Recently one of our sister publications, Hot Rod Magazine, published what they felt were 100 things that a car guy should do before he goes to the big race in the sky. The list included attending the NSRA Street Rod Nationals, going to Bonneville for Speed Week and visiting the Smith Collection of American Speed at Speedway Motors. This week, on the Willy's Garage Road Tour we are doing all three of these over a seven day period. Starting with the NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville, stopping for a visit with Joyce and Bill Smith to see the incredible Smith Collection of American Speed on the Speedway Motors grounds, and ending up in Wendover, Nevada for the final days of Bonneville Speed Week. Along the way we are making stops at Pete and Jakes, spending an evening in Cheyenne, Wyoming and visiting the headquarters of our Tour Sponsor Willy's Garage in the Salt Lake City area. Willy's Garage has recently introduced a complete line of car care products. Owner Bill Williams and the Willy's Garage crew have a great evening planned complete with a visit by master painter Charley Hutton. It is going to be a wild week on the Willy's Garage AMSOIL Road Tour.
Our week started at the 40th NSRA Street Rod Nationals in Louisville. This year the number of registered street rods topped the 11,000 mark. The weather was great for the four day event at the Kentucky Expo Center. As we have done for the last four year the Road Tour participants gathered on Saturday at noon for a Road Tourian Reunion and photo shoot. It was great to see so many former road tour participants in attendance.
Sunday afternoon it was time to head west and begin our journey to Bonneville Speed Week. By Sunday evening we had made the five hour drive to St. Charles, Missouri just west of St. Louis. Monday morning, under cloudy skies we continued west on I-70. The rain hit hard around Columbia but we were soon through the downpour and arrived about 11AM at our first stop of the day, the Pete and Jake facilities in Peculiar, Missouri south of Kansas City. We were greeted by owners Jerry and Peggy Slover and given the full tour of both Pete and Jakes and Super Bell Axle Company. Jerry spent time showing us his incredible collection of Oil-Zum items. It is without a doubt the world's greatest display of collectibles from this famous oil brand.
From Pete and Jakes in was north past Kansas City and on to our afternoon stop at The Smith Collection of American Speed at Speedway Motors. Joyce and Bill Smith have amassed a collection of automotive items that defies description. From early Model T accessories and speed equipment to modern day race cars and everything in between. Pedal cars, automotive toys, flathead speed equipment, Soap Box Derby items and the list goes on and on. Four floors of a collection that was put together over a lifetime of automotive passion by fantastic folks who are kind enough to share it with others who have the same passion. The look on the faces of those on our tour who were experiencing it for the first was stunned ecstasy. A visit to the Smith Collection of American Speed is something that you never forget.
We are five days into the Willy's Garage Tour and we have checked off a number of items on our "bucket list". There is plenty more ahead with a visit to Cheyenne on to Willy's Garage and then to the Salt. Stay tuned and we will keep you updated.