It’s no secret that we love being on the road, and for the past month we’ve done just that. From East Coast car shows to Midwestern drag races and more, it’s been an especially jam-packed summer for the entire TRJ team. In addition to wrapping up issue #82, we’ve traveled to Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Illinois and plenty of places in between. With summer coming to a close, we figured now is the perfect time to share some highlights from our month on the move.

harry luzader 1932 ford five window coupe gasser
We’ve seen a whole lot in the past month, and watching Ron Marshall make a pass in his ’32 Ford five-window at the H.A.M.B. Drags in Missouri was a highlight. Ron built his Harry Luzader-inspired coupe in his home garage in Chandler, Texas.

Stop 1: Kentucky

The Street Rod Nationals bring out all sorts of vintage tin, and we gravitated towards this row of nicely finished ’32s. Sunny weather and warm temperatures made for a comfortable weekend in the Bluegrass State.

Every August, we make our annual trek to Louisville, Kentucky, for the NSRA Street Rod Nationals. Now in its 50th year, the show brought nearly 13,000 rods, customs and street machines to the Kentucky Expo Center for an unforgettable week of fun. The NSRA wasn’t the only one celebrating a milestone, either. August 2019 marks 25 years of The Rodder’s Journal, and there was no better place to celebrate than at the Nats.

Tim Masters of Western Springs, Illinois, nailed the ’60s competition look on his 1955 Chevy. It’s hard to beat deep black paint, polished mags and a hot injected smallblock. Note the brass radiator top and lack of straight axle.
Rich and Bev Stapf’s Deuce five-window was another fan favorite in Louisville. If the resplendent gold paint isn’t enough to catch your eye, there’s a 2×4-fed Buick nailhead underneath the hood.
We’ve long been fans of Model A “phone booth” pickups, and we were drawn to Alan Button’s Lake St. Louis, Missouri-based ’29. Satin black paint, red wires and healthy hot rod rake lend a classic appearance. Longtime TRJ readers may remember Alan’s chopped Deuce three-window from the cover of issue #27.

Stop 2: Missouri & Illinois

David Tanner’s “Outhouse Mouse” ’32 Chevy is a H.A.M.B. Drags staple. The supercharged smallblock-powered coupe is known for its bumper-dragging wheelstands and smoky burnouts—the latter which is shown here. David calls Nesho, Missouri, home.

The Midwest is a hotbed of hot rodding, and we jetted off to the Show Me State for a week of wrenching, exploring and racing. The trip started with some late nights in the Giacalone family garage in Illinois, and by early Friday we hit the road riding shotgun in Michael Starr’s ’39 Ford Tudor. With our sights set on the H.A.M.B. Drags in Asbury, Missouri, we motored across the state, stopping at Route 66 landmarks, unsuccessfully dodging rain, swinging by the Springfield swap meet and visiting George “The Bushmaster” Schreiber’s racing museum just outside of Joplin.

Twenty-two-year-old hot rodder Michael Starr took his ’39 Ford Standard on its maiden road trip to the H.A.M.B. Drags. Naturally, we made a handful of stops on Route 66, including the historic Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri.
Seeing that the Bushmaster joined forces with Ed Roth to campaign the “Yellow Fang” AA/FD in the ’60s, there were traces of Big Daddy all around the museum—including on Schrieber’s well-loved fridge. You’d be hard-pressed to find a cooler place to store your cold drinks than this.
Schreiber’s Rockin Race Place is filled with everything from hot rods to jet dragsters. We especially like his extensive T-shirt collection that dates back more than half a century.

The following day, stormy weather cut into the action at Mo-Kan Dragway but certainly didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. We spent the afternoon pressed against the guardrail photographing everything from Gassers and Altereds to supercharged slingshots in motion.  

No cacklin’ here. Missouri’s Jimmy Collins puts his blown smallblock-powered slingshot through its paces at Mo-Kan. Veteran fabricator Brian Fox is responsible for the nostalgic—but legal—chassis.
Just like the early days, numerous street-driven hot rods made passes. This ’40 Ford was one of the last cars to run before the rain halted all racing activity for the final time.

After the drags, we paid a visit to Bob Rothenberg. Bob is a longtime St. Louis hot rodder responsible for a string of award-winning machines ranging from a ’32 Ford three-window Gasser (TRJ #16) to an all-steel, big block Chevy-powered ’33 Willys (that we featured in our Facebook Live interview here). We’ll have more on our Missouri trip in an upcoming issue of TRJ.

Bob Rothenberg is a self-proclaimed Willys fanatic. Here’s his hot rodded ’33 next to his original Model 77 with 18,000 miles on the clock.
Bob’s garage is filled with the stuff we dream of. From a Deuce roadster and a Corvette Stingray to a four-cylinder Indian motorcycle and tons of vintage signage, he’s been collecting for years. Stay tuned for more in an upcoming issue.

Stop 3: Pennsylvania

ray bartlett roadster
Our good friend Ray Bartlett of the East Coast Hot Rod Garage was the head of TRJ Transportation at the Great American Nationals in his maroon Deuce roadster. The slammed, mag-wheeled ’51 Chevy pickup belongs to Ray Hoover.

As cars streaked down the track in Missouri, 2,000 rods and customs rolled into York, Pennsylvania, for the first ever Goodguys Great American Nationals. Despite cloudy skies, we were impressed with the quality and quantity of cars in attendance. We can’t wait for next year!

Jalopyrama founder Mike Szuba made the trip north from Maryland in his ’35 Chevy Suburban. Next to it sits Jim Worthington’s Deuce roadster, which drives home the ’50s look with its black paint paired with wide whites and red steelies.

Stop 4: California

Kookie Kar restored pebble beach
From the cover of Car Craft to Pebble Beach, the late Norm Grabowski’s “Kookie Kar” is impossible to miss. Roy Brizio Street Rods spent the past year restoring the T to its 1957 guise.

Back in California, hot rods took to the fairway at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Although the daylong show is best known for its breathtaking display of exotic and antique automobiles along the Pacific coast, this year’s Hot Rod Cover Car class drew plenty of attention. Out of the eight historic Fords, Ross Myers’ freshly restored “Kookie Kar” won best in class, while the Eddie Dye roadster netted second and Bruce Meyer’s “Nickel Roadster” placed third. Congratulations to everyone involved. —Joey Ukrop

Looking for more coverage? Make sure to check out our Instagram here and Facebook here. As always, use #roddersjournal to show us your road trip adventures.