The Classic Automobilia Road Tour ended on Sunday September 20 at the Northeast Nationals in Burlington, Vermont. While it was the end of one Tour it was actually the beginning of my cross country journey to begin the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour which was scheduled to start five days later in Escondido California 3,000 miles from where I stood in Vermont. Over the past fourteen years and 325,000 miles I have made the crossing many times but it had been a few years since I had needed to put together three or four 800 mile days in a row. I knew the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour Chevy was up to the challenge and I felt that I still had a few long distance runs left in me so with that in mind I set my sights on the left coast and rolled out of the fairgrounds on Sunday at 3:00PM.
My home in Youngstown, Ohio is actually about 700 miles from Vermont so I stopped there on Monday evening. Tuesday I put down 800 miles and landed in Springfield, Missouri for the evening. Wednesday I rolled on 800 more miles to Moriarity, New Mexico just west of Albuquerque. I made a stop to see Beth and Archie at the Lewis Antique Auto Museum. Archie Lewis has been a collector for over 50 years and has amassed one of the largest collections of traditional vintage tin I have ever seen. Readers may remember a few stops we have made at Archie's on previous Road Tours, From Albuquerque my travels continued across I-40 to Kingman, Arizona. In Kingman Ken Earl of Earl's Hot Rod Shop stopped by the hotel to say hello and get a look at the Road Tour Chevy. It always amazes me to see how many folks have heard about our travels on the Road Tour. On Friday afternoon at 4PM I pulled into the parking lot of the kick-off hotel in Escondido, California. It was time to start the Sherm's Plating Tour and set out on the road to the NSRA Golden Sate Nationals in Sacramento.
Road Tour participants had already arrived at the hotel and I was greeted by Gary Matranga, president of Sherm's Custom Plating. I have known Gary for a number of years and when Sherm's came on board as a sponsor I invited Gary to ride along for the week with me in the Road Tour Chevy. Friday evening were we special guests at "Cruisin' Grand" in downtown Escondido. It is a very cool event that is held every Friday evening during the summer. The streets are blocked off and fill with hot rods and collector vehicles. The weather was California gorgeous and it was a lot of fun.
Saturday morning we gathered at Randy Clarks Hot Rods and Custom Stuff in Escondido. Randy, wife Peaches and some of the crew greeted us with coffee and pastries and a tour of their paint and assembly facilities. Hot Rods and Custom Stuff built the 2004 yellow Brookville Roadster deuce Road Tour car. We took a minute and got the Tour Chevy up on the lift for a quick once over before heading out. It was good to see that Randy and the folks at Hot Rods and Custom Stuff are still keeping very busy building some very high quality vehicles.
From Escondido we headed north towards the Los Angeles area. Some of our Road Tour folks were scheduled to attend the Cruise for a Cure event at the Orange County Fairgrounds while many of us were bound for the Petersen Museum to attend the RM Auction. Titled "Icons of Speed and Beauty" the auction included many very famous hot rods, show cars and race cars of the last 50 years. It was exciting to be able to see cars such as Ed Roth's Druid Princess, Tony Nancy's 22 Jr, the Little Red Wagon, Boot Hill Express and many others as they went across the auction block. By 4 PM it was time to head to our evening destination of San Dimas near Pomona. After dealing with the LA traffic it was good to get landed for the evening. It had been an exciting day on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour.
Sunday were had our morning driver's meeting and made the very short drive to the NHRA Wally Parks Motorsport Museum at the Fairplex in Pomona. We were greeted at the museum by Director Tony Thacker and spent about an hour checking out all of the great cars and displays on hand. It is a place that I never get tired of visiting and there is always something new to view at the NHRA Wally Parks Museum.
From Pomona we traveled north to the Simi Valley home and shop of Ron Main. Ron is a life long hot rod and has in recent years become a fixture at Bonneville during Speed Weeks. He holds the Land Speed record for a flathead powered vehicle He is currently partnered with George Poteet on the Speed Demon streamliner. When the Road Tour traveled to Bonneville this past August we were able to see George Poteet win the HOT Rod Trophy for the week with a speed of almost 400 MPH. At Ron's shop on Sunday we were able to see both Flat Fire and Speed Demon which had gone 436 MPH three days earlier at Booneville. Ron gave us an in depth look at what it takes to put together a team and a vehicle to make an attempt at a land speed record. We were also honored to meet Mike Landy who with his brother Dick had built the flathead motor that pushed Flat Fire to the record. It was a very exciting stop at Ron Main's home and shop.
We made the very beautiful three hour trip to Morro Bay under sunny skies and warm temperatures. We stopped by the Bear Metal Kustoms where we were greeted by owner Jason Pall and his family and crew. Jason is a young and very talented builder who has already made a mark for himself in the traditional rod scene. I was very impressed with the '51 Olds project that was in progress at Bear Metal Kustoms. It was a great wrap up to another fun day on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. We have only gotten started. Check back as we have seven more days of fun on tap.