Vintage Street Rodders of America
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Oct 17 Newsletter

Jim’s Corner

I’ve been really busy for the past few weeks checking out the Panel Truck to make sure it is road worthy for our 2017 Vintage Rod Tour.  My mustang II steering rack had a seal that was leaking so I replaced the rack.  From day one my front coil over springs have seemed a little on the weak side.  I talked with Brent at Fatman Fabrications and he finally agreed with me that my springs were too weak when I told him the spring rate that was marked on my springs.  Brent brought the heavier springs to Pigeon Forge for me.  Changing these springs wasn’t too bad of a job after borrowing a set of outside spring compressors from my buddy.  I can tell a difference in the front end because it is stiffer when I hit a dip in the road.  After both springs were installed, I had the front end lined up again.  It drives better than it ever has.  My other concern was that my mileage had gone from around 15 mpg to 10 mpg.  I took my 650 Holley to a local mechanic who went through the carburetor and said that he could not find anything wrong with it.  He advised me to order one of the Summitt carburetors and throw the Holley away.  A lot of our local street rodders have installed Summitt carburetors and really like their performance.  I haven’t got to really see if it’s going to do any better, with the short trips around home, but it seems to be doing some better on gas.   I also have cleaned and repacked the front wheel bearings with Amsoil grease.  But as most of you know you can do everything you can think of and still have a problem with an electrical part or something breaking.   We do all we can and hope for the best.  The round trip for Deb and I is around 2400 miles.  We are looking forward to it and hope we all have a safe and trouble free trip.    

My apologies to Jimmy Ousley who won the Featured Car in Maggie Valley.  In last Month’s Newsletter I called his 1937 Dodge Sedan Delivery a 1934.  Guess I’ve just got 1934 Dodge on the brain.  Sorry Jimmy! 

Rod Ramblings

 As he announced in this space last month, Wayne “Buckarooo” Buxton has relinquished his post as VSRA Southeastern Division Director due to health problems.

On behalf of all the VSRA State Representatives and members, our sincere “thanks” to Wayne for the fantastic job he has done serving our organization and the street rodding hobby. This, despite his ongoing battle with, as he phrased it, “the big C.” You are a gentleman and a real trooper “Buck,” as well as a model for street rodders everywhere.

That being said I was truly surprised and deeply honored when Buck and Jim Bledsoe asked me to fill VSRA’s Southeastern Director’s post. I hope I can do half as well as my predecessor whose shoes will be tough to fill. But I pledge to try my best.

So for my first Newsletter column I felt an introduction to the membership was in order. An “official howdy” if you will. So here we go.

I am a 66-year-old native of North Carolina and grew up in Chatham County about 10 miles from the geographic center of the state. I graduated from Chatham Central High School and UNC-Chapel Hill with a BA in Journalism. I spent 10 years as a reporter and copy editor with the “The News & Record” newspaper in Greensboro, NC, before joining the staff of the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro as Public Relations Manager (No, really. When I said, “My office is a zoo!” I was dead serious).   

After more than 28 years at the world’s largest natural habitat zoo in a job I absolutely loved, I retired three years ago this month. I am married to my wonderful wife of 45 years, Jan. We have two grown sons, five grandchildren (that I know of) and most recently two great-grandkids. OK so much for the life history.

I’ve had a love affair with old cars—especially those from the 30’s and 40’s—since I was an eight-year-old building plastic models in my bedroom. I always dreamed of owning a street rod but couldn’t get serious until the boys were leaving the nest. In 1992 two members of the local Chatham Street Rod Association approached me with the idea of holding a car show at the zoo. I joined the club and the following year we held the first “Street Rod Safari.” I began going to other shows with my new-found friends and in 1996 I bought a 1935 Plymouth coupe. Over the next 7 years we rebuilt the Plymouth into a respectable ride and I began driving it to shows up and down the East Coast—from York, PA to Daytona Beach and as far west as Louisville, KY. After 11 years, during which it rained on the show nine times (seriously), the Street Rod Safari was discontinued due to a combination of fighting the weather and the loss of several of the hardest working club members.

But I continued to attend many other shows and about 15 years ago was introduced by mutual rodder friends to the late Sam Bristow. Sam was a true street rodder, an expert mechanic and one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. He was always there with a helping hand, a wrench and a joke. Over the years we became close friends. Unfortunately we lost him last February. But it was Sam who convinced me to join VSRA three years ago and who came up with the idea of reprising the Street Rod Safari under the VSRA banner. We held the first rejuvenated version of the zoo show last June in Sam’s honor. It was a small but fitting tribute. All who knew Sam miss him greatly.

