from Kalamazoo to Burlington

The National Street Rod Association Nationals North Plus, held every September in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is one of the most popular events on the entire NSRA schedule. Rodders from across the Midwest gather for the fall weekend that has become a wrap-up to the long summer of rod runs in the central United States.

The following weekend near Burlington, Vermont, the NSRA Northeast Nationals Plus is held and rodders in the New England area wrap up their season. With approximately 1,200 miles and one week separating the two events it’s the perfect time to organize an AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour between them. Canadian Classic Cars is one of the premier Canadian dealers for special interest in the country. They are located just outside of Rockland, near Ottawa, and right on the way to Burlington from Kalamazoo. They were the perfect choice to sponsor the run across Canada.

Things got rolling on Friday in Kalamazoo with beautiful weather and a fairground full of street rods and special interest vehicles. The Road Tour participants began stopping by the tent to pick up their goodie bags, credentials, and schedule for the week. We held our drivers’ meeting at the tent on Sunday afternoon and 35 registered Road Tour participants rolled off the grounds early in the afternoon and the Tour was underway.

Our first stop on Sunday afternoon was at Shadow Rods in Saginaw, Michigan. This year’s Road Tour car is based on a Shadow Rods XL27 T roadster pickup body and chassis. We were greeted by owner Jon Hall, Mark Kirby who heads up Shadow Rods’ all-aluminum Flathead project, and marketing director Paul Beling. Jon, Mark, and Paul had just returned from a run to the West Coast with Jon in his Shadow Rods pickup and Mark driving their ’34 Ford test car with a Shadow Rods’ new aluminum Flathead underhood. The 5,000-mile shakedown was a huge success and the Flathead is very close to being available to the general public. We all enjoyed the tour of the facility and a look at Jon’s extensive collection of vehicles. By 6 p.m. it was time to be on our way. Our plans were taking us into Canada Sunday evening for our first night’s stay in Sarnia, crossing the border at Port Huron.

After our Monday morning drivers’ meeting we headed east on the one-hour drive to London, Ontario. We had been invited to see the home and car collection of Steve Plunkett in London. Upon arriving at Steve’s home we realized that we were in for a real treat. Housed in the beautiful buildings on Steve’s property are some of the classiest cars on the planet. Steve’s passion is the Cadillac marque; it would be hard to find a more extensive collection in the entire world. Steve took the time to personally walk us around the grounds of Fleetwood Farms and gave us a background on almost all of the vehicles in his collection. The setting was amazing and the cars were breathtaking. Each June Steve organizes a charity event that raises hundreds of thousands of dollars for many worthwhile causes. Plans have already been made and The Fleetwood Country Cruize-in Road Tour will travel from the NSRA Mid-America Nationals Plus in Springfield, Missouri, to the event at Fleetwood Farms next June. The two hours we spent at Steve’s Fleetwood Farms just scratched the surface of his fantastic collection. It will be great to join in the fun at this year’s Fleetwood Country Cruize-in with the Beach Boys as featured entertainment.