Vintage Street Rodders of America
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Nov 17

Jim’s Corner

Debbie and I have been slowing down on car shows since we got back from the 2017 Vintage Rod tour to Boerne, Tx. It was a long trip and I am proud to say that we made the trip to Texas and back without any problems.

I would like to thank all the State Reps. who helped at Myrtle Beach in our absence while we were on the Tour. Rod Hackney, Wayne Buxton, Fred Countryman, Jimmy Ousley, Jerry Ousley, Johnny White, Johnson Davis and Dennis Grieve, we thank you.

VSRA Future

Debbie and I are wanting to retire so we can spend more time with our four grandchildren and would like to extend the invitation to anyone who would like to take over VSRA. When we started VSRA, eight years ago, there weren’t any grandchildren in the picture. This could be one individual or a group who would like to continue the shows. It’s time for some new leadership who could take over and help us grow. It was my intention in the first place to start VSRA and turn it over later to someone with some marketing skills. I still believe that VSRA has the potential to be a Nationally known club with the right leadership. Debbie and I would still attend and help with the shows. As of now, we are not planning any shows for the 2018 season. We are still planning on making the trip to Baton Rouge in February and a Vintage Rod Tour in Oct. to Quincy, Ill. If someone could step up now, we could get some shows in line for this season. This is a great opportunity for someone with marketing and leadership skills. Please contact me for the details.

2017 Vintage Rod Tour

For the second time in a row, we had to make some adjustments to our tour. Because of Hurricane Nate, we had to change our first two stops. Instead of going to Chattanooga, Tn. and Montgomery, Al. we chose to go to Nashville and Memphis Tn. If we had gone to Chattanooga, we were headed right into the path of the storm. By changing our route, we only had one rainy day which was on our way to Nashville on Sunday. Arriving in Nashville around 4:00, some of us chose to ride the hotel shuttle to Broadway and hang out and get some supper. It is always amazing to see what goes on down on the strip at night in Nashville.

The next day, we headed out early to Memphis. We drove the Briley Parkway for a while, then hit Highway 70S to Jackson, Tn. where we had a great lunch at Casey Jones restaurant. We continued on the Hwy 70 after lunch to get to Memphis. Everyone was sort of beat after driving all day and stayed around the hotel for supper.

We left Memphis early on Tuesday morning on Highway 61 headed to Monroe La. Kathy and Ronald Atkins stayed behind to have an axle bearing replaced at a shop in Memphis. They were delayed for around four hours getting the work done only because of a seal that they had forgotten to order. In hast to make up some time, I guess you could say, Ronald had the pedal to the metal. He was almost to Monroe when the Mounties pulled him over. We should have warned him because we saw some radar guns on Interstate 20 in Vicksburg. After giving the cop several reasons for his access speed, Ron said the cop kept looking at his 38 Ford and finally said “Ah just go on, but slow down”. We all went to Willie’s Duck Dinner for supper that night and had some good catfish.

Needing to get to Sachse, Tx before 4:00, we left Monroe at 7:00. We drove interstate 20. Mike and Arlene Smith went ahead of us and found on overpass where they waited for us. They took an awesome video of us passing under the bridge where they were parked. Another interesting event that day was when we stopped at a Bridgestone Tire store to wait on Jim Burkhalter and Linda, who had left at a different time, to catch up. I was leading and saw that this tire store had a large parking lot. As soon as we pulled in, most of the employees came out and started taking pictures. They loved seeing all the cars and said they appreciated us stopping. We met up with Jerome and Sherry Hale from Nacogdoches, Tx. at Bodacious BBQ in Kilgore, Tx. for lunch. We arrived at Sachse’s Rod Shop around 3:20 where Frank Millsap and his son, Mike gave us a very good tour of their shop. They have around nine employees and do some awesome custom work. Mike escorted us to our hotel in Wylie, Tx, just up the road, in his Mom’s 1932 Ford Roaster Pickup.

We left Wylie at 7:00 so we could get to Magnolia Farms in Waco at a decent time after we found out they were having their annual Silobration. This event at Magnolia Farms was so big that we had to park at a local stadium and ride a shuttle bus over to Magnolia Farms. All the women really enjoyed their visit and I guess you could say the men enjoyed their lunch because they had some awesome food vendors. We left Magnolia Farms at 1:00 so we could make it to Vintage Air in San Antonio for a tour at 5:00. We had a very interesting tour of Vintage Air and Jack, the owner, also gave us a tour of his garage where he has some very interesting toys, as in race cars and hot rods. Before we left Vintage Air on our way to the hotel, Bob Payne informed us that he had an axle bearing that was making a really bad noise. He had been hearing the noise for quite a few miles but it was getting much worse. We had from 15 to 20 more miles to get to the hotel. We stayed around 50 mph on the way to the hotel just in case he lost his axle. Well, we made it to the hotel and Bob and Darrell Mullins changed the bearing the next day in the parking lot at the hotel.