Shortly after Sam’s passing, Jim asked if I would fill his post as one of VSRA’s North Carolina reps. Now, just a few months later, Buck has also passed the baton to me. Again, I am honored to accept the challenge. I hope in future columns we will not only fill you in on upcoming shows and cruises (we’re already working on next year’s “Safari”), but to also discuss trends, challenges and developments in the street rodding hobby. If you have ideas, suggestions, build problems or other topics you want to discuss send them to me at As I used to tell reporters: “Ask me any question about the zoo you want. If I don’t know the answer I’ll make it up and you won’t know the difference.”

No, seriously, I’ll try to find the right answers by calling on others in VSRA, friends or other experts who have a lot more mechanical knowledge than I.  And since I’ll try to broach a range of topics here and prefer not to be painted into a “Corner,” I’ve asked Jim to dub my column “Rod Ramblings.” That “double entendre” in case you didn’t realize it. As Johnny Carson used to say: “Look it up in your Funk and Wagnalls.”

See ya’ at a car show.    

Rod Hackney   

Southeast Division Director

San Antonio Tour

Grace Phillips has researched a tour of San Antonio for the participants going on our tour who would like to get a guided tour of the Alamo, the River Walk Cruise and other sites in San Antonio.  This will take place on Friday the week of our tour.  The bus will pick us up at 8:30 at our hotel and the tour will be almost 8 hours long.  She negotiated a special rate of $60 per person for VSRA members.  The website for this Tour Company is  If you are interested, you can make your own reservations for the tour by calling them at 210-492-4144.  Be sure and mention that you are with the Vintage Street Rodders to get your discount.  We will be returned back to the hotel in time to make the kick-off party in Boerne where we will get a free catfish dinner if you are among the first 300 participants to register.  All the participants on our Vintage Rod Tour will have reserved spaces at the show so we can all park together.

Thanks Grace, for your help in researching this tour.

2017 Vintage Rod Tour

   Our 2017 Vintage Rod Tour will begin on Oct. 9th in Chattanooga, Tenn. and end up at the Key to the Hills Pre-49 car show in Boerne, Texas.  This year’s Key to the Hills car show will be on Oct. 13-15. We will meet in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Oct. 8th and leave on Monday to travel to Montgomery, Al.  On Tuesday we travel to Monroe, La.  On Wednesday we travel to Dallas, Texas.  Our last travel day will be Thursday when we end up in Boerne, Texas.  The Key to the Hills car show is one of the longest running Pre-49 shows around. 

The following stops are only suggested stops and you will not be frowned upon if you decide not to make some of them.  If you have any other suggestions on where to stop, we will discuss them at our Drivers Meeting that we have every night in the hotel lobby.

    Coker Tire and Honest Charlie’s in Chattanooga, Tn

    Hanks Williams Museum in Montgomery, Al.

    Duck Dynasty Restaurant in Monroe, La.

    Lunch at Bodacious BBQ in Tyler, Texas 

    Cruise-in at Sachse’s Rod Shop in Sachse, Texas

    Magnolia Market in Waco, Texas. This is the shop owned by hosts of Fixer Upper TV Show.

    Vintage Air Tour of plant and tour of the owner’s car collection. (New tour)


Below is a breakdown of daily mileage:

Monday October 9                Chattanooga, Tenn. to Montgomery, Al.                      220 miles

Tuesday October 10              Montgomery, Al. to Monroe, La.                                  365 miles

Wednesday Oct. 11               Monroe, La. to Dallas, Texas                                       285 miles

Thursday Oct. 12                   Dallas, Texas to Boerne, Texas                                   293 miles

Total miles                                                                                                                1163 miles


                     The following is list of the hotels that we will use for the tour:

Oct. 8   Courtyard Marriott      2210 Bams Dr.     Chattanooga, Tenn.    423-499-4400    $79.00
Oct. 9   Holiday Inn Express    5135 Carmichael Rd.   Mont., Al            334-270-9199     $89.00
Oct. 10  Quality Inn   1401 Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.   Monroe. La.      318-361-9944     $72.00
**Oct. 11  Best Western        2011 N. Highway 78       Wylie, Texas      972-429-1771    $70.00
Oct. 12-15 La Quinta Inn   25042 IH 10      West San Antonio, Texas    210-564-6700   $89.00

    ** This hotel would only block 10 rooms for $70.  If we need more than 10 rooms, the rate will be $90 for the rooms above 10.  First come gets the best rate.  This hotel is close to our Cruise-in and is very cheap for the Dallas area.  We were very pleased that we were able to get all the hotels on the tour for under $100.

