US Road Trip Epilog: 5th June 2005

Whilst looking through the free tourist literature available round town I'd seen reference to the Hot Rod Power Tour. Amazingly enough, it arrives here today. Springfield - already my adopted home town - is spoiling me, first with the music festival and now with this little treat. After a 45-minute walk from town I'm at the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Dodge Charger
Dodge Charger. This model, the one that predates the 'General Lee' version, is one of my favourite American cars of the 60's. Just look at those lines.

I did try to take a photo that showed the sheer scale of the show, but couldn't manage it. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of classics, customs and hot rods all on this week-long tour.

Mad Max-style Buick
Mad Max-style Buick. No sign of dog or booby-traps, but I'm not getting too close just in case.

It must be a logistical nightmare to organise but it looks like a lot of fun both for participants and spectators. And it's free to get in and look at the cars.

Lowered coupe
I have no idea what this is, but it is beautiful. I hope he never encounters a speed hump.

There's no way I can describe the sheer scale of the event, or the number and variety of cars present. It's all nicely democratic, as well, as cars are roughly grouped but basically just parked as they arrive.

Mildly-customised Corvair. Mildly-customised in the sense that the engine has been relocated from the back to the front of the car.

There were also a few Rivieras present. I figure you've already seen enough photos of Rivieras on this website to last a lifetime, so here's a brief summary:

I tried to time things so that I arrived at the show as the last of the cars arrived. What really impresses me about this event is that the cars actually seem to be driven between venues, not 'show pony' cars that arrive on trailers. I don't need to explain why that impresses me, do I?

A 60's dragster (sorry, no idea what model it is). It was just arriving and along with the extraordinary looks made an incredible amount of noise, jumped forward - in the queue to park - like a startled hare every time it moved, and smelled like it was running on something other than normal gas. The ground was shaking as it passed.

After hours of walking around in the summer sun it's time for me to return to my hotel. Later at night - unfortunately too late for a decent photo - the previously-empty car park around my car steadily fills with classics, with a lot of 60's ones around the Riviera. As a bloke I'm congenitally obliged to give all things mechanical a character, so I hope Loretta has a nice evening comparing notes with her peers. She certainly looks right at home.

US Road Trip Epilog: 6th June 2005 >