On Friday, several of us chose to do a bus tour in San Antonio. Thanks to Grace Phillips for organizing this Grand Tour in which the bus picked us up at the hotel at 8:30 AM and we returned at 7:00 PM. We had a great time touring the Alamo, several missions and took a boat ride through downtown San Antonio at the River Walk.

On Saturday we got to the show in Boerne which was about 15 miles away at 7:00 AM. Lanne Brehmer, the chairman of the show had reserved 15 spots for us to park in. We had a good day meeting all the locals who couldn’t believe that we had driven all those miles to come to their show in Texas. They actually had 300 Pre-49 cars.

On Sunday morning we had a light drizzly rain that did not last very long. We had an old time singing church service under a large tent. After the church service, Lanne started the awards ceremony. The top 10 cars parked around the gazebo in the park. We were lucky enough to get in the top 10 with the Humpback along with Mike & Arlene Smith and their yellow 41 Chevy COE. Tom Georgian won the Long Distance Award for driving around 2100 miles. After the show, about six couples decided to head to Nacogdoches, Tx., which is on our way home, where members Jerome and Sherry Hale lives. We left Boerne around 1:00 and we had around 300 miles to go on mostly two lane roads through small towns.

We were actually on two lane roads that had a speed limit of 75 mph! Needless to say it was after dark when we got to Nacogdoches. We had supper at Jerome and Sherry’s favorite restaurant where we rode Jerome for his lack of leading skills which left some of us thinking, where did they go!! I think Jerome broke the 75 mph limit, but who knows, his speedometer doesn’t work. LOL Sherry and Jerome invited us over to their house for breakfast the next morning where we had an old timey country breakfast with some of the best cat head biscuits that I have ever had. This beat the heck out of the continental breakfast in the hotel. After breakfast, Jerome gave us a tour of his chicken houses, sand blasting business and his bait shop. What a great way to end our tour by visiting in the home of Sherry and Jerome. Thanks guys!

We have posted several pictures on the website of the tour. So check them out. We all had a great time and most of all it was a virtually trouble free trip. Thanks to everyone who participated. Below is a picture and a list of all the participants who left with us from Nashville, Tn. And their mileage.

Ronald and Cathy Atkins Corryton, Tn. 1938 Ford 2,400 miles Roger and Grace Phillips Luttrell, Tn. 1934 Ford 2,400 miles Darrell and Debbie Mullins Clendenin, WV 1934 Ford Truck 3,041 miles Bob and Sandra Payne Elkview, WV 1934 Ford Truck 3,016 miles Mike and Arlene Smith Rutherfordton, NC 1941 Chevy COE 2,873 miles Jim and Linda Wooton Richmond, Ky. 1947 Mercury 3,173 miles Paul and Jeanne Marcotte Momence, Ill. 1940 Ford Conv. 3,028 miles Tom Georgian Cleveland, Ohio 1928 Ford Roadster 3,100 miles Jim and Debbie Bledsoe Kingsport, Tn. 1934 Dodge Panel Truck 2,788 miles

The following participants joined us along the tour.

Jim Burkhalter and Linda Baton Rouge, La. 1936 Ford Jerome and Sherry Hale Nacogdoches, Tx. 1931 Ford Keith and Joann Batman St. Albans, WV 1932 Chevy Charles and Marie Ray Baton Rouge, La. 1938 Pontiac Jim and Sheila Whipp Vero, Beach, Fl. 1941 Chevy

Below are some interesting facts about this year’s tour.

Mike and Arlene Smith drove their 1941 COE from Boerne, Tx. to Rutherfordton, NC, 1283 miles in 19 hours and 23 min. stopping only three times for gas and snacks. The way I figure it, that’s around an average of 66 mph. That’s very hard to do, especially with my bladder!! I get around 120 mpbs. Figure that one out. LOL

I ran an average of all the gas I used in the Panel Truck. I used 190 gallons and averaged almost 15 mpg.


Rod Ramblings

It’s November and the dawn of winter is upon us. The car show season is, for all intents and purposes, over for another year.

Time to pull the street rod into the garage and start those upgrades, repairs and improvements we’ve been pondering since last winter. For me it has involved some major alterations that actually began during the summer. But what started as a motor swap for my ’35 Plymouth coupe, replacing the old 360 c.i. Dodge and repainting the firewall, has evolved into a major overhaul of the entire undercarriage.

Painter Gary McIntosh and his son, Ethan, of G&M Auto Body in Greensboro, NC, found a host of problems with the car that needed to be addressed after 20 years on the road and over 48,000 miles of highway grime, wear-and-tear. With the front end off, they found rust bubbles in the paint on the lower front corners of the cab. Moving on they completely stripped and repainted the frame, put all the front lights wiring in a new harness, replaced all the brake rotors and pads, ran all new braided steel brake lines, repainted the gas tank and under the fenders with Rhino liner, replaced the rear shocks, blasted and repainted the rear end…..the list goes on. But you get the idea. And I’ll get the bills!

