Rod Authority’s 5 Faves From NSRA’s 50th Anniversary In Louisville

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

Cimtex Rods out of Texas brought this incredible 1957 Oldsmobile Fiesta Wagon and wowed the crowd. With two-tone paint borrowing hues from a rootbeer float, the car was expertly executed and killer under the lights of the main hall. If you dig late GM wagons, here is the template on how to bring one into the 21st century without mucking up Harley Earl’s masterwork styling. Absolutely sensational.

Ed Sear’s 1941 Ford Pickup Truck “The Gold Standard”

Having a media pass has many benefits, including close-in parking. You can imagine my surprise when I was ducking in the back entrance and bam!  Ed Sear’s golden, 1941 Ford Truck was lingering far away from the action. As I always say, some of the coolest cars are lurking on the edges and here’s proof of that theory.  It won at the show with a Classic Instruments  Pro’s Pick and other awards around the country. Ford-powered with umpteen body mods, this thing is smooth and creamy delicious.

Garret’s Rod Shop’s 1968 Barracuda “Hemi S”

Byron Spade brought his bitchin’ restomod 1968 Cuda to the Axalta Booth, a clever mashup of Mopar styling cues from different generations of Chrysler’s pony car. Built By Garret’s Rod Shop out of Columbus, Ohio, it sports a GEN III Hemi V8 and Tremec six-speed nestled in an Art Morrison Chassis and wrapped in a smoothed body with billboard graphics. The completely custom red interior was impeccable in cherry delicious red leather. If you loved Garret’s 1966 Charger they debuted last year, you’ll love this car.

Jerry And Jan Kochan’s Bitchin’ 1962 Buick

Jerry And Jan Kochan of Fergus, Ontario, brought their sleek and sexy 1962 Buick ragtop. I love full-size, early-'60s, Bill Mitchell sleds and this old 1962 Buick is one that is often overlooked by classic car buyers. That's a shame because from its faux hardtop to its double-barrel headlight treatment, I've always thought they were beautiful cars. This one was exceptionally nice. Presented in stock form but lowered with modern mags, the stance brought the car from frumpy to super sled. Add that the top goes down and what's not to like? How many are left?

“Kasper” The Nasty Duster From Goolsby Customs

Goolsby Customs of Hueytown, Alabama, brought Beth Hazelwood’s 1974 Duster with one helluva makeover. Sporting a mega-horsepower Hellcat crate motor sitting on a Roadster Shop chassis, it rolls on big gumball tires backed up by Baer Brakes. Look closely and see if you can spot all the body mods. We’ll give you a hint, the front wheels have been moved forward two inches and the rear wheels have been moved an inch to the back, adding a skosh of funny car flavor. The retro interior with original Mopar fabric was whimsical, yet as cool as it gets.

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!

Photo gallery

VIEW FULL GALLERY >

 

About the author

Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an Editor at Power Automedia. A zealous car geek since birth, he digs lead sleds, curvy fiberglass, kustoms and street rods. He currently owns a '95 Corvette, '76 Cadillac Seville, '99 LS1 Trans Am and big old Ford Van.
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