The NHRA Hot Rod Reunion was the final destination for the Vintage Air Tour but also the starting point for the AMSOIL Road Tour to the famous St Ignace Car Show in St Ignace, Michigan. After our Sunday morning drivers meeting the AMSOIL Tour participants headed north on I-65 and made our first stop about 90 miles up the interstate at Jason Grimes shop known simply as "The Garage".
Jason is one is the new breed of young builders who have brought a fresh approach to our hot rod hobby and has the talent to make his ideas a reality. The shop was filled with a wide variety of projects that run the gamete from old school rods to muscle cars and even a VW Beetle that is waiting for a big block implant. After a quick walk around the shop and some juice and donuts it was time to continue our journey north. It is very obvious that we will be seeing a lot more interesting projects coming out of Jason Grimes "Garage"
The remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon was spent on interstate highways that took us past Louisville, Indianapolis and way around Chicago. Our destination for the evening was Rockford, Illinois and we had been invited by long time friend Kerry Hopperstaed to visit his shop in nearby Belvidere, Illinois. We checked into the hotel first and were met by more AMSOIL Road Tour participants. We made the short trip to Kerry's shop together and were greeted by about twenty local rodders. Kerry as been in the rod and custom business for other 30 years and his shop has been out many great vehicles. During our visit we saw projects ranging from a '35 Ford coupe to a "modern" update of a '55 T-Bird. Kerry and crew specialize in custom fabrication in all of his builds. Kerry and his wife Darlene had arranged for a hot dog wagon to be on hand for Sunday evening and all the AMSOIL Road Tourians enjoyed the shop visit and the great sandwiches. It was a good first day on the Tour.
Monday morning started with our daily driver's meeting. At these brief get togethers we go over the plans for the day and review the itinerary that each participant receives at the beginning of the Tour. We answer any questions that folks may have and clarify some of the details of the days travel plans. Our destination for Monday evening was AMSOIL's Headquarters in Superior, Wisconsin. We had arranged to meet more participants on the way to Superior so we planned a lunch stop in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Some of the folks who were joining us were coming from the Back to the 50's Weekend in St. Paul which had just ended the previous day. After some burgers and shakes and distribution of goodie bags, T-shirts and itineraries, 16 cars rolled out of Eau Claire towards Superior, Wisconsin and a big party at The AMSOIL Center.
The 2 1/2 hour drive to Superior was beautiful as traveled up Route 53. While we had been in record heat for the last week on both the Vintage Air Tour and the beginning of the AMSOIL Tour all that ended as we rolled into Superior. The temperature was 52 degrees! What a change from the sweltering heat of the previous week. We all checked into our hotel, cleaned the cars and made the short trip to the AMSOIL Center. We were greeted by the AMSOIL staff and given a very interesting tour of their incredible facilities. The many AMSOIL products all come from this plant. We got a very up-close look at the entire operation from start to finish. AMSOIL's growth since their beginnings in 1972 has been incredible and they have plans in place for added growth far into the future. After the tour of the AMSOIL Center we were treated to a delicious catered dinner.
Outside special interest vehicles started to stream into the lot for the evening car show. The final total of vehicles in attendance topped 350. It was a great evening at The AMSOIL Center in Superior. AMSOIL is a major supporter of the Road Tour program all year long and it was fun to be able to visit their headquarters and see all the local vehicles that turned out to greet us.
Tuesday morning we stopped back at The AMSOIL Center for coffee and pastries as day three of the AMSOIL Tour began. Our destination for the day was Iron Mountain, Michigan and Randy Hallman Specialty Cars. The drive across the upper part of Wisconsin on Route 2 was beautiful and we pulled into Randy's shop about 2PM. Randy, his wife Jackie and the crew were waiting along with some local hot rodders. The food was all set out and we had a relaxing few hours at the shop enjoying the food and the vehicles on display. By 4PM we made the short drive to our hotel. It was another fun day on the AMSOIL Tour.
Tomorrow our destination is the Michigan home of Rod Tops and Time Machines Unlimited and an evening in the Charlevoix, Michigan area. We are getting close to our final destination of the St Ignace Car Show. Check back here for a full report.