Two-and-a-half months later the ’35 is still in the body shop with a promise of late-November delivery. Meanwhile the new motor sits ready and awaiting installation. It’s a completely rebuilt, early 70’s, 340 c.i. Mopar. The engine has been bored 40-over with lots of new lightweight aluminum parts. One of the improvements I’m most excited about is replacement of the four-barrel carb with a new “FITech” fuel injection conversion kit. It should increase the power (and some say the dependability), while at the same time improving gas mileage. We’ll see if I ever get it in the car.

So for this month’s discussion topic: Do any of you have experience with the carburetor to EFI conversion kits? Good, bad or indifferent, pass them along to me and I’ll share them in next month’s column. My email is and cell phone is 336-953-2983. This is your newsletter, so make a contribution.

Finally, a quick review of one of the season’s last car shows. I had the pleasure of helping with the VSRA booth at the “2017 Cruisin’ the Beach” show held October 12-14 at the “Broadway on the Beach” retail and entertainment center in Myrtle Beach, SC. It was a great show put on by “Surfboard Promotions” with nearly 400 cars in the open show and another 250 in a separate show for all years of Camaros, Firebirds and Corvettes. Thanks to the seven other VSRA State Reps who also attended to sell memberships and select five cars for awards in the pre-49 category. They included: Jimmy Ousley (GA), Johnny White (GA), Jerry Ousley (LA), Johnson Davis (NC), Dennis Grieve (NC), Fred Countryman (SC) and Wayne “Buckaroo” Buxton (SC). It was as much fun swapping stories and good-natured jabs with the guys as it was to see all the cars. A great opportunity to get to know the other reps and proof to me that we have some true gentlemen street rodders in VSRA leadership roles.

Til next time, get on those winter repairs. See ya’ at a car show. Rod’s car in refurbishing stage.

Wayne Buxton

I, Jim, asked Wayne Buxton, our retiring Southeastern Director, to submit a story on his life and career. I think you’ll find this very interesting reading. Thanks Wayne for all you did for VSRA. What do Nuclear Submarines, Nuclear Plants and Nuclear Facilities all have in common? Wayne "Buckarooo" Buxton, the retired VSRA Southeastern Director, spent over 50 years testing, and operating nuclear reactors all over the USA. On top of that he also found time to have a Drag Racing career and has played with Street Rods in his spare time. After serving in the Nuclear US Submarine Navy in the late 50's, and attending college in the early 60's, I started my civilian career at General Dynamic (Electric Boat Div,) in Groton, CT. For the next 20 years I tested nuclear submarines at shipyards in Ct. Ms, and Va. and managed to maintain a Drag Racing career also. In my spare time, I raced a 55 Chevy D/Gas. on my own dime $$; raced a dealer sponsored (Thompson Pontiac) 1964 B/S GTO ; raced a Factory sponsored (Boch Dodge) 1967 SS/BA Hemi Dodge Coronet. in New England and partnered on a Jr. Stock R/SA 60 Chevy and a 57 Chevy Nomad in Mississippi. All this while raising a son and daughter.

After the working the shipyards all those years, , I worked in testing the nuclear startups of St Lucie II in Florida, River Bend Nuclear Station in Louisiana, Callaway Nuclear Station in Missouri and Vogtle Unit 1 i Georgia. I moved back to Georgia and South Carolina to work for Westinghouse and retired from Bechtel in 2005. During this time I founded a couple of car Clubs that are still in existence: the CSRA Road Angels in Augusta, Ga. and Aiken Horsepower in Aiken. SC. Also while working in Ga. and SC. I joined the Good-guy's Rod and Custom Assoc. and became a Rodders Rep. from Ga, and then South Carolina for the last 25 years.

I have driven and maintained many Street Rods in the last 25 Years in the Southeastern part of the USA, which have included a 74 Chevy El Camino, 57 Chevy Belair H/T. 87 Chevy El Camino, 40 Ford Coupe, 31 Ford Roadster and last but not least my blue 39 Chevy "Road Warrior. It certainly was a long and winding road that led me to discover Jim Bledsoe and the Vintage Street Rodders of America. After attending my first show in Gary. TN, I was hooked and continued to attend VSRA events. I liked the concept of pre-49 street rods, but realized that it limited our growth potential. With Jim's guidance, I became a SC State Rep. and then the SouthEastern Director of VSRA. I have served proudly and hope I have helped in a small way to grow the membership! I have stepped down and please support Rod Hackney who is my relief. I feel certain that Rod will do a great job for VSRA in the future.

In November, I will turn 78 and it is time to slow it down a bit! You think? Hope to see many of the friends I have made down the long winding road! My health is going down hill and I need all my energies to fight the good fight against the Big C! Hope to see ya'll this summer?

2018 Events

February 21-25th Road trip to Baton Rouge, La. to the 40th Annual R.O.D.S. Run
October 16th-20th 2018 Vintage Rod Tour Quincy, Illinois Fall Color Run

We still hope to do these two events even if nobody steps up to take over the club.

As most of you know, we do not have a December newsletter, so we’ll see you again in January and hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving and Christmas and Happy New Year.

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