Gas station attendants, waitresses, truckers, and commuters all over America are probably still talking about that June day when they saw a dozen or more hot rods and custom cars pull into their businesses or roll past them on the highway. Their comments were similar: There must be a car show going on around here. They always seemed surprised when we told them, No, were on the Rod & Custom Americruise heading for Lincoln, Nebraska.
The idea that a bunch of hot rodders would (or even could) drive 1,000 miles or more in a few days just for the sake of doing it is startling to most people. Heck, it was startling to the bosses at Petersen Publishing when the R&C staff first proposed the idea back in the early 90s. It took a lot of cajoling and arm-twisting to convince the head honchos to let R&C host a cross-country cruise in 1993. A decade later, Rod & Customs Americruise has grown into an annual tradition.
If you arent familiar with the concept of Americruise, its simple. We decided that most people have as much fun driving to a rodding event as they do attending one, so instead of starting our event at a designated location, we back up a few days, organize driving tours from locations around the U.S., and take the show on the road to the final destinationthis year, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Weve always counted on friends in the rodding industry to help with organizing and leading tours. This year, we planned for six tours leaving from the following spots: RBs Obsolete in Edmonds, Washington; Mooneyes in Santa Fe Springs, California; Vintage Air in San Antonio, Texas; Lokar Performance Products in Knoxville, Tennessee; Fatman Fabrications in Charlotte, North Carolina; and Classic Instruments in Boyne City, Michigan.
For the first time, Rod & Custom shared the responsibility for the annual party with several other rod magazines. Editors from Street Rodder , Custom Rodder , and Classic Trucks rode with various tours, hung out with us in Lincoln, photographed a lot of the best rods, customs, and trucks for features, gave out awards, and are including coverage of Americruise 02 in their own pages.
The final destination for Americruise 02 was the Nebraska State Fair Park. The city of Lincoln has hosted Americruise several times, and the folks there seem to love having thousands of hot rodders descend on their town every summer. The advantages of Lincoln are its central location, terrific fairgrounds, and Speedway Motors, where Speedy Bill Smith treated participants to tours of his remarkable museum and a terrific Saturday-night barbecue dinner. The main purpose of meeting in Lincoln is for everybody to get together, show off their cars, and keep cruising. Thousands of cars packed the grounds from the tree-shaded west end to the expansive parking lot on the east side.
In addition to eyeballing the cars, participants and spectators spent time checking out the manufacturers booths, attending tech seminars, watching the engine-building contest, or entering their cars in the Werx Performance dyno challenge. Less rod-related activities included the antique tractor-pull competition, piglet racing, a pancake breakfast, andfor the first time everthe Miss Americruise contest.
We thank all of you for being part of the tours and adding to the fun of Americruises 10th anniversary celebration. Lets do it again next summer.