Just in case you haven't already heard, our sister magazine Rod & Custom will be heading back to the Nebraska State Fair Park in Lincoln, Nebraska, the weekend of June 29 to July 1 for the 2007 Americruise.
During the event, they'll once again have driving activities that'll keep you entertained. The first driving event will be an autocross course set up with cones in the parking lot. Each driver will be timed on each lap through the course, and not surprisingly, the fastest time wins bragging rights and a trophy. If it's anything like last year, it'll be as much fun for the spectators as the drivers, as we're sure there will be plenty of tire smoke and wild action.
The opportunity to test your truck's acceleration and braking will be available during the Go & Whoa contest. Your reaction time will be important as you accelerate in a straight line (we hope) and brake just in time to stop within a preset area marked with two lines. The car and driver who can do this in the quickest time wins. Smoking the tires right up until you slam on the brakes is optional, but it will bring the most response from the crowd.
If participating in these two events sounds like something you need to do, your truck must have seatbelts and go through a quick inspection to make sure it has stuff like working brakes and throttle return springs. If you have a roadster, you'll need to bring a helmet (you know how insurance companies get).
As for the tours driving to the event, we're trying to get four legs heading toward Lincoln, which will start sometime around June 23, depending on the distance needed to travel. Details are still coming together, so check back here to get the latest information. As of right now, we have Painless Performance Products signed on to lead a tour out of Fort Worth, Texas. We're still planning the route, but the start date looks to be Wednesday, June 27.
The West Coast tour has been getting some discussion around the office, but nothing is nailed down just yet, though some of the staff will most likely be leaving from Southern California and possibly heading north to take a different route than last year. And an East Coast tour is being kicked around, so don't feel left out just yet.
When R&C decided to hand out a Rod of the Year and Custom of the Year award at last year's event, they knew they wanted the winners to earn it. The two winners last year did just that. Jim Karls and his '32 Ford roadster and Gary Kuck and his '60 Corvette weren't afraid to push their rides through the performance tests, as the final results showed. The Rod & Custom Rod of the Year is open to pre-'49 vehicles, and the Rod & Custom Custom of the Year is open to cars manufactured from '49-64. For the Custom class, a '62 Bonneville with an injected LS1 is as equally welcome as a '51 Merc with whitewalls; we're looking for anything built to perform. When we saw the success R&C had with these awards, we knew we wanted in, so this year, along with our sister publication Classic Trucks, we'll be handing out a Truck of the Year (early-pre-'49) and Truck of the Year (late-'49-72) award.
Entrants who 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, Classic Trucks, and Custom Classic Trucks staffs will select the Top Five in each of their respective classes based on the following judged categories:
Exterior DesignFit and FinishInteriorEngine CompartmentUndercarriage
Once the Top Fives have been selected, it'll start getting interesting. They will each be run through a safety inspection, then they will make some timed runs through the autocross course, do a 0-40 mph acceleration test, and a 40-0 mph brake test on Saturday. 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. On Saturday night, these 10 cars will be required to participate in a cruise (Reliability Test) to somewhere in Lincoln. The cruise will be pass or fail-if you make it, you get 100 points, if not, you get none.
The best part is, all this is just 20 bucks. That's right, pre-registration is only $20 and includes a vehicle, driver, and co-pilot credentials (kids 15 and younger get in free), a goodie bag, and your chance to take part in any of the activities listed.
Stay tuned to Rod & Custom and their Web site (www.rodandcustommagazine.com) for more details as they become available. We're looking forward to another great cruise across the country. Hope you can come along!
Gotta Love FactoidsEvery year, Hagerty, the leading insurance agency for collector vehicles and boats in the nation, asks more than 100,000 of its members for their opinions on everything from what types of autos they collect to why they collect them. The Hagerty Hobby Survey helps gauge industry trends, checks the pulse of the collector car market, and tracks hobbyist behaviors. Results of the most recent survey have been tabulated, and once again, there are a few surprises.
