The Hot Rod Highway
From the February, 2009 issue of Rod & Custom
By Tim Bernsau
Photography by Tim Bernsau
For 50 years, Rod & Custom has been making the point that getting there is as much fun as being there--especially when you're getting there behind the wheel of a ready-for-the road hot rod or custom. For eleven years we've been using our Americruise cross-country road trips to prove the point.
This year's Mid-Americruise event commenced on Wednesday, June 25, from Wauconda, Illinois, home of Heidt's Hot Rod Shop. Approximately two to three dozen participants joined in and dropped out as we made the three day trek from Wauconda to Lincoln, Nebraska.
As usual, the variety of rods, customs, and pickups was great, from Model As to Fairlanes, roadsters to Rancheros. Not to say it was an all-Fomoco tour. Chevys abound in this part of the country, and a handful of Plymouths made the trip as well.
Several rod shops and manufacturers welcomed us along the way. Strangers at first, we were a tight-knit group of brand-new old friends by the time we rolled into State Fair Park on Friday.
We'll have the full story on Mid-Americruise '03 in an upcoming issue of Rod & Custom. For the time being, here are a few images from the road.
Mid-Americruise '03 Tour Stops
Heidt's Hot Rod Shop, Wauconda, IL
Billet Specialties, La Grange, IL
Roadster Shop, Elgin, IL
Hopperstad Customs, Belvidere, IL
Ken's Street Rod Repair, Rockford, IL
Rock Valley Antique Auto, Stillman Valley, IL
Yogi's Inc., Calamus, IA
Jim Coon's personal hot rod collection, Des Moines, IA
After drag racing for years,...
After drag racing for years, Allen Longmire sold his race car and built this '33 Plymouth PD 5-window coupe, powered by a fuel-injected 392 Hemi. This was the first Americruise for Allen and his wife Gloria.
Tour leader Gary Heidt in...
Tour leader Gary Heidt in his '57 Chevy pickup did an A-plus job of getting us from Wauconda to Lincoln, and to every tour stop along the way. If the R&C crew had been leading this trip, it would've ended up in Canada.
The first stop after hitting...
The first stop after hitting the road on Wednesday was Billet Specialties in La Grange, Illinois, where we got a tour of their huge facility.
This Model A sedan with a...
This Model A sedan with a Deuce grille and Deuce framerails is under construction at the Roadster Shop in Elgin, Illinois, where we stopped for a tour on the first day of the trip.
You can't miss Rock Valley...
You can't miss Rock Valley Antique Auto, our Thursday morning breakfast stop. We all agreed that an A coupe that nice doesn't belong on the top of a pole.
This '29 Chevy coupe gets...
This '29 Chevy coupe gets a morning window wash by owner Jim Boots, who along with his wife Janet, was enjoying his first Americruise. The coupe body is all original with almost all of the original wood.
The R&C guys felt like they...
The R&C guys felt like they were back in Southern California when this flathead-powered, chopped and channeled A coupe joined the group at one of our lunch stops.
Our traveling band of gearheads...
Our traveling band of gearheads was joined by local rodders at every stop along the way, including our lunch break at Yogi's Inc. in Calamus, Iowa, on Thursday.
Coolest car on the trip must...
Coolest car on the trip must have been Ernest Adams' homemade dwarf '42 Ford, driven all the way from Maricopa, Arizona, to join Mid-Americruise.
Terry Teneyck, another first-time...
Terry Teneyck, another first-time Americruiser, drove his good-looking orange '32 Vicky down from Osceola, Wisconsin. Terry built the car using a Downs body and a 350/350 engine/transmission setup.
The Mid-Americruise tour stopped...
The Mid-Americruise tour stopped in Lincoln, but the cruising continued all weekend long, on the streets as well as on the fairgrounds.
Stop four on day one brought...
Stop four on day one brought us to Hopperstad Customs, in Belvidere, Illinois, where our cruisers took shelter from a summer shower inside the spacious shop and checked out the many in-progress rod and custom projects.
Our first night on the road...
