Tom Joseph and the crew at Southern Rods and Parts hosted the kick-off party for the Cruis
The 2010 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour kicked off at Southern Rods and Parts in Greer, South Carolina, with owner Tom Joseph and his crew throwing a party for a parking lot filled with 30 Cruise to Ocean City Tour participants and about 50 local hot rodders who turned out to join in the fun. Great weather and great barbecue helped the turnout, but the real reason most folks stopped by was to get the very first look at the '10 Road Tour Shadow Rods XL27 roadster pickup.
At 2 p.m., an Intercity Lines transporter backed onto the lot with one very important cargo. Five days earlier the crew at Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, California, had put the finishing touches on the Smeding Ford 427-powered roadster pickup and loaded it on the rig for the cross-country journey.
To say that the folks who were present at Southern Rods were impressed is a huge understatement. As soon as the blue bomber was lowered down from the transporter by Intercity Lines driver Maurice Sharp, all eyes were on the Road Tour roadster pickup. Zane Cullen and the Cotati craftsmen put an amazing amount of detail into the pickup, and it showed. Clay Cook from C. Cook Enterprises had personally traveled from his shop in Kentucky to Santa Rosa to hand fabricate the track nose and hood that makes the roadster so distinctive. The flawless blue PPG paint, the Rod Tops' top and interior with Wise Guys' seats helped complete the Shadow Rods XL27 body and frame package.
The participants on the Cruise to Ocean City Tour were one of the first large groups to vi
The Southern Rods and Parts staff put on a great party, complete with door prizes for the many folks in attendance. By about 5 p.m. it was time for the Cruise to Ocean City Road Tour to get rolling. It was a 90-minute drive to Concord, North Carolina, just north of Charlotte. The trip began with some major downpours along the way. The pickup handled the wet conditions flawlessly with the Coker Tires and Pete & Jakes chassis and suspension keeping everything on track. The Road Tour participants arrived at the hotel in Concord somewhat wet but enthusiastic about the week ahead.
Sunday started off with some very hot and humid weather conditions. At the first drivers' meeting of the week, we covered the details of the many activities that were planned along the way to the Cruisin' Ocean City event. Our first visit on Sunday morning was one of the most anticipated of the week. We were going to be one of the first groups to tour the newly opened NASCAR Hall of Fame in downtown Charlotte. The facility is fantastic. It includes displays and exhibits that relate to the history of stock car racing and the stories of the people who made the sport so colorful. The facility is filled with many interactive exhibits and famous cars of the past and present. It will quickly become a must-see stop on any car person's list if they are in the Charlotte area.
The pickup had been finished just seven days earlier at Zane Cullen's Cotati Speed Shop in
After a brief stop back at our hotel, we continued Sunday afternoon's activities with a short drive to Mooresville and a visit to the North Carolina Racing Hall of Fame, which contains some very interesting and significant vehicles and memorabilia from the rich history of racing in the state. One of the highlights was a chance to meet Don Miller, the former President of Penske Racing and the man many credit as the person who put the name Penske on the NASCAR map. Don was instrumental in the early NASCAR career of Rusty Wallace, among many others. He was on hand at the museum to sign copies of his new book, Miller's Time, which covers his long career in auto racing. One of the many vehicles on display in the museum was Don's famous yellow Mac Tools roadster in which he broke a number of land speed records on the salt at Bonneville.
Sunday evening was spent enjoying food and beverages at the nearby Quaker Steak and Lube.
The Hall of Fame and Museum is a huge facility. It contains cars and displays that tell th
Monday morning we visited the facilities of Steele Rubber Products near Mooresville, NC.
Our Sunday afternoon stop was at the North Carolina Auto Hall of Fame. We were greeted at
We were invited by longtime street rodder Henry Dana to visit the famed headquarters of Da
Monday morning it was rise and shine on the Cruise to Ocean City Tour. After our morning drivers' meeting, we rolled out of our hotel in Concord, North Carolina, under threatening skies. While most of the Road Tourians were used to the rain by now, trying to keep the cars clean was getting pretty old. There was a lot to see and do today and we were not going to let some rain dampen our spirits.
