The grounds at the fairgrounds in Kalamazoo, MI, were covered with participants and specta
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.
There were 35 vehicles that headed out on the CanadianClassicCars.ca Tour. We got a first-
Things got rolling on Friday in Kalamazoo with beautiful weather and a fairground full of street rods and special interest vehicles. The CanadianClassicCars.ca 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 CanadianClassicCars.ca 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.
Mark Kirby, the Flathead expert at Shadow Rods, filled us in on the progress of their new
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.
It’s safe to say that Steve Plunkett and his Fleetwood Farms facility in London, Ontario,
Steve’s Automobile Salon interior is finished in fine hardwood and has the look and feel o
Other buildings at Fleetwood Farms display more of Steve’s extensive collection. His inter
At the hotel in Oshawa, Canada, we were greeted by members of the Motor City Car Club. Thi
From London it was a two-and-a-half-hour drive to Oshawa. In 2007 we made a stop in Oshawa and met the members of the Motor City Car Club. When they heard we were traveling to Burlington they again rolled out the red carpet. We were greeted at our hotel by about 15 members of the club and made the short drive to the beautiful new Oshawa City Hall. There we were formally greeted by the Mayor of Oshawa who welcomed us to their city. It was then onto the Armory where we were treated to a delicious dinner provided to us by the City of Oshawa, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Motor City Car Club. The setting was the Officer’s Dining Room at the Armory and it was a very classic and historic setting for a get together. After dinner we were joined by many of the members of the Motor City Car Club for a meet and greet back at our hotel.
After a visit to Oshawa City Hall and a special greeting from the mayor we made the short
The CanadianClassicCars.ca Tour continued on Tuesday in Oshawa, Ontario. Members of the Motor City Car Club again joined us at the hotel in the morning. After our drivers’ meeting we made the short drive to downtown Oshawa to visit the Canadian Automotive Museum. Privately owned and funded, this museum contains a huge and varied collection of automobiles and motorcycles dating from the earliest examples up through the modern era. The second floor of the museum is filled with autos that were manufactured specifically in Canada. With almost 100 vehicles on display the hour that we spent at the Canadian Automotive Museum went by very quickly.
By 11 a.m. it was time to head for Ottawa. We had many stops planned for the day and it was a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Oshawa to Canada’s Capital of Ottawa. After checking in at our hotel we were met in the parking lot by our tour guide and host in Ottawa, Larry Way. Larry worked in the public relations department in Parliament for many years and now has an advertising and promotions agency in Canada. He organizes car events and works closely with our tour sponsor Canadian Classic Cars. Larry had arranged a special tour of the Parliament building for our road tour group for later Tuesday evening. From the hotel we headed out at about 5 p.m. to make a stop at a cruise at the Hazeldean Mall in Ottawa. This cruise is held weekly and our visit coincided with the final cruise of the summer. Our 35 vehicles made a nice addition to the regular group. There was even a cake to celebrate our visit and the end of the summer season. It was a short stop but it was fun to meet some of the local enthusiasts.
Tuesday morning our first stop was the Canadian Automotive Museum. This privately funded c
Wednesday started with our daily drivers’ meeting and then a drive to the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Larry Way again worked some magic and we were treated to a tour of the restoration and preservation section of the museum. Not open to the public, this area is where the work is done to preserve and in some cases restore the museum-owned transportation vehicles. The term transportation in this case covers everything from locomotives to some of the earliest examples of two- and three-wheeled bicycles. It was an extremely interesting two hours that we spent behind the scenes at the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Thanks to everyone who helped make this special visit happen. After a brief lunch were made our way to the Canadian Aviation Museum. The equivalent to the United States Air and Space Museum, the Canadian counterpart houses some of the earliest examples of Canadian-manned flight, the bush planes that helped the earliest explorers and adventurers and covers the supersonic era in Canadian air history. Canada’s part in both World Wars and the men and women involved in those heroic efforts are duly honored in the museum. It was a very educational 90 minutes at the Canadian Aviation Museum.
Our next stop was at the Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa. Displays include some of the
On our way to the Canadian Classic Cars facilities we made a brief stop at the home of Lar
We visited the Canada Science and Technology Museum where we were invited to see the resto
It was a short drive to Canadian Classic Cars showroom in Curran, Ontario. They had organi
We now headed to the town of Rockland about 30 minutes from Ottawa. After checking in at our hotels we drove as a group to Larry Way’s home. Larry’s affiliation with the show car business for many years was evident by the many posters and plaques on the garage walls of his home. Larry gave us a brief history of his involvement in our hobby over the years and related some stories of the people and events that he has been associated with during the last three decades. We also got a chance to see his collection of vehicles.
After our brief stop at Larry’s it was a 20-minute drive to Canadian Classic Cars and a cruise that was being put on in our honor. Things were in full swing when we arrived with both participants and spectators filling the parking lot. There was a DJ playing vintage rock ’n’ roll and hot dogs and hamburgers were cooking on the grille. The showroom at Canadian Classic Cars was filled with some very impressive muscle cars and special interest vehicles. The walls were lined with die-cast cars, hot rod clothing, and NASCAR collectibles. We posed for a group photo and were joined by Canadian Classic Cars owners/brothers Gerry, Marc, and Paul Dube. It was a great ending to a fantastic day. We rolled back to the hotel by dark and we were exhausted but very happy for the privilege to be able to see such amazing things during our stay in the Ottawa area.
The large showroom at Canadian Classic Cars is always filled with collector and special in
On Thursday the time had come to get to Burlington and the NSRA Northeast Nationals Plus. At the morning drivers’ meeting I was presented with a framed picture of myself at the very first drivers’ meeting of the CanadianClassicCars.ca Tour the previous Monday morning. Everyone on the tour had signed the picture and it will go in a special spot on my office wall.
It was a short 30-minute drive to Cornwall where we planned to cross back into the United States. Everyone had their passport ready and after a few questions from the border agents we were again back on American soil. We had been welcomed in Canada and been shown incredible hospitality but as Dorothy once said to Toto: There’s no place like home.
Our drive to Burlington took us on U.S. 11 then south on U.S. 2. U.S. 2 is beautiful as the islands are joined by bridges along the various waterways. The sky was blue and the scenery was fantastic. We arrived at the event headquarters’ Sheraton Hotel by 3 p.m. It had been a short but very interesting and scenic day. Our timing was perfect as the heavy rains rolled into Burlington about 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
The highway from New York to Vermont takes you across the islands of northern Lake Champla
Friday at the Champlain Valley Exposition Center was a bit cold but the rain had stopped. The skies cleared by about 4 p.m. on Friday. Saturday was a beautiful day and the grounds were filled with both participants and spectators. A new NSRA Northeast Nationals Plus attendance record was set with over 1,660 registered vehicles.
We want to thank Steve Plunkett, the Motor City Car Club, all of the great guides and hosts during the week, Larry Way, and especially CanadianClassicCars.ca for making it all possible. When we posed for the group photo at the tent in Burlington on Friday everyone agreed that they would definitely travel on another road tour in the future.
For information on the 2011 AMSOIL/STREET RODDER Road Tour schedule watch the pages of STREET RODDER magazine, log onto our website (www.streetrodder.com), or call the Road Tour Hotline at (800) 664-1362 for all the latest details.
Upon arrival at the NSRA Northeast Nationals Plus all of the CanadianClassicCars.ca Road T