Our first night on the road culminated with cake and a shop tour at Ken's Street Rod Repair in Rockford, Illinois. R&C Publisher DeEtte Crow hosted a trivia contest. Prizes included samples of the the Absorber and the Glosser from CleanTools, in addition to some cool Playing Mantis die-cast hot rods from Johnny Lightning.
|Americruise Awards 2003|
|Outstanding GM||#915 Heinz Westphal Lincoln, NE 40 Chevy Delivery|
|Outstanding Ford||#930 Roger Atwood Omaha, NE 39 Ford|
|Outstanding Mopar||#217 Chuck Fisciano Bear Lake, NE 34 Plymouth|
|Classic Trucks Editors Choice|
|Paint||#758 Tom Kissick Smithville, MO 47 Chevy|
|Interior||#211 Mike & Peg Westphal Lincoln, NE 48 Chevy|
|Engineered||#325 Jay & Cathy Uhlig Kingsville, MO 51 Chevy|
|Engine||#887 Roger Frank Scottsduff, NE 55 GMC|
|Under Construction||#485 Randy Habitzel Hastings, NE 57 Ford|
|Rod & Custom Editors Choice|
|Hottest Rod||#291 Dan Troyer N Platte, NE 33 Ford|
|Coolest Custom||#267 Fred Goerisch Las Vegas, NV 51 Merc|
|Best Unfinished||#187 Greg Jordison Lamoni, IA 28 Ford|
|Flashback Award||#159 Gary Anderson Omaha, NE 32 Ford|
|Car We Want To Drive Home||#923 Ernie Adams Maricopa, AZ 42 Dwarf Ford|
|Street Rodder Editors Choice|
|Paint||#385 Tim Brogan Blue Springs, MO 32 Ford|
|Interior||#1207 Tom Pollard Leonard, MI 39 Ford|
|Engineered||#902 Jay Albers Omaha, NE 27 Ford|
|Engine||#291 Dan Troyer North Platte, NE 33 Ford|
|Best Under Construction||#185 John Curtis Aurora, CO|
|Custom Rodder Editors Choice|
|Paint||#246 Ed Bubb Quincy, IL 50 Merc|
|Interior||#1408 Jerry Stanley Red Oak, IA|
|Engineered||#878 Mel Ertz Grand Junction, CO 50 Chevy|
|Engine||#124 Brandon Pollard Marysville, KS 58 Chevy|
|Best Under Construction||#177 Gary Little Lincoln, NE 51 Ford|
|Awards of Excellence|
|#209 Jim Morgan Topeka, KS 33 Ford||#1207 Ray Pollar Leonard, MI 39 Ford|
|#217 Chuck Fisciano Bear Lake, NE 34 Ply||#915 Heinz Westphal Lincoln, NE 40 Chevy|
|#930 Roger Atwood Omaha, NE 39 Ford||#211 Mike Westphal Lincoln, NE 48 Chevy|
|#845 Jim Brt Lincoln, NE 48 Anglia||#929 Randy Haas Lincoln, NE 34 Chevy|
|#263 Joe Koch Phoenix, AZ 55 Chevy||#133 Greg Walker Butler, MO 37 Ford|
|#325 Jay Uhlig Kingsville, MO 51 Chevy||#704 Doug Kurtzer Lincoln, NE 37 Ford|
|#1019 Jerry Goben Council Bluffs,|
IA 40 Ford
|#152 Rick Campbell Columbus, NE yellow coupe|
|#291 Dan Troyer N Platte, NE 33 Ford||#886 Frank Motors Scotts Bluff, NE 57 Chevy|
|#331 Quentin Stockham McPherson,|
KS 40 Willys
|#133 Greg Walker Butler, MO 37 Ford|
|#135 Tim Haith Lincoln, NE 31 Ford||#54 Robert Beaudin Omaha, NE 41 Ford|
|#443 Mike Young Lincoln, NE 32 Ford||#758 Tom Kissick Smithville, MO 47 Chevy|
|#952 Stew Kirkbride Lincoln,|
NE 40 Chevy #1095
|Ronnie Stuart Omaha, NE 60 Chevy|
|#439 Todd Freeburg N Platte,|
NE 55 Chevy
|KIT CAR MagazineEditors Choice Car of the Show -- Cobra Tour|
|#9 Gerry Phillips Larchwood, Iowa MidStates '65 CobraCandy Apple Red and Ivory... with light black checkerboard design on hood and light candy apple ghost flames near the front vents|