Ford Versus Chevy-The Re-MatchThe votes are in, and Chevrolet (32.6 percent) beats Ford (19.6 percent) as the most popular make with the collectors surveyed. Pontiac runs a distant third at 6.1 percent. It's not surprising, then, that the Chevy Corvette is still respondents' #1 dream car.
Garage Quality TimeNearly one-quarter of the respondents (23.4 percent) spend quality time in their garage-even when they are not actively working on their cars. More than half of those surveyed (53.9 percent) maintain they work on their own collector cars for the enjoyment of it and to experience "hands-on" fun and satisfaction.
Truck Love On The RiseMore people surveyed this year own tricked-out, pumped-up collector and antique trucks than ever, with 10.3 percent of respondents admitting to joining the truckin' brigade.
Childhood Matchbox Collection Causes Adult ObsessionNot surprisingly, the top reason cited for getting into the collector car hobby was a history of growing up loving cars! What exactly do you love about them now? Driving older and unique cars (26.3 percent), followed by "nostalgia" (23.5 percent) and "owning something unique" (21.8 percent) were the top loves.
Estate Planning 101Hobbyists overwhelmingly reported (82.6 percent) that they will bequeath their collector car to someone as part of their estate settlement instead of selling them or requesting they are sold. Vintage tractor owners are the most likely to leave their ride to a family member, while lowrider/tuner car owners are the least likely to do so.
Shows Soar While Club Membership WanesAttendance at local car shows is up, with 81.3 percent of respondents attending at least one show venue in the last 12 months, and 49.7 percent indicating they participated in a local cruise. Interestingly, 49.6 percent of respondents do not belong to a car club, and of those who do, the greatest percentage (31.6 percent) belong to a national club.
The 700 ClubBased on survey responses, hobbyists claim to spend an average of $780 annually attending car shows. And with most folks sticking close to home attending local shows, that's a pretty penny.
A Family AffairAn overwhelming 77.5 percent of respondents believe that family relationships are at least "somewhat important" to the perpetuation of the collector car hobby, and most cite "family" as the primary reason for their introduction to the hobby. Currently, more than 60 percent of respondents have a family member in the hobby.
Cool It!The next collectible phenomenon for insatiable NASCAR fans is fixin' to roll, literally, onto the racing scene. RaceCoolers, giant beverage coolers made from official used NASCAR tires, will begin manufacturing in February, according to Robert McConkey, president of The RaceCooler Company. Each insulated cooler is designed to hold 78 longneck bottles or 144 cans together with 40 pounds of ice. The only product authorized to be manufactured from actual tires used on the NASCAR circuit, these one-of-a-kind beverage coolers are sure to become a highly sought after item in every NASCAR fan's tailgating and collectable repertoire.
RaceCoolers are manufactured by inserting an injection-molded liner inside an actual used tire from NASCAR Nextel Cup, Craftsman Truck, and Busch series races. Add to that an aluminum-rimmed base, drain plug, and two heavy-duty rubber padded metal handles and you have a beverage cooler that is both highly functional and totally individual. "The result is a totally unique item since each tire shows its own individual wear patterns and pit crew markings," explains inventor Kevin Bruns. "No two RaceCoolers are alike."
Many of the tires still have the original grease pencil markings from where the pit crew identified the proper tire position, the pit stop on which it was changed, or any other information important to the crew. Some tires even show the actual car number on which it was used.
Mr. Bruns takes the authenticity of his product very seriously. To prevent other manufacturers from creating knock-offs, each RaceCooler comes with a certificate of authenticity listing the tire, its general condition, and the exact markings that were present when it arrived at the plant. "This acts as a safeguard against false modifications to tire markings once they leave the plant," explains Bruns. After two years of development, The RaceCooler Company holds the exclusive product design and use patents on the product.
Because only official race tires that have been run in one of the three circuits are used to create RaceCoolers, the total quantity available will depend entirely on the number of tires generated during the races in each season. According to Richard Whitescarver, vice president of sales for RaceCooler, current estimates for a year's supply are less than 80,000. Once all the official race tires have been converted to RaceCoolers, production will cease for the remainder of the year. For more information, to order a RaceCooler, or to apply to become a local market sales representative, go to www.racecoolers.com.