Asphalt Ego-Rama participants...
Asphalt Ego-Rama participants came to California from all over the country, meeting at the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona.
We did it again! For the second year in a row, we talked a bunch of our readers into subjecting their cars to our sinister series of torture tests. The prize? Some plaques, jackets, possible glory or humiliation in R&C, a week of flat-out fun with a handful of fellow rodders, and a lifetime of stories to tell folks back home. Rod & Custom Asphalt Ego-Rama participants are chosen by you. We whittled the entries down to 20 candidates, published a ballot, and waited for readers to select the six-car field. These were your picks:
Bob Watson's '29 Ford Pickup, accompanied by builder Doug Radix
Don and Linda Palfreyman's '34 Ford Three-Window Coupe
Phil and Dianne Mayo's '34 Chevy Roadster
Russ and Roz Waterhouse's '58 Edsel Roundup Two-Door Wagon
Sam Strube's '23 Ford T Roadster, accompanied by Sam's brother Matt
Tony and Joyce Price's '32 Ford Three-Window Coupe
By the time these participants arrived at our starting point, the NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California, most of them had already spent several days on the road. Sam had a short drive from Livermore, California. The Waterhouses came from Washington. Bob is from Wisconsin. The Mayos (from Pennsylvania) and the Palfreymans and Prices (from Utah) drove through snow.
The next morning, we began the competition. Over the next several days, we drove from Pomona to the El Mirage dry lake; Laughlin, Nevada; Lake Havasu, Arizona; and finally to Scottsdale, Arizona. Along the way, each car was evaluated in eight categories: Engineering (20%), Ride & Drive (20%), Price (low-buck wins for 10%), Acceleration (10%), Braking (10%), Fuel Economy (5%), Style (10%), and People's Choice (15%).
R&C staffers Jim Rizzo, Dan Kahn, and myself grabbed seat time in each car to judge the first three categories. Acceleration and braking tests took place at the Speedworld Motorplex near Phoenix. Fuel economy was gauged on a 78-mile run between Lake Havasu and Quartzsite, Arizona. Style was based on sportsmanship and overall attitude. People's Choice was determined by spectator voting at the Goodguys event.
Engineering (how well the car was built) included such factors as fit and finish, overall quality, and integration of all areas of the vehicle. We also considered imagination, modifications, and how much work was done by the owner. Ride & Drive (how it performed on the road) included comfort, handling, and reliability, among other seat-of-the-pants impressions. At the end of the event, with notebooks full of impressions, envelopes full of timeslips, a G-TECH/Pro Performance Meter full of data, and a box full of People's Choice votes, we added up all the points to determine the winner of the R&C Asphalt Ego-Rama for 2002: Phil and Dianne Mayo's '34 Chevy roadster. Once again, Ego-Rama proved that the best rods and customs are the ones that can do it all. But just in case there are still unbelievers out there, we're doing it all over again this year. Maybe with your car.
Check out the details in the sidebars below.
At So-Cal Speed Shop, only...
At So-Cal Speed Shop, only a few minutes from NHRA Museum, Tony Thacker showed us the facility and a bunch of customer and company project cars. In Scottsdale, we joined the crowd at the open house at the So-Cal Speed Shop in Phoenix.
For many, the highlight of...
For many, the highlight of road trip was driving on the El Mirage dry lake. We've seen a million old photos of Southern California's dry lakes, the birthplace of drag racing, and being there was a remarkable experience. Between the other-worldy landscape and the aura of history, El Mirage is incredible.
The Lake Havasu, AZ, chapter...
The Lake Havasu, AZ, chapter of the Over The Hill Gang welcomed us to town. Club member Dean Racsuk gave us a tour his home shop, which is more impressive than many professional shops and is filled with vintage machinery and automobiles.
While in Lake Havasu, we went...
While in Lake Havasu, we went to Advantage Boats for a tour of the engine shop and manufacturing facility. Think building a hot rod is a lot of work? The effort that goes into this watercraft is amazing.
Dean Willis, another Over...
Dean Willis, another Over The Hill member, also invited us to his home shop to wash our cars, which were still coated with Mojave Desert dust. Dean has built several rods, including a Grand National Roadster Show winner.