There can't be many people, and certainly not amongst those who regularly attend NSRA events, who aren't aware of the new 1982 cut-off year for the association's events, replacing the previously set-in-stone pre-'49 limit. Concerns had been raised-and strong feelings voiced-at last year's Street Rod Nationals, forecasting doom and gloom for the future. But you know what? Sure, there were "late-models" present, but virtually all were nicely finished '50s and '60s cars, and the pre-'49 rods were still in the majority. The place wasn't overrun with Pro Touring Camaros, Donks, 4x4s, or anything else. There were still over 10,000 cars on site, but the biggest noticeable difference was how many families with young kids were in attendance. The average age of attendees must have dropped by 30 years in one fell swoop!

Whatever the reasons for and objections to the pre-'82 ruling, the Nats is still the Nats, with the biggest vendor display anywhere, and is still a great weekend. With the shift in participating cars it was hard to spot any new or emerging trends, though stock bodywork and straight subtle paint still seems in vogue. The popularity of traditional cars is showing no sign of abating, with a build quality just as good as the high-dollar stuff they've replaced. In fact they're probably just as high dollar now too!

This was the 41st Street Rod Nationals, and followed the format of years past, with bands, seminars, Women's World, the New Street Rod Product of the Year awards, and the Builder's Showcase. Of course we spent the entire weekend either checking out the vendor booths, the swap meet, or shooting cars for event coverage and features. I know, I know, tough job huh?

Gettin' There
Getting there is half the fun, right? And given the choice of driving across country with a bunch of other hot rods or flying back to Kentucky to cover the Street Rod Nationals for the magazine, I'd opt for the drive in a heartbeat. So the few weeks before the STREET RODDER Magazine Road Tour was due to depart, I spent night and day in the shop trying to get the project '49 Chevy finished for the drive. Well, you know what they say about best laid plans and all that? I didn't make it. Close, but no cigar. With the '46 pickup out of action too, it looked like I was flying to the Nats, but I ended up riding shotgun with a buddy, leaving a day late, and catching up with the Road Tour in Oklahoma. Driving long distance is always a blast, and at least I know my car will be ready for next year!