After a long day on Monday the Eastwood Summer Classic Road Tourians were right back at it on Tuesday morning. It was about a one hour drive from New Bedford, Ma. to the beautiful town of Newport, Rhode Island. The weather was perfect to enjoy the town that is home to some of the most lavish early mansions in the United States. The Preservation Society of Newport County has undertaken the task of making sure that these estates from the Gilded Age of the early 1900’s are cared for so that future generations can get a glimpse into that important time in our history. Our destination for the morning was the Vanderbilt Family summer residence known as The Breakers.
The size and beauty of the home is hard to describe. It was built over a two year period at the end of the 1800’s for the wealthiest and most powerful family in America at the time. The quality and craftsmanship is impossible to describe without seeing it firsthand. With photograph not permitted inside I can only say it is definitely something to see for yourself. After our tour of The Breakers many folks found a restaurant on the water and enjoyed the beauty of the Newport Harbor on a perfect July day.
By noon it was time to head out on the two hour drive to Wallingford, Connecticut. We had plenty to see and do in Wallingford for the rest of the day. Our first stop was at Street Rod Steve’s Garage. Steve Van Blarcum has been a fixture in the New England hot rod community for decades. His position as a NSRA Safety Team member has kept him busy at street rod events for many years. Steve walked us through his collection of vehicles and filled us in on some of the history and background of the vehicles. Bitten by the Bonneville bug a number of years ago Steve holds a class record on the salt and is a member of the 200MPH Club. After our tour of Steve’s collection it was time to hear one run. There was no better choice than the LSR Roadster and it was pushed outside and fired up to the delight of everyone present.
From Street Rod Steve’s Garage it was a short drive to see Wintec Fabrications and Coolflex Motorsport. We were greeted by owner Jim Wilkos and were treated to a look at the many vehicles on display in both the showroom and shop. Jim has been in the industry for over twenty years and Wintec offers a T street rod kit that makes building a car both easy and affordable.
From Wintec it was a short drive to the Connecticut Street Rod Association club house. We were invited to be guests of honor at a party Tuesday evening. When we arrived we found over 100 rods that had gathered to greet us. The Connecticut Street Rod Association was formed in 1967. Numbering about 75 members they have without a doubt one of the coolest club houses in our hobby. With lots of work and effort the club purchased the building about 15 years ago and turned it into the perfect place for meetings and parties. We were treated to hot dogs, hamburgers and ice cream for dessert. The club members posed for a group picture after the meal and the Road Tourians gave them a round of applause in appreciation for the great evening with the Connecticut Street Rod Association.
Pottstown and the Eastwood Summer Classic is on the horizon but we still have a few more stops to make. Tomorrow we visit the Bethel, New York site of the most famous weekend concert in history. We are going to the hill were the Woodstock Music Festival took place 45 years ago. As someone who was in attendance way back then, it is always fun for me to return. Stay tuned.