I began my annual pilgrimage to the National Street Rod Association‘s 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals in Louisville by blasting off from Seattle’s Sea-Tac airport into the wild blue yonder.
After the plane landed in Kentucky, I stepped off that big bird onto a steaming hot gangplank. The swelter was worth it as it liberated me from the packed Boeing 737 and nuttiness of a modern-day Seattle.
The Bluegrass State, known for music, bourbon, baseball bats, the Kentucky Derby and Colonel Sanders himself, was ground zero of hot-rod cool last weekend for NSRA’s 50th Annual Street Rod Nationals. With more than 12,700 cars showing up, it was the place to be in the country for hot rod fans, and Rod Authority was on the ground.
To give you an idea of the enormity of the event, Rod Authority Editor Dave Cruikshank got up on the roof of the hosting Kentucky Exposition Center and brought back a bird’s eye view of the action. The spectacle was something else, folks. Hot rods, customs, muscle cars, and everything in between. The weather was warm, hovering around 90 degrees. The depth of talent here at the show — not just big builders and hotshots — but automotive Michelangelo’s toiling away outside the limelight, was incredible.
Saturday was the big day and we love to watch all the cars roll in, so we grabbed our gear and secured a nice vantage point and brought back the candy-coated sights and sonorous sounds of the vehicles loading in.
NSRA’s Streetkhana autocross event was in full force with skidpad warriors battling it out on the tarmac. Power Automedia Editorial Director Shawn Brereton took a hot lap with speed demon Ryan Buck in his hunkered down 1963 Nova running ultra-competent TCI suspension components. Buck is an incredible driver, and your author can attest to his skill as he took me on a couple of hot laps at last year’s NSRA Louisville. Afterward, I had to pre-treat my underwear I wore that day before tossing them into the wash.
With almost 13,000 cars, picking favorites was nearly impossible. There was a great turnout of really outstanding builds in the Builder’s Showcase and the Classic Instruments‘ “Pro’s Picks” as well. We spotlight many of our favorites in the gallery below, but the following five cars really whetted our whistle. So in no particular order and presented with no prejudice, here are Rod Authority’s fave five from Louisville this year.
Cimtex Rods 1957 Oldsmobile Fiesta Station Wagon
Ed Sear’s 1941 Ford Pickup Truck “The Gold Standard”
Garret’s Rod Shop’s 1968 Barracuda “Hemi S”
Jerry And Jan Kochan’s Bitchin’ 1962 Buick
“Kasper” The Nasty Duster From Goolsby Customs
That’s it for now, be sure and stay tuned to Rod Authority for more updates on NSRA‘s 2019 Louisville show and check out the gallery below. Thanks again to Jim Rowlett and the NSRA gang for an expertly executed 50th-anniversary party. See you next year!