By now you’ve read the stories of most, if not all, of the eight legs that comprised the 2010 AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour. For many, the Road Tour is an annual traditionfor others, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The 2010 Dynamat Tour from Louisville to Bonneville was my first time traveling with Jerry Dixey and his Road Tourians, and I was eager to meet the people who make these trips so great. I got to know dozens of participants and hear their stories. What follows is a handful of those stories. You’ll find more on the streetrodder.com website. The only way to hear them all is to become a Road Tourian yourself, like these people did. Then you’ll have stories of your own to tell.
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
’34 Ford Sedan
John McGinniss has been a hot rodder since the ’50s and made his first trips to Bonneville in 1951 and 1955 (there were only two gas stations around back then, he told us). John has stories about meeting and hanging out with Erik Rickman, the famous Hot Rod
magazine photographer. After watching the movie, The World’s Fastest Indian
he knew he had to go back to the salt. There wasn’t a Road Tour participant having more fun than John. His ’34 sedan, which he’s owned for five years, was one of several Florida cars on this trip. After a while we started wondering if there were actually several clones of this car because every time we looked in the side mirror, there was that chopped yellow ’34, coming up and flying past us.
’56 Chevy Wagon
Ed Tesar knew it was the right time to make his first Street Rodder Road Tour and his second trip west of the Mississippi. He recently retired and had recently purchased the ’56. "Why not?" he decided. "I had the time and an empty credit card so let’s go!" Except for the addition of air conditioning, Ed hadn’t changed a thing after buying the wagon a year earlier. The old 350 small-block provided faithful power and the car was comfortable, handled well, and made a great long-distance cruiser. He and his new friends, the Barrows brothers with the Willys, ran together for most of the trip. He ended up staying in Bonneville for Speed Week and went back in September for the World of Speed. He especially enjoyed seeing friends in South Dakota, and visiting places he’d never been.
Jack and Gail Hiraishi
Pearl City, HI
’34 Ford Coupe
When Jack and Gail Hiraishi participated on Americruise in 1999, they figured it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip. "Then we did it twice, then three times. Now we’re having so much fun we keep coming back." They have joined several Americruises, Power Tours, and Road Tours in a variety of hot rods. They had 300 miles on the new engine in the ’34 before this trip. "It’s hard to drive a lot of miles in Hawaii," Jack reminds us. The most valuable lesson they’ve learned on all their trips, Gail says, is to expect the unexpected. "You learn not to let the little things bother you. If something breaks, you get it fixed and get on with it." "What always surprises me, Jack says, is that when I bring the mechanical things I’ll need for the car, nothing happens."
Carl Rocky Forsberg
’39 Ford Coupe
Rocky’s small-blockpowered coupe "Bottle Baby" is an original body on a custom-built frame. It was once a drag racer, and hasn’t lost much of its quarter-pounder personality. It gets driven just about every weekend "in the six months of driving time we have in Minnesota." This was his first Road Tour. "The timing was perfect to go to the Street Rod Nationals. I had never been there. Then I read about the tour and decided to hook up with that. I got to see my brother in Milwaukee, and my daughter in Salt Lake City. I arrived the day before my grandson’s 1st birthday. When we get out to the salt flats, I’ve got a buddy running a car out there. So, I’m covering a whole lot of bucket list items at one time."
Hank Langsenkamp and Lee Johnson
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
’36 Ford Phaeton
Our favorite phaeton was this dark green and black ’36 sitting on a TCI Engineering frame. The original body, chopped 2 inches, has had all wood removed. The car is powered by a Ford Motorsport-injected 351W engine. The Cadillac seats are covered with leather upholstery. It’s a beautiful car and has won First-In-Class awards at the Grand National Roadster Show, the Portland Roadster Show, the Sacramento Autorama, and elsewhere. Despite those credentials, Hank Langsenkamp’s ’36 has never looked more at home than out there on the Bonneville salt. Rhett Roy got this photo as Hank and copilot Lee Johnson cruised by. Hank has owned the phaeton for approximately 20 years and, after reading so many Street Rodder articles about the Road Tour, decided to make the trip in 2010 as an 80th birthday present to himself.
Ray and Johnny Barrows
’41 Willys Coupe
"Despite the Pro Street look, this car was built to be a driver," Ray Barrows says, who has been driving this Willys since it was finished in 2006. The car is equipped with A/C, power rack steering, and air suspension. Hot rodding is a fulfillment of a passion Ray’s had since he was a kid building model cars. Getting out there and visiting historic sights around the country, seeing various custom shops, and talking to people about cars are the reasons he participates on Road Tours. He and his brother, Johnny, always wanted to make the trip to Bonneville and this trip fit the bill. By the time they got to Utah, they were 2,500 miles from Florida. That’s a long ride home, but Ray says he enjoys it. Every time I can do this, I will, he promises.
