday, August 16. Originally a benefit to raise money for a soccer field, it is now claimed to be the world's largest one-day automotive event. Stretching along 16 miles of Woodward Ave. through nine communities, it's said to draw 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars. When we decided to take a lap around the cruise route it took over 2 1/2 hours.
You think your projects are big, how about restoring a steam locomotive or a caboose. This
With an event this size there's not a parking spot to be found, but thanks to Mike and Sandy Eaton of Eaton Detroit Spring, the Road Tour participants had their own reserved parking lot and they barbequed hot dogs and hamburgers for us, too.
Sunday morning we had a little over 400 miles to go to our night stop in Clinton, Iowa. As luck would have it, as we pulled into town we stumbled onto an outdoor show put on by the local car club. There were some great cars on display, and the Road Tour Speed33 was recognized by quite a few of the rodders in attendance. After checking out the happenings, Jerry Dixey and I found our way to the Riverboat Casino to check out the buffet and contribute to the local economy.
Monday morning it was off to visit one of the supporters and the official retail store of the Road Tour, Yogi's Street Rod Accessories in nearby Calamus, Iowa. Yogi's may be in a little community, but they have a huge inventory of street rod parts and there's a steady stream of delivery trucks hauling off parts to places near and far. Although he and his daughter Ann were in the middle of loading up for the trek to the West Coast, Yogi stopped what they were doing and gave us all a tour of the place. Everyone left with a catalog, and a few Road Tourians were seen packing parts out to their cars, including Jerry.
Transportation around Greenfield Village is provided by, among other things, a fleet of Mo
After leaving Yogi's we continued west to Lincoln, Nebraska, for a private viewing of Bill Smith's Museum of American Speed at Speedway Motors. As the story goes, the collection started with engines, then the speed equipment that made the engines faster, then the fast cars, and so on. Pedal cars, toy cars, tether cars, automobilia, and air pumps to monkey wrenches are now all part of the collection. And we haven't event touched on the Soap Box Derby cars or the Buck Rogers memorabilia.
When we arrived at Speedway we were greeted by Bill and Joyce Smith, Damon Lee, media liaison-and the former editor of Custom Rodder and R&C staffer-and John MacKichan of museum operations (and also a Bonneville record holder). After Bill gave us an overview of what was ahead we broke up into two groups and toured the 125,000-square-foot building. Those who had been there before all found something new to be amazed by; first-timers were just amazed in general.
Tuesday morning it was off to Denver, 490 miles away. That afternoon we were to be the guests of Todd Gold and the staff at Streamline Hot Rod Parts. Todd starting building hot rods in what was once the city's largest gas station. When it became obvious that a larger facility was necessary, he couldn't bring himself to knock the old building down, so he built a new one over it. Now the complete original station is inside the new structure.
new at the Henry Ford is the interactive Model T display. Rather than being plastered with
Today Todd not only presides over Streamline Hot Rod Parts, but he has acquired several other companies, including Vintage Auto Parts and Rod Bods, which has a new name, Denver Deuce.
On Wednesday we crossed the Rockies on the trek west. Up to this point the '34 tub I'd been driving had performed flawlessly, but bending it around corners something didn't feel right; the rear end felt loose. A roadside inspection revealed that the bolts securing the Panhard bar to the center section had come loose and at least one was missing. Fortunately, Glenwood Springs was not far away, and as I came into town I caught a glimpse of a Cobra on the rack at a repair shop. Those were some guys I needed to meet. After a quick explanation of the problem the '34 was up on jack stands, and new bolts with threadlocker were in place. I was back on the road in 15 minutes thanks to the guys at Trophy Auto Sales.
The next stop was at the shop of East Carbon, Utah's coolest cat, Bo Huff. He's been a hot rodder and customizer since all his life, but maybe that has something to do with growing up in a town named Dragerton. Bo's career has taken him to Salt Lake City, SoCal, and points East, but today he builds cars from his shop well off the beaten path. He also hangs out in his very own museum dedicated to rods and customs that he invited us to visit. Bo treated us to some great food and brought in a rockabilly band called Mad Max and the Wildcats. While they looked like they were from the '50s, if you added up all their ages they'd still be younger than me.
The first official stop on the Edelbrock leg of the PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour was the Wo
The next morning it was off to the Salt. I was anxious to get there so I pulled out of East Carbon at 4:00 a.m. While it seemed like a good idea at the time, I had forgotten how cold it gets in the wee hours in that part of the country. Thankfully the tub had been equipped with a Vintage Air heater, but with no side curtains I found it's hard to drive with your hands over your ears.
For anyone who's into the traditions of our hobby, there is nothing that compares to Bonneville, and those of us who are regulars still get a thrill out of it. But it turned out that one of the most interesting parts of the Edelbrock Tour was watching the reactions of the first-timers on the Salt. For most of them it was a lifelong dream fulfilled and they were like kids in a candy store. It's a good bet that some of them will be back.
For me, the Road Tour came to an end on Friday, as Pleasanton was to be my next stop. I pointed the tub toward the Pacific, picked up another traveling companion by the name of Tex Smith, and away we went.
Mike and Sandy Eaton were our hosts on Woodward (that's Mike in the baseball cap). They pr
As Tex and I were going west, the Edelbrock Tour was going east. Sunday, the gang was off to Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake. The Miller folks sent their Mustang pace car to lead the pack from the salt to the track. After a tour of the facility the Road Tourians were able to take a lap in their cars around the 3.5-mile, 24-turn road course. That evening the tour went to the Totem Club in Salt Lake City, where they met some of the local street rodders and had a great meal.
As Jerry reported on Sunday morning it was time for everyone to head home. But the Road Tour isn't over yet. Still to come is the Sacramento Vintage Ford Tour from Pomona to the NSRA Golden State Nationals and the NHRA Museum Tour to the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield. Watch for more in the pages of STREET RODDER, then start making plans to join in the fun next year.
Woodward has to be seen to be believed. Lowered customs, jacked up trucks, and everything
On the way west we made a quick stop at Yogi's, the official retail store of the Road Tour
When we arrived at Speedway Motors, the one and only Bill Smith welcomed us to the Museum
We rolled into Clinton, IA, and found the Clinton Area Rod Clubs 21st Annual Fun-Sun car s
A dealer for virtually every aftermarket part available, Yogi's carries a huge inventory.
It's hard to believe, but Bill still manages to find original cars like this board track r
This unique midget racing V-8 engine was rescued as it was about to be crushed. The hand-b
In his racing days, there was one guy who Bill couldn't beat. Many years later he found th
That breather led to another carburetor base hidden under the manifold. As this supplied o
A former Street Rodder project car, SpeedRodder now resides in the museum.
We rolled into Denver for an evening stop at Streamline Hot Rods and Parts.
Streamline is amazing for a number of reasons, not least of which is the building within a
Streamline recently purchased Rod Bods. Now known as the Denver Deuce, bodies are in stock
Bo Huff invited us to stop off at his place in East Carbon, UT. A little out of the way, i
A part of Streamline is Vintage Auto parts. The stock of vintage parts left even the talka
Coming over the Rockies, the tub got a little tail-happy. When assembling the chassis we h
Only at Bo's can you check out cool cars, a massive collection of automobilia, get your ha
A number of local rodders turned out at Bo's, and given the population of the area everyon
Even though the frontman for Mad Max and the Wildcats is 9 years old, their rendition of H
Pulling onto the Salt was a lifetime dream for some of those on the tour but it's still a
You never know who's going to show up on the Road Tour. Artist of note, longtime street ro
At the last stop, tour participants had the chance to take a lap around Miller Motorsports