Activities kicked off on Saturday...
Activities kicked off on Saturday night at the traditional hotdog roast at the Vintage Air headquarters in San Antonio. It was a chance for veteran Road Tour participants to renew old friendships.
It is said, "Things are bigger in Texas." This appears to be the case each year on the Vintage Air Road Tour. For the last five years, Rick Love and Jack Chisenhall of Vintage Air have put together a Road Tour that attracts the most participants of any of the eight tours in the AMSOIL/STREET RODDER summer-long schedule.
When the destination of the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals was announced last winter the registration sheets poured in. By the time the tour was ready to roll there were over 70 vehicles registered. That's an all-time high for any Road Tour of any year or destination. The Texas Road Tourians love to travel with Rick and Jack.
Festivities kicked off on Saturday evening with the traditional hotdog roast and drivers' meeting at the Vintage Air Headquarters in San Antonio. Many of the participants had traveled on previous tours and acquaintances were quickly renewed. The detailed maps and directions were passed out, along with the Road Tour goodie bags and T-shirts. There were tours given of the Vintage Air Manufacturing facilities and as the sun began to set, everyone headed for the hotel to get some rest for the week ahead.
Rick Love from Vintage Air,...
Rick Love from Vintage Air, with Vintage Air President Jack Chisenhall (left) addressed the crowd at the get-together. Rick is responsible for all of the details and planning that goes into the Vintage Air Tour each summer.
Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. it was time to head out; 50 participating vehicles rolled out of Vintage Air. As planned, the other 20 would join us a little further down the highway at one of the many stops we would be making. With Rick in the lead of the hot rod version of a Texas cattle drive we started the weeklong journey under blue skies.
Our first stop was in the nearby town of Boerne. Adrenaline Rides Garage recently moved to a new facility and we were invited to stop by and have breakfast and check out the new shop. General Manager Don Sutherland and the Adrenaline Rides crew were waiting for us with doughnuts, coffee, and some great breakfast burritos. The shop specializes in high-performance race and street cars with an emphasis on chassis fabrication and suspension upgrades. They even have an in-house upholstery facility. It was a great way to start the trip.
The lunch stop was in San Angelo and everyone enjoyed some good Texas barbecue and appreciated the short break from the road. After filling our gas tanks we headed back out onto the highway. Rick always plans routes that take us off the interstates allowing all of us to enjoy a smooth drive on lesser-traveled roads, eventually ending at our destination of Midland around 4 p.m.
Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m....
Sunday morning at 7:30 a.m. it was time to head west. The Vintage Air Tour is always very well attended and this year there were a record 70 vehicles registered to participate.
Arrangements were made for us to enjoy a special visit to The Petroleum Museum on Sunday afternoon. The museum traces the history of the oil industry but the real reason for our visit was to see the unique Chaparral Gallery. In 1965 race car enthusiast and designer Jim Hall revolutionized the sport of auto racing with his winged Chaparral. At the museum, the Transportation Wing allows visitors to enjoy an up-close look at many examples of the famous racing vehicles that changed the use of aerodynamics in the '60s.
At the beginning of our visit we were told that we were in store for a special treat. We were to see and hear one of the original cars run. If that wasn't enough, we were then told that the person taking the car out for a spin was Jim Hall himself. We were ecstatic. What an incredible opportunity to see the man who created these amazing vehicles get back into one and take it for a drive.
Jim Hall arrived about 5 p.m. and was extremely gracious as he greeted us and took the time to answer questions and explain the history of the company and cars that he'd developed. He then climbed into a Chevy 427 version, fired it up, and proceeded to make some laps around the front driveway of the Museum. It was an amazing Road Tour moment to see a legendary man actually behind the wheel of one of his ground-breaking vehicles. Thanks to Jim Hall and everyone who helped put this visit together.