Louisville, Kentucky is like a breath of fresh air coming from Southern California.
Clean and green with blue skies, and hardly any traffic, Kentuckians seem less harried and less stressed out than their West Coast counterparts. Maybe it’s the sweltering humid heat? Whatever it is, they speak slow and soft and are quick with a friendly hello and a smile.
We visited this little southern hamlet while attending NSRA’s 49th Annual Street Rod Nationals, a mega hot rod show running here this weekend.
The event was held at the sprawling Kentucky Exposition Center, a huge complex surrounded by rolling green grounds, a stadium, and “The Kingdom” amusement park.
The show always attracts a big crowd (10,000 cars and 70,000 people estimated this year) and this southern hot rod hoedown is one of the most important shows of the year. There is something for everyone here with a swap meet, ￦omen’s Corner and thousands of American cars through 1987, with almost every make and model represented.
Entertainment for this year’s show featured Sawyer Brown and Endless Summer and somebody was the lucky winner of a bitchin’ 1932 Ford Vicky by Brockmeyer Designs and built by Waycool Customs out of Pittsfield, Illinois. The turnout for the announcing the winner was attended by an estimated 10,000 people at the Freedom Hall.
Rod Authority was on the ground in Kentucky and we brought you back some of our favorite cars and live videos.
Dig “WickCad,” a 1949 Cadillac owned by Bruce and Cheryl Conwell and built by Chris Carlson Hot Rods, out of Mulvane, Kansas. Sporting a myriad of subtle and (not so subtle tweaks,) including a 2.5 inch chop at the windshield and 5 inches at the rear. A 525hp/LS3 V8 power and Roadster Shop chassis are topped off with foot deep maroon paint. The entire front clip has been welded and smoothed and mixes ’55 Dagmar bumpers with 1947 grill jewelry. Stupendous.
Next up, we were really knocked out by this 1930 Ford Coupe built and owned by Bob “Rutter” Rutlidge. Rolling a 461ci big block Chevy with a big honkin’ Weiand blower, Sanderson Zoomies and one helluva gold metallic paint job by Austin Tedder. We dig the crazy forward raked, channeled body, glowing red interior and the wicked stance.
Moving along, we give you a VW Rod with a front-mounted V8 christened “Insane.” Built by Don “The Legend” Vollmer and Sprengels Innovative Kustoms, they essentially strip a VW Bug down to an exoskeleton and then drops it on a front engined, rear drive ’23 Ford chassis. Dr. Porsche must be rolling 0ver in his grave.
If cramming a V8 into this thing wasn’t enough, the engine’s force fed with twin-turbos as well. The merciless chop, meticulous build quality and perfect stance created quite a crowd pleaser at the show. This is a wild, crazy lowdown bomber Bug! We loved it.
We saw this speedster at the autocross cutting it up and it was badass. With a touch of steam punk mashed up with a skosh of Rat Rod, this bare metal, original design really caught our eye. It looked cool at speed tearing it up at NSRA’s “StreetKhana” as well.
Over at the Meguiar’s booth, a nice little 1940 Ford Convertible owned by Debbie Walls and built by Goolsby Customs caught our eye. A late Fifties-esque custom theme with 2-inch chop, ’46 Chevy bumpers, Classic Instruments gauges, and custom trim galore. A small block Chevy with Borla stacks provides the motivation. A very nice, sweet little Ford.
Check out “VDoce” a Lincoln V-12 flatty powered 1931 Ford Roadster built by Reisinger Customs for Pat and Melissa Reisinger. Whew, what a killer. A plain jane, tall boy, old school build dripping with big brother Lincoln bits. Super sanitary execution with a keen eye for period details. Of course, H&H Flatheads built the motor. Good stuff.
Lastly, be sure and check out this wild ride in Ryan Buck’s 1963 504hp Nova SS at the “StreetKhana“Autocross NSRA Style. Ryan is a tremendous talent and skillfully sliced up the course.
We wanted to say thanks to the NSRA gang that welcomed us warmly and really showed us a good time. Stay tuned to Rod Authority as we’ll lafollow up the show with more in-depth reporting on our favorite cars at the show. See you next year!
We’ll take you out with some more delicious eye candy: