Street Rodder Magazine, January, 2005.
BY JERRY DIXEY
There is no rest on the Road Tour and June was a good example of how we try to keep the roadster rolling down the road. In the beginning of the month I was just returning home from the NSRA Mid-America Nationals in Springfield, Missouri. It was then directly to York, Pennsylvania, and the huge Nationals East. I wanted to catch a day or two of the Power Tour and Americruise so it was off to Illinois. After one week at home, it was time to head out again. This time my destination was Pueblo, Colorado, and the NSRA Rocky Mountain Nationals.
From my home in Youngsrown, Ohio, my first day's trip took me south to Columbus and then west on I-70 through Indianapolis. As has been the case most of the spring, the skies started to cloud up about mid-morning. The rain started just east of Indy. No problem! I Was used to the drill. I pulled over and put on my "magic" foul-weather gear. It does keep me fairly dry, but the magic that occurs is after I spend the time to put it on, it usually stops raining. Seems to work every time and I was then in a great Midwest sauna. I am used to it by now. By late afternoon I was past St. Louis and spent Monday evening in St. Charles, Missouri.
Tuesday morning I was up with the sun and headed west across Missouri. Just east of Kansas City I traveled south about 25 miles to the town of Peculiar, Missouri, the home of Pete & Jake's Hot Rod Parts and the Super Bell Axle Company. Jerry and Jason Slover (with the help of family and a great crew) have built these companies into two of the most recognized and respected manufacturers in the street rod hobby. This year's roadster utilizes P&J's suspension in the front and rear and a Super Bell Alum-I-Beam drilled oval front axle. The folks at P&J and Super Bell were excited to get a firsthand look at the roadster. Their products have performed flawlessly all season. After a brief visit it was back on 1-70 for the long, flat run across Kansas to the town of Colby, almost to the Colorado border.
Wednesday morning in Colby, the weather was perfect with sunny blue skies. I was ahead of schedule. What a way to roll into Colorado: with a topless yellow roadster and the Rocky Mountains in the distance. The car was running great and life was good. I made a brief stop in Colorado Springs to visit the Garden of the Gods and rolled into Pueblo about suppertime. It was a perfect trip. This year's roadster is the real steel deal and it is a joy to drive.
It was a good weekend at the Rocky Mountain Nationals. The 1,994 registered street rods added to the beautiful Colorado scenery. Things were going fine until Sunday afternoon. About 1 p.m. the storm clouds started to gather. This guy had seen that sky before in Colorado, I knew what was going to happen. At 2:30 p.m. I put on my foul weather gear as the monsoon hit. This time the "magic" did not work. It rained harder. With everything from goggles to galoshes to protect me, I prepared to roll in the rain.
I looked over at the exhibit building across from the STREET RODDER tent and saw a bunch of people looking out at the storm. I walked across the road in the downpour, fully suited up, walked into the building and announced to the crowd, "Who wants my job now?" There were no takers. I headed out at 3 p.m. and the rain let up about the time I headed east at Colorado Springs. I drove until dark and landed in WaKeeney, Kansas.
Monday was a long day across Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois and then on to Indianapolis by dark. I stayed one mile from the Speedway and stopped for a quick photo at the museum on Tuesday morning. From Indy I headed due north to Elkhart, Indiana, the home of Wise Guys Seating. Jim Wise has been a street 'rod buddy of mine for years and his seat has made my life very comfortable all season. Jim invited me to have a look at their R&D department, which is located at his Jim Wise Hot Rod Parts Shop in Elkhart.
The building was filled with many products and projects in progress, After a tour and a behind-the-scene look at some of the seating items that are on the drawing board, I headed east on 1-80. I spent Tuesday evening in Toledo, Ohio, and dropped by the famous Tony Packo's for a hot dog. (Klinger made this restaurant famous on the M.A.S.H. TV series.)
Wednesday morning I was up and actually headed home. I did have two more stops to make in northern Ohio. PPG Industries is located west of Cleveland in Strongsville, Ohio, where I was greeted by Ann Donati (advertising and communications manager for PPG North America). The PPG Giallo Yellow paint has been the topic of discussion wherever I show the roadster. The basecoat is Deltron 2000 covered with 84902-SC Giallo (Lamborghini) Eros Yellow.
My second stop was in Berea, Ohio, also west of Cleveland. Flaming River Industries has been a part of past Road Tour cars and this year we are using its Vega-style steering box, steering column, banjo steering wheel, and all the components to keep me and the roadster headed in the right direction.
It was time to get home. I pulled into my driveway in Youngstown at about 4 p.m. on Wednesday. I had traveled 3,265 miles over an eight-day period. The Gen III small-block had used 212 gallons of gas to average 15.5 mpg. I spent $427 on gas at an average cost of $2 per gallon. Add all these numbers up, combine them with a trouble free trip and it adds up to a bunch of street rod fun.
There is actually a break in the Road Tour action for the month of July. Then it is back at it again with a trip to the NSRA Nationals in Louisville. It has been a great first half of the 2004 Road Tour season. Stay tuned and see how the rest of the season develops. SR.