’32 Ford Roadster
It’s hard to find a more iconic hot rod than a black flamed ’32 Ford highboy roadster, especially when it’s blasting down an open stretch of road. When we asked Dewey Cassler about his ride, the first words out of his mouth were, "This is the car I’ve always wanted!" Since buying it off the Internet five years ago, Dewey has managed to add about 7,000 miles a year. That average probably went up in 2010 after the run from Pittsburgh to the Road Tour and back. Dewey is another return Road Tourian who had enough fun in 2009 to compel him to do it all over again. After the tour, Dewey continued onto Los Angeles before turning around and heading to Pennsylvania. Back home, the car is his daily driver during the summer months.
Bryan Hamilton and Sam Cheal
Bowling Green, KY
’65 Ford Station Wagon
While taking a break between high school and college, Sam Cheal decided to travel from Australia to the United States to visit his brother, Bryan Hamilton. Both of them are gearheads. Bryan has owned a variety of hot rods and muscle cars over the years and has been driving the Ford wagon for two years. The size of the car made it perfect Road Tour transportation (and occasionally lodging). Their goal for the tour was "to do as much as we can." At this point in the tour, they’d already gone for a swim in Lake Michigan and were eager to get to the salt. The Honda Rebel motorcycle they’d recently bought was for getting around in the pits; it only got a few strange looks from the bikers we passed in South Dakota who were heading to Sturgis for Bike Week.
Ray Astamendi and Nick Sfetku
’60 Pontiac Ventura
Ray Astamendi and Nick Sfetku are our neighbors in Southern California, but were eager to get to the Street Rod Nationals and then to Bonneville, so the trip from Burbank to Louisville and then home via the scenic route was far, but worth it. Hey, if the Florida guys can do it, then the California guys can too! This was the first Street Rodder Road Tour for Ray and Nick, and Ray’s gray 389 Poncho was the perfect ride. Ray found the car on eBay about five years ago and has kept it virtually bone stock. He has other cars at home for taking to car shows, but this one is his jump-in-and-go driver.
So where’s Nick? He’s driving the Street Rodder ’52 Chevy so yours truly could hang out the passenger window to take photos. We’ll Photoshop him in later.
Charles, Jerry, and Ray Doolin, and Bill Barney
Huber Heights, OH
’29 Ford Roadster
It’s not easy packing all three of the Doolin brothers, and their friend Bill Barney into this ’29 Ford highboy roadster, so they created their own mini-convoy for the Road Tour with two of the crew riding in the Winnebago chase vehicle and the other two in Charles’ Model A. Charles has owned the roadster since 1995. The LT1 engine under the hood was taken from a ’94 Camaro. The Road Tour was just a portion of a several-week cruise for the four of them. Their extensive itinerary included stops at Yellowstone National Park, the Black Hills, and the Speedway Motors Museum of American Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska. This trip is something they’d all talked about doing together for a long time. Now that they’ve accomplished their goal, they say they are looking forward to doing it again.
Bob West and Terry McDonald
St. Louis, MO
’65 Dodge Coronet 500 Convertible
The Dodge has been in Bob West’s wife Kathy’s family since her father bought it in 1966. It was her daily driver during her high school years and has since been restored with a 383 engine and 727 TorqueFlite transmission. In 2010, the car was Bob and Terry’s Road Tour ride. These two friends share a "toy barn" shop, where they build cars "to have fun with," which means going to shows and driving them all over. After reading about the 2009 Road Tour, they decided to check it out for themselves, and joined the 2010 Dynamat Tour "because a trip to Bonneville sounded like a cool thing to do." For these guys, part of the fun of hitting the road is "surviving many mishaps, any one of which could have stopped someone with more common sense."
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
’32 Ford Coupe
Rhett Roy was another one of the Sunshine State Street Rodders for whom the ride from the Street Rod Nationals and then onto the salt flats in Bonneville was just one portion of a much-longer round trip. When the Dynamat Tour was over, he still had most of the country to cross before getting homealthough that was just part of the adventure for him. The traditional-looking coupe, which Rhett has owned for 10 years, was built for trips like this. It’s a ’glass-bodied car with a steel repro hood, fenders, running boards, and grille shell. The coupe rides down the road on a ’70 Jaguar suspension, and the light gray suede paint, Dayton spokes, and other elements give it a timeless look. There’s a ’70 Boss 302 under the hood that keeps it "Ford in a Ford."
