We like going to car shows as much as the other guy, but looking at a bunch of cars parked around a fairground, no matter how nice they are, gets pretty old. So when we were informed that Rod & Custom was once again hosting the Americruise (July 28-30) at the State Fair Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, we got together and argued the case that we needed to do something a little more exciting. To our amazement, the suits listened. So, we'll be having a few driving events within the event that'll not only test the driver, but will also challenge his or her ride as well.
The first driving event will be an autocross course set up with cones in a parking lot. Each driver will be timed on each lap through the course and, not surprisingly, the fastest time wins. We're still not sure what you may win besides a trophy, but bragging rights come with it. This promises to be almost as much fun for the spectators as the drivers, as we're sure there will be plenty of tire smoke and wild action as the rods and customs are pushed to limits not normally encountered on a regular cruise night.
The opportunity to test your car's acceleration and braking will be available during the Go & Whoa contest. Your car's reaction time will also be important as you accelerate in a straight line (we hope) and brake just in time to stop your car within a preset area marked with two lines. The car and driver who can do this in the quickest time wins. We have a feeling this will turn into a contest to see who can smoke the tires right up until the time they have to slam on the brakes to bring it to a halt--sounds like fun! Your car must have seatbelts, and if you have a roadster or convertible and want to participate in these two driving events, you will need to bring a helmet (you know how insurance companies get). Each car will go through a quick inspection to make sure it has stuff like working brakes and throttle-return springs.
In the coming years we're hoping to add some more participant activities to the Americruise and would like to hear your suggestions. Please send them to Kevin (email@example.com).
Rod and Custom of the Year Awards
As with any car show or event, handing out awards is expected. As part of our planning for the Americruise, we knew awards were going to have to be part of the deal, but we wanted to make sure they were going to be earned. We sat down and developed a plan to award two top honors at the event. R&C will be selecting a Rod of the Year (pre-1949) and a Custom of the Year (1949-1964). For the Custom class, it doesn't have to be a chopped Merc; we're looking for anything built to perform--doesn't matter if it's a '62 Impala with big brakes and 18- and 20-inch wheels or a '57 Buick with whitewalls.
Now before you start lamenting that these will just be awarded to another set of trailer queens, we took that into account and decided to put the contenders to the test.
Cars that want to participate will need to be at the Americruise on Friday by noon and will be parked in a specified area. The R&C staff will go around and select the Top Five in each class based on the following judged categories:
Exterior Design -- 100 points
Fit and Finish -- 100 points
Interior -- 100 points
Engine Compartment -- 100 points
Undercarriage -- 100 points
Once the Top Fives have been selected, this is where it'll start getting interesting. They will each be ran through a safety inspection and then on either Friday night or Saturday night these 10 cars will be required to participate in a cruise to somewhere in Lincoln. On Saturday they will make some timed runs through the road course, do a 0-40-mph acceleration test and 40-0-mph brake test. The best car in each event will be awarded 100 points and the rest will be awarded a percentage of points based on how close they were to the best time. The Reliability Test (cruise) will be pass or fail--if you make it, you get 100 points, if not, you get none.
Tour details are still being put together but here's what we have at the time this goes to print. The West Coast tour, sponsored by TCI Automotive, will be leaving from Westech Performance Group in Mira Loma, California, most likely Saturday, July 22. The East Coast tour, sponsored by Air Ride Technologies, will be leaving from Fatman Fabrications in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Sunday, July 23. Participants on the East Coast tour who want to get the party started a little sooner can show up at Fatman's on Saturday at 5 p.m. for a kickoff barbecue and shop tour. The routes and details for both tours should be wrapped up by the time this issue hits the newsstands, so check back here often (www.rodandcustommagazine.com) or call (877) 413-6515 for the latest info. Pre-registration is only $20 and includes a vehicle, a driver and co-pilot credentials, a goodie bag, and your chance to pick up great prizes!
If you don't have a car to cruise in over to Lincoln you might be able to find one to cruise back home in during the International Collector Auction on Saturday. If you can close the deal, you might be able to make the tour of the Smith Collection Museum at Speedway Motors. The museum houses several world-class collections, including the world's largest collection of antique racing engines, a huge car collection of antique, historic race and one-of-a-kind models, and the finest collection of antique pedal cars in the U.S.
We can't wait to see what these cars will do when put to the test and encourage anyone with a car they feel is worthy to show up and have some fun. We know we will.
Action & Adventure
The weekend promises to be filled with activities that will keep you entertained as well as test the limits of your hot rod or custom. Best of all, you can get involved for just $20, which gets you, your car, and a passenger through the gate (kids 15 and younger get in free).
Go & Whoa
Saturday evening at the Smith Collection Museum sponsored by Speedway Motors
Rod & Custom Magazine Rod of the Year Competition
Rod & Custom Magazine Custom of the Year Competition
Here's what the Americruise...
Here's what the Americruise will be all about--getting out and using your hot rod or custom and maybe smoking the tires in the process.
We got the inside scoop on...
We got the inside scoop on a '55 Chevy that Roy Brizio is putting together to make the trip out to Lincoln. The two-door post will rest on an Art Morrison chassis with Wilwood brakes and some custom one-off Billet Specialties wheels reminiscent of early '60s Corvette hubcaps. An Edelbrock dual-quad small-block Chevy backed by a Tremec five-speed will provide the muscle to get it there. Sounds like a combo that should take the performance testing for Custom of the Year quite well.
The Go & Whoa competition...
The Go & Whoa competition should provide some exciting action as the tires get smoked on both the go and the whoa.
Jim Shelton won our '05 Asphalt...
Jim Shelton won our '05 Asphalt Ego-Rama, but would his Deuce have what it takes to take home the Rod of the Year? How well will a straight-axle and bias-plies handle an autocross?
Getting together with some...
Getting together with some friends in the chow line for some good food is all part of a good road trip.
The weather doesn't matter...
The weather doesn't matter if you're having fun.
East Coast tour sponsor Air...
East Coast tour sponsor Air Ride Technologies will be driving a few of their hot rod mules in from North Carolina and running them through the autocross to dispel any notion that air bag-equipped cars can't handle.
Getting a behind-the-scenes...
Getting a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the shops and businesses you read about so often might just have some surprises. You may spot some vintage tin or get schooled on how some of the best products we use are manufactured.