We will have a meeting in the lobby of the Marriott at 8:00 PM on Sunday night for everyone who is meeting us in Chattanooga.

Cruisin' the Beach in Myrtle Beach

Some of our Reps. and devoted members will be set up at Cruisin’ the Beach in Myrtle Beach on October 13th and 14th.   Deb and I will be in San Antonio, Tx. On the 2017 Vintage Rod Tour.  If you are going to this show, stop by our booth to check them out.

40th Annual R.O.D.S. Run

Now’s the time to start thinking about our early cruise in 2018 to Baton Rouge to the 40th Annual R.O.D.S. Run.  About twenty of us, ten cars, made this trip to Baton Rouge for this Pre-49 car show last year.  We had a blast.  These guys really know how to put on a car show and all of them are avid Pre-49 enthusiasts.   If fact, a lot of them joined VSRA and also made the trip to Maggie Valley this year.  So make your plans now for the trip to Baton Rouge on February 22-25.  More details will follow about two different routes that we will be taking. 

Ron’s Corner


My America !!

I have been in deep thought ( a real challenge for me ) for several days after recent events that have taken place in our wonderful country. Now I have no intention of getting political in this forum but I do believe things happening around us will and do affect our hobby/sport.

Aside from the obvious attraction of the sheer fun and pleasure of owning the and driving an old car, one of the main benefits to be is the camaraderie found among like- minded people! As a young man I found several folks with interest in tinkering with an old vehicle among my circle of friends. This led to a friendship and bonding that found gathering whenever possible to share our thoughts and projects.

Many an evening was spent 'bench racing' with those guys. From our think sessions came a few actual cars that finally made it to the streets, while others remained doomed from conception!

AS I aged and life required moving from earlier residence I found additional folks with similar interest and soon discovered the national organizations and outings. Point being that people came together from all walks of life to assist and share with strangers that became friends. That's the America I grew up in.

Today on a somewhat similar scale I still have that closeness with a lot of folks that I otherwise may never have met. Great friends and companions that have added value and pleasure to my life thru out the years. Today's car clubs and associations provide a wonderful focal point to meet and get to know people from all across this country. We tend to get together for a weekend or so of sharing and caring as often as we can.

However a lot of things have changed it seems, and not for the better. We, as a nation have lost that 'down home' friendliness and kindness that once prevailed thru out America. Or so we are told !!  Recent natural and man made disasters have strained our very souls and taxed our ability to comprehend the depth of the results. America seems to be wandering about in an attempt to redefine  herself. Our news media reports disdain and contempt for authority and law. If one relies on the electronic reports we no longer share with one another, but rather refuse to accept a different idea if it conflicts with our own!

WELL HOGWASH !!  Look past the TV or turn off that radio and go outside. There, my friend is my America!!  Neighbor helping neighbor, strangers rushing to distant locations to render aid to strangers. America sharing its wealth and resources with those in need.

I see long lines of donated goods being given to folks that have nothing. I see workers from all across our land laboring to assist those hit hardest by the storms and those affected by man induced pain. I see auto enthusiasts holding charity events to send funds and or items to those in need. I see people that have never been to an area going now to volunteer.

As it pertains to us, the car nuts around this land, I see unity in the gathering of concern and compassion for those that are hurting. We are setting aside our wants and pleasures to show the world that we are still a unified people living in a loving country. This is MY AMERICA. 

Right now is a critical time in the growth of VSRA. WE need to continue to grow and share and to care with and or each other. This group of people have afforded me the opportunity to meet and share with some amazing folks. People I have come to cherish. Friendships that I value. I have watched as members pitch in to make things better for all our members. That is in the spirit of My America. So I am asking for each of you to consider what you can do to help build, not just attend, our Vintage Street Rodders of America group.  Jim and Debbie Bledsoe have worked tirelessly to provide the foundation of this organization. The amount of time and effort they have spent is staggering. They deserve a tremendous amount of gratitude from all of us.

Now it's our turn to give to them. We need to take control and give them some needed and earned rest. So let's get that American " can do" spirit pumped up and see what you can do to help this group to grow. Come on America - I know you can !!

Ron & Dee - still smiling

America the Beautiful

Please take just four minutes to view these beautiful shots of our country and listen to Charlie Daniels as he explains everything we have to be thankful for in this country.  Thanks to our Kentucky Rep., Chester Stevens, for sending this to me.

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