In this issue you’ll find coverage of an event where hitting the road is just as important as showing off. The International Speedsters Trials and Reunion in Lincoln, NE, is about speed, but not modern speed! Here’s Wayne Atkinson’s sharp-looking Sprint Car that was originally built in the late ’30s. It runs a de-stroked Model B engine with a Riley two-port head and dual carbs on an Evans manifold.
The clocks have been set an hour ahead and the days are longer. The weather’s warming up and, well, it’s time to end our cars’ winter hibernations. Ultimately, what’s that all really mean? It means it’s time to drive ... for most of us, that is.
Unfortunately, we all have a big new opponent working against us: sky-high gas prices. With budget strings already tightened to the hilt as it is, are we looking at a decrease in event participation this summer? Will there be a decline in long-distance road trips? If I actually had a car on the road, I could probably better speculate—and at which point maybe I’d rethink my normal spending to accommodate keeping my tanks filled up in order to keep my cars on the road, and myself at all the shows I normally drive to. (You know that old saying, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone—that’s exactly how I feel not having a driveable old car currently at my disposal.) In a couple weeks, I’ll know exactly how and if the economy has an impact simply judging by the first few events of the summer I attend. I sure hope I don’t see a noticeable difference.
To me, driving’s as much fun, if not more, than building cars. I know some people think differently, and that’s absolutely fine. While I love to get out in the garage and wrench, weld, or simply polish some paint, I probably feel more at home behind the wheel, out on the road, enjoying the fruits of one’s labor, be it mine or someone I paid. (I am not of the simplistic mindset that a true hot rodder must build his or her own car, and thus have no problem putting money in another’s pocket—if I have any to begin with—to perform various work on my projects.) And oddly enough, in the recent past, I’ve found myself not preferring to share my OTR (over the road) time with others—I’d much rather hit the highway solo, giving me the ability to crank the tunes as loud as I like, push the throttle as hard as I (legally?) can, and pretty much find that highway Zen that puts me at peace. That can also be said in regards to caravanning to some extent … unless problems start to occur, at which point I definitely don’t want to be the only person on the side of the road!
I feel the same toward automobiles as I do firearms: What’s the use in owning them if you can’t and/or don’t use them? Sure, there are rare exceptions to that rule, but just as I don’t ever see myself in possession of a genuine Colt Walker pistol—a gun I’d admittedly avoid firing—I highly doubt I’ll ever own the set of keys to a Model J Duesenberg. Furthermore, aside from aiding in roadside disablement or in-transit during buildup, I see absolutely no reason why any car of mine should spend time on a trailer or the back of a flatbed. My AAA membership is the most investment in vehicle transport I’ll ever make!
Bottom line to me is, we should all exercise our right to drive while we still have it. Driving is a privilege, and the last time I checked, the synonym for privilege is “freedom”!
With budget strings already tightened to the hilt as it is, are we looking at a decrease in event participation this summer? Will there be a decline in long-distance road trips?