The first stop of the morning was Steele Rubber Products in Lexington, North Carolina, just west of Mooresville. Steele Rubber Products is the official weatherstripping supplier for the Road Tour. In 1958, Lynn Steele needed some rubber gaskets and seal products for his '31 Cadillac. As has been the case for so many companies in our hobby, Lynn couldn't find the parts he needed, so he made them. The rest is history and Steele Rubber Products has become the leader in gaskets, seals, and rubber products for the special interest vehicle market. We were greeted by the Steele Rubber Products staff when we arrived. Steele Rubber Products president, Matt Agosta, pulled the late-Lynn Steele's '31 Cadillac out to sit beside the Road Tour pickup. After some coffee and doughnuts we were given tours of the manufacturing facilities at Steele and we all got an education about the process that is involved in manufacturing rubber products. At the end of our visit, vice president of marketing, Eric Saltrick, made sure that everyone on the Road Tour received a goodie bag, and the folks at Steele thanked us all for stopping.
Near Greensboro, NC, is the small town of Belews Springs. For the second year in a row we
Next up was a visit to what is hallowed ground for the NASCAR community and fans worldwide. Dale Earnhardt Inc. (DEI) is located just outside of Mooresville, North Carolina. It is a beautiful facility that now serves as a tribute to what many consider to be the greatest driver who ever competed in NASCAR. Our host was longtime street rodder Henry Dana who has the enviable job of restoring and maintaining the late-Dale Earnhardt Sr.'s collection of special interest vehicles. The building's interior is beautiful and contains the trophies and cars that tell the story of the "Man in Black's" amazing career.
While we were at DEI, some of the local street rodders stopped by to say "hello". Tom Busch brought his nostalgic '32 Ford five-window that has all the right touches. Tom has relocated to North Carolina from Las Vegas since his two sons became involved in racing. Tom is Kyle and Kurt Busch's father and a very knowledgeable hot rodder. It was a very interesting visit at DEI.
We were given a tour of the manufacturing facilities at Steele Rubber Products by company
About 45 minutes north is the town of Welcome, North Carolina, and the home of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). We had been invited to visit the huge facility by the head of equipment manufacturing at RCR, Rick Grimes. We were treated to a great lunch in the large meeting room at RCR and then got a chance to see the workshop area. We saw an amazing lineup of race cars in various stages of repair and assembly. Some of the Road Tourians toured the RCR Museum while others did some shopping in the gift shop area. (Thanks to everyone at RCR for a great afternoon visit to a very classy operation.)
It was onto Kernersville to check into the hotel before our trip to the Classic Auto Restoration Services (C.A.R.S. Inc.) facility in nearby Belews Creek, North Carolina. Jim Barber and the staff were ready when we arrived and Jim immediately took us on a tour of their huge facility. There are always dozens of builds going together at C.A.R.S. Inc. that range from the classics to very potent muscle cars with plenty of street rods in the mix too. After the tour we all sat down and enjoyed some of the best barbecue on the planet. It is always a pleasure to stop and see Jim Barber and the folks at C.A.R.S. Inc. It had been a great day on the tour and the Road Tourians were exhausted.
Our stop for lunch on Monday afternoon was at the huge facility of Richard Childress Racin
The work in progress at C.A.R.S. Inc. ranges from high-performance muscle cars to frame-of
Tuesday morning we visited the Whitsett, NC, location of Jet-Hot Coatings. We were greeted
It was a four-hour drive from the Greensboro area to our Tuesday evening stay in Nags Head
Tuesday we were up and rolling by 8 a.m. We had been invited to tour the HPC Jet-Hot Coating facility in Whitsett, North Carolina. We were greeted by Chairman/CEO Paul Clayton who personally gave us a tour of their facility. It was interesting to see the process that goes into the high heat coatings that HPC Jet-Hot Coating is so famous for applying. Everyone received a souvenir Jet-Hot hat; the local TV station even turned out to cover our visit.
From HPC it was onto Efland, North Carolina, where we had been invited to enjoy a picnic lunch, compliments of the Timeless Cruisers of Efland. What a great bunch of folks with a love of cars and a camaraderie that they enjoy sharing with other car enthusiasts. Thanks for the hospitality folks. What a nice way to spend some time on the road.
After our visit at Jet-Hot we were treated to a picnic lunch by the Timeless Cruisers of E
Nags Head, North Carolina, was our destination for Tuesday evening and after a four-hour drive we all made the trip in decent shape. The First Flight Car Club of Kitty Hawk has a local cruise on Tuesday evening in Kitty Hawk and they invited us to stop by and even put together goodie bags for all of us. They are another example of how great car folks can be and their hospitality was appreciated.