Mel and Susan Vaughan
’62 Chevy Bel Air
Mel and Susan joined us on the Road Tour "to see the USA in our Chevrolet with other rodders like ourselves." Their original 409 bubbletop ’62 Chevy was hidden in storage, engineless, for 30 years before the Vaughans discovered it on eBay and became the second owners, in December 2006. The Chevy now runs a 502ci injected ’09 Chevy engine and Richmond five-speedand has been treated to all kinds of high-performance modifications as well as to some nice appearance upgrades, including that beautiful black and violet pearl paint and a pair of ’64 Impala bucket seats covered in leather with ostrich inserts. Susan told us, "When we got married, Mel stated, Stick with me, babe, and see the world.’ He’s keeping his promise. Now they’re having fun doing that with other rodders.
Richard and Maureen Wachter
’29 Dodge Pickup
They are veterans of previous Americruise and Tom’s Fun Run road trips and, in 2009, Richard and Maureen were participants on the Street Rodder Road Tour to Bonneville. They drove a different vehicle then, since this one wasn’t finished yet. They had such a good time that they came back for more fun with the Dodge pickup. When they bought the body for $400 two years ago, it was a coupe. Richard modified the rear to turn it into a pickup. The owner-built hauler was finished last spring, and was driven 2,500 miles before joining the 2010 Road Tour. The truck runs great, they told us, "and the air conditioning keeps us cool while going down the highway." Richard and Maureen say their favorite parts of the Road Tour are the shop tours and friendships they’ve made.
Ronald & Carol Hoffman
'37 Ford Sedan
"We've always had Model As," Ron told us. "This car was built for comfortable, long-distance travel." A lot of work went into turning this owner-built sedan into a show-worthy street fat-fendered sedan, but Ron says he built it "to drive the wheels off of it." In the 10 years since the frame-off rebuild was finished, it's been all over, including three Road Tours in 2010 alone. Now that Ron is semi-retired, they're enjoying doing things they didn't have time for in the past. "We figured life is too short-time to get busy living." One of the highlights for Ron and Carol is "getting behind the scenes and meeting people you always heard about, like eating hamburgers in Darryl Starbird's backyard or having lunch with Troy Trepanier or touring Comp Cams--things the ordinary guy does not usually get to do."
Bill & Jan Kuntz
'33 Ford Coupe
This jet-black '33 looks like a ton of fun barreling down the highway. Then again, what hot rod doesn't? Makes you wonder why everybody doesn't drive on the Road Tour like Bill and Jan did in 2010. We asked the first-timer Tourers why they made the trip. Their answer: "It looked like fun and we like to drive the hot rod," sums it up pretty well. Bill built the coupe from a Redneck body, sitting on an owner-built frame. A 350 small-block gets it down the road. The Kuntz's enjoy the ride from the comfort of Fiero seats, modified to fit the interior of the '33 and covered in eye-catching red vinyl. We're hoping they'll join us again for a leg or two of the 2011 Road Tour.
'31 Ford Roadster
Since he started building cars in back in 1968, R.J. has dreamed of building a roadster. That dream was finally fulfilled in 2006 when he finished work on this highboy. The project was pretty much built from scratch. R.J. started with nothing more than an original Model A cowl and a few original body parts. This was R.J.'s first Road Tour, but he's been all over the country, racking up thousands of miles with his yellow highboy, including a memorable 2006 trip with his then-teenage son in 2006, which took them from Michigan to San Francisco, then south along the Pacific coast, across Route 66 to Nashville, and back home. This time he's riding solo, except for all of his fellow Tourers, of course.
Peter & Toni Satherly
'32 Ford roadster
The Satherlys are New Zealanders living in Australia, where they own a few musclecars, trucks, a hot rods, but don't have many places to take them. They decided they were "sick of reading about these trips and decided it was time to 'do'". The plan was to fly to Louisville and buy a hot rod. Instead they heard about builder Chad Adams through the internet and had this '32 roadster built. They already had their airline tickets, so they flew to Louisviille, rented a car, drove to Adams Hot Rods in Georgia, and got back to Louisville in time for the Tour. After Bonneville, they continued on to Las Vegas, then Southern California, then Pleasanton. A few days into the trip to Bonneville, we asked them what they were enjoying most about their first Road Tour. Peter said, "Ask again in a week, but I guess at the moment its living the dream."
Ron & Connie Farmer
'47 Ford Coupe
These are some hardcore cruisers here. Ron is a retired high school auto tech instructor and Connie is a retired executive secretary, and only Jerry Dixey himself covers more Road Tour miles than these two East Coast Road Tour veterans.They have been into cars their entire married life, and bought the Ford 302-powered '47 at the Charlotte Auto Fair in 1994. They've covered more than 200,000 miles "seeing the coutrny" in this coupe, their '29 highboy and previous rods. The Road Tour gives them a chance "to mmet up with old friends from previous tours and meet new friends, and to see places and do the activities that Jerry arranges. We have never been disappointed with any of Jerry's Tours."