The NHRA Wally Parks Museum is known for its incredible collection of hot rod artifacts that tell the story of the history of our hobby. A visit to the facility on the grounds of the Fairplex in Pomona gives visitors a look at hot rodding's roots and the men and women that pioneered what has become a passion for so many of us. On display in the museum are vehicles and memorabilia that show what things were like in the early days when hot rodding was in its infancy and the sport of drag racing was born. The NHRA Wally Parks Museum is more than just a shrine to our past. Each year the museum organizes two events that showcase the cars and the activities that helped shape the hobby. In June at Beech Bend Raceway in Bowling Green, Kentucky and in October at Fomoso Raceway near Bakersfield, the Hot Rod Reunion events feature vintage drag racing and attracted race cars and hot rods from those early years.
This past June the Vintage Air Road Tour again traveled to the Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Again this year the Reunion in Bowling Green was a fantastic event and we had already made plans to attend this years California Hot Rod Reunion in October. Our starting point for the NHRA Museum Road Tour was decided to be the Pacific Northwest. Always a hot bed of hot rod activity, this marks the first time that we have been in the Pacific Northwest since our "come along for the ride" program was instituted four years ago. The Seattle, Washington area is home to Morrison Enterprises located in the suburb of Fife. The folks at Morrison fabricated the chassis and front suspension on this year's 1952 Chevy hardtop and after 22,000 miles of smooth travels the Morrison chassis still makes each and everyday on the Tours very comfortable for me. Morrison Enterprises was the perfect place to begin the NHRA Museum Road Tour to the California Hot Rod Reunion.
Waiting for us at Morrison Enterprises on Saturday evening were owners Art and son Craig Morrison and their crew of craftsmen. Burgers and hot dogs were already on the grill and we were given a tour of the facilities by Art and Craig. It was interesting to see the wide range of chassis applications that are available from Morrison Enterprises and the engineering and craftsmanship that goes into each product. The Road Tour participants had plenty of questions for Art, Craig and the crew and it was an educational evening at Morrison Enterprises. Craig's talents extend to the barbeque grill and the great food was appreciated by everyone in attendance.
Sunday morning we decided to make a stop at the LeMay Auto Museum in nearby Tacoma, Washington. Harold LeMay's love affair began at an early age. He began collecting all things automotive about the same time that he began his refuse and waste services business when he returned from World War Two. His auto collection grew as rapidly as his business and his success helped him to continue to build his collection of autos and auto related items. It is an understatement to say that Harold LeMay had a collection of vehicles. At the time of his passing some years ago he had accumulated 3,500 vehicles of all makes and models from every era of automotive history. His family has continued Harold's dream and with the help of dedicated volunteers many of the vehicles from Harold LeMays collection are on display in Tacoma. Plans are in the works to break ground this year for what is projected to be the largest auto museum in the world and Harold LeMays colletion will be the center piece of America's Auto Museum in Tacoma, Washington.
Sunday afternoon the Tour made its way two hours south to Vancouver, Washington and the showroom and warehouse of Chev's of the 40's. Chev's of the 40's specializes in parts and products for Chevrolet cars and trucks from 1936 to 1954. We used many of their products on this years Road Tour Chevy. We were greeted at Chev's by owners Rob Logsdon and Ron Wade. Rob and Ron are both serious car guys and their showroom, build shop and restoration facilities are very impressive. As Rob gave us a look at the retail end of things at Chev's of the 40's and their sister company Street Rod Headquarters, Ron took folks on a tour of the shop area and we got a upclose look at the projects that Ron has in the works. After our visit at Chev's Rob and Ron took us all out to dinner at a great local restaurant where we all had a good time enjoying the food and the camaraderie of fellow car folks. Many thanks to Rob and Ron all the folks at Chev's of the 40's and the Street Rod Headquarters for a great Sunday evening in Vancouver.
The NHRA Hot Rod Museum Tour is just getting started. We have many more stops to make along the way to the California Hot Rod Reunion. Check back here for all of the details of our week on the road.