After our morning drivers' meeting at the hotel in Nags Head we made a short drive north to the site of the first manned self-propelled plane flight. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the trip from their home in Dayton, Ohio, to the sands of the outer banks of North Carolina to test their experimental aircraft over 100 years ago. The rest is history. The park is very well laid out and includes re-creations of their original camp. The runway in the sand is marked and there is a huge memorial on the hill overlooking the site. It was a very interesting stop on the tour.
We were invited by the First Flight Car Club from nearby Kitty Hawk to join them at their
From the Wright Brother's Memorial we continued north to another famous beach town. Virginia Beach is the home of the Naval Air Station Oceana and home to the jet fighters that are part of the Navy's strike force. We had stopped there last year and it was a thrill to see the planes and the people who help make our country safe and free. This year we were invited to enjoy some lunch at the Officer's Club on the base. It was quite an experience to dine with the airmen and airwomen of the base and enjoy the displays and surroundings of the club. After lunch we got a chance to see some of the planes that have played a part in the history of Naval aviation at NAS Oceana.
From the airbase, many of the Road Tourians made a trip to Dumar's Drive-In, located in nearby Norfolk, Virginia, a restaurant famous for their ice cream and barbecue. Dumar's is also the originator of the waffle ice cream cone and some folks just had to give it a try. It was reported to be excellent.
On our drive up the coastline of the outer banks we made a brief visit to the site of the
By this point in the tour, the weather had turned sunny and warm. We spent Wednesday afternoon hanging around the hotel parking lot cleaning the cars and tightening some loose nuts and bolts. After some dinner, many folks walked on the beach and enjoyed the free band concert put on by the city every Wednesday evening. We were getting close to our destination and life was good, warm, and dry.
Thursday morning on our way out of Virginia Beach we made a stop at Bobbie Lou and Hoyt Duff's Lynnhaven Pier in Virginia Beach. Hoyt and Bobbie Lou have been participants on many Road Tours in the past and have become a part of our Road Tourian family. Earlier this year a storm hit Virginia Beach and wiped out much of their pier. With no insurance the repairs are going to be quite costly. In order to help defray some of the cost they are selling planks to folks who can have a message engraved on the plank. At our morning driver's meeting we passed the hat and raised $150 for the Lynnhaven Pier Fund. There will be a plank that will reads "STREET RODDER Cruise to Ocean City, May 2010," which will be a permanent memorial to our great week on the road.
Our accommodations in Virginia Beach were right on the ocean. The weather had cleared and
We visited the Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach. We had been invited to have lun
The trip from Virginia Beach north to Ocean City involves traveling across and through the
From Virginia Beach all the way to Ocean City takes you over and under the Chesapeake Bay via a very long bridge and tunnel system. This engineering marvel dramatically reduces the time for traveling up the coast. We arrived in Ocean City at about 2 p.m. on Thursday. The town was already filled with street rods, customs, and muscle cars. The weather was perfect and the special events team again had everything running very smoothly. It was the 20th edition of Cruisin' Ocean City and by all accounts the best one ever. Our STREET RODDER Road Tour hospitality tent was a hub of activity. Everyone wanted to get a look at the new Shadow Rods XL27 roadster pickup built by Cotati Speed Shop. We also had a special guest in our tent almost all weekend. Henry Winkler was on hand to greet the crowd and sign autographs. "The Fonz" even took a moment to pose with the Road Tourians by the pickup.
It was a great weekend in Ocean City that topped off a great week. We had loads of fun, food, and interesting stops along the way. Thanks to everyone who welcomed us during the week and thanks to all the participants who helped me enjoy my week on the road too. Check out the schedule and try to join us on one of the tours we have planned this summer. You will have a great time. For those of you who can't get away this year, follow our blog at www.streetrodderweb.com for all the latest news and updates.
Next up is the Woody's Hot Rodz Tour as we travel from the NSRA Mid-America Nationals Plus in Springfield, Missouri, to the huge NSRA East Coast Nationals in York, Pennsylvania. We hope to see you on a Road Tour soon.
A few of the Cruise to Ocean City participants posed for a picture with their cars in the
One of the most popular activities at Cruisin' Ocean City is the morning drive down the bo
Henry Winkler was in the STREET RODDER Road Tour hospitality tent signing autographs most