On Friday, while Rex fixed his Chevy, the rest of us got coffee, donuts, and a shop tour at Hot Rods by Dean, followed by a visit to the Rod Factory. After lunch we visited to the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving at Firebird Raceway. We enjoyed the tour of the school but will probably remember the laps around the road course a lot longer. Staff drivers gave each Ego-Rama participant and R&C staffer a ride around the road course in race-prepped Corvette C5s. At 100 mph, those guys were probably sandbagging but still managed to squeeze the last bit of ego out of any of us who thought we were hotshot drivers. Ego-Rama participants then had a chance to take their own cars out on the course for a few laps.
Andrew got busy setting up the cones and radar gun for skidpad testing. This is a new test for Ego-Rama and consists of making clockwise and counterclockwise passes around a 200-foot-diameter circle of cones. Two of the cars we expected to shine in this area, the Olds and the Nomad, didn't compete-Fred was attending to personal business and Norm was out of commission with a failed ignition module. That's how Rex and Deby's lumbering '55 scored third place points in this category. Tim's coupe, which had done well at the dragstrip, wowed us with some impressive handling, too. In the end, though, this was Larry Metz' time to shine. Larry was able to run that '32 around those cones like a tether car.
We'd never seen a body quite like Larry's 'glass '32 cabrio. It's a New Zealand-built "California Cabrio" imported by Limeworks. Larry dropped it over a TCI chassis. He relocated the crossmembers, added a new K-member, and pie-cut the frame to raise the rear, giving the car a more aggressive rake. Larry's been building flatheads since he was a teenager. This one is fed by a homemade manifold, four-barrel, and modified Eaton blower. His wife Gloria and sons Randy and Mike also worked on the Deuce, which has been on the road for about 4 years. The cabrio excelled in the areas of Gas Mileage and Braking and finished first in the Cornering category.
Goodguys saved us a primo spot at the Southwest Nats in Scottsdale on Saturday. People's Choice was calculated by spectator voting, and the response to the Ego-Rama cars was so good we ran out of ballots and had to go make more. Norm's '56 was absent for the first few hours as the ignition chip was replaced but still chalked up a lot of votes. The crowd favorite, however, was Fred's big black Olds 98.
That evening, we headed back to Industrial Chassis, where owner Steve Szymanski hosted an open house, with a buffet provided by his girlfriend, Celeste. ROD & CUSTOM expresses a big thanks to this shop for the food, fun, and mechanical help.
Saturday night, the R&C staff calculated all the numbers and percentages from the judging categories. As usually happens, the winner was a car that didn't dominate in one particular category but performed consistently well in every area. At Sunday morning's awards breakfast we presented the R&C Asphalt Ego-Rama King of the Road award to Tim Nesmith's '41 Chevy.
After a week on the road, we'd covered approximately 800 miles, had a bunch of fun, and made new friends. Tim Nesmith went back to Alabama with the King of the Road plaque. Every other participant went home with memories of a great road trip. We came back to work with this story and car features on all participant cars, which we'll be publishing in upcoming issues. We're already making plans for Asphalt Ego-Rama IV with a whole team of new participants. Maybe you.