The annual HOT ROD Power Tour. Need we say more?
It’s a highly anticipated seven-day, seven-city journey that brings together more than 6,000 vehicles and 100,000-plus spectators to travel in packs through a designated route. Admittedly, it’s dominated by classic muscle and traditional hot rods. But look hard enough and a few contemporary builds can be found.
A New Gen of Hot Rodders
Daringly, we at The Engine Block wonder if the sport compact segment is well on its way to becoming a bigger part of that hot rod community in yonder years. Consider some of the crazy builds plastered across the internet and be prepared to roll that tongue back in your mouth—a 5.0 V8 from a Blue Oval lives inside a Porsche Cayman; a flashy Ferrari 458 V8 is under the hood of a Toyota 86; a LS1 V8 powers a classic Porsche 911; and a darling Datsun 510 went under the knife with two previous engines before finding “the one” with a SR20DET. By the looks of these swaps, we believe sport compact builders have a seat at the hot rod table if they’re willing to join.
As hot rodders, extraordinary creative liberties are taken to marry a myriad of performance parts that eventually fire up in harmony; hence the obsession with cramming an oversized motor in a small engine bay. After all, the very definition of hot rodding is an automobile rebuilt or modified for high speed and fast acceleration. So you see, the process doesn’t discriminate against years, makes or models. And neither does the HOT ROD Power Tour.
“Enthusiasts from around the world celebrate as HOT ROD Power Tour welcomes all makes and models of hot rods, street rods, custom trucks, muscle cars and performance machines of every vintage and nameplate,” said HOT ROD Power Tour. “It is the ultimate amalgamation of vehicle brands, styles and eras; one week of non-stop gearhead glory on some of the coolest roads the country has to offer,” said HOT ROD Editor-in-Chief Evan Perkins.
Modern Rides Are Tomorrow’s Classics
If the engine swaps mentioned above prove anything, it’s that builders want a challenge and the end result to be completely custom. Let’s time warp 60-80 years ago. No one considered now-coveted classic vehicle platforms such as the Ford Model T, ‘65 Ford Mustang, ’69 Chevy Camaro or ‘70 Plymouth Cuda would carry such a hefty collector’s price tag.
During their prime, these rides were simply everyday commuters, some of which happened to produce a high horsepower driving experience that landed speed junkies in drag-racing glory. And similarly, sport compact enthusiasts have witnessed former reasonably priced Japanese imports skyrocket in price during recent years due to consumer demand. Overarching point: Modern rides are tomorrow’s classics. And it doesn’t matter what year, make or model is center stage, rather what’s under the hood.
HOT ROD Long Haul
Until that day comes, The Engine Block team caught up with a familiar face at the annual HOT ROD Power Tour, presented by Chevrolet Performance and driven by Continental Tire. And that nameplate reads none other than Edelbrock Performance. Cary Redman is a National Sales Manager at the company, 13 year HOT ROD Power Tour attendee and what the group has nicknamed a “long hauler”.
“Those who travel from start to finish are considered the long haulers, a title they proudly boast. The 2017 HOT ROD Power Tour anticipates more than 3,500 on tour this year,” said the group. However, Redman believes that number is an ultra conservative estimate and, in his experience, anticipates long haulers to range between 4,000-5,000 since not everyone is actually registered.
Memories That Last a Lifetime
Among them, “Vic and Nancy (Edelbrock) have been at and drive every single one except the first that debuted in downtown LA. That’s how much he believes in it,” said Redman. Not surprisingly, the number of attendees continues to swell, as the HOT Rod Power Tour gets ready to deliver its 23rd annual event in June, 2017.
“Once you’ve lived power tour, it sticks in your memory for years and years and years to come. The life and character behind the tour is remarkable, and it’s one of those permanent memories that you absolutely never forget,” said Redman. And how could you when “it feels like it’s either hot as Hades or raining every year,” laughed Redman. Grounds for individual enthusiast activity, family vacation, honeymoon and even a marriage site, the HOT ROD Power Tour is full of candid experiences (sometimes the kind that come back to haunt, but are memorable nonetheless).
“Stories that come from Power Tour, well, they still tell them 10 years later. It’s an experience like no other, rooted in camaraderie and an emotional bond,” continued Redman. It’s true that enthusiasts from around the world gather together with their cherished ride of choice to make the 3,000+ mile round trip through mostly small-town America.
A Testament of Man and Machine
The goal, rather the expectation, is to drive the entire way without a trailer. “It’s a testament to the vehicle itself and the person who owns it. And it’s an investment in time, energy and money,” said Redman. “We have a no-man-left-behind philosophy so if someone breaks down then it’s guaranteed others will pull over to help,” he added. “Plus GM brings a service provider, a rig with tools and technicians. So if people break down along the way there’s a formal place to use tools and fix the ride at the next stop. And it’s all free of charge!” added Redman.
Breakdown or smooth sailing, it’s one helluva feeling to cruise into small towns where locals are parked in their front lawns ready to greet the Power Tour with friendly smiles, waves and cheers. “We cruise back roads that unless you were on this tour, you’d never go out of your way to go see,” said Redman. During Power Tour, “a town population of 500 could jump to over 10,000,” continued Redman. He discussed how the annual event definitely bolsters local economies. “Streets are overflowing with people and cars. Hotel rooms are booked solid. Restaurants run out of food. Bars are packed. We really overrun them,” he continued.
From a vendor perspective, it’s an ideal opportunity to connect one-on-one with the end consumers. “The 23rd annual HOT ROD Power Tour will feature a colorful midway of mobile display rigs from more than 50 performance manufacturers and aftermarket specialists with opportunities to view the latest innovations and get expert advice,” said HOT ROD Power Tour.
Edelbrock Performance chooses to use the tour as a platform to educate, rather than straight-up sell. Because in the end, the tour is about growing a community of enthusiasts.
So what are you waiting for? Register that adored ride and get ready for the cruise of a lifetime. Every year proves to be filled with new candid moments. And every year brings forth a new ride to showcase. Check out the beauties Edelbrock and Redman have featured at HOT ROD Power Tour throughout the years.
Edelbrock, HOT ROD Power Tour
1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe (2-3 times) 347 S/B Ford Crate
Engine w/ dual-quads 449HP
1940 Ford Deluxe Sedan Delivery (2 times) 351W S/B Ford
RPM Power Package 415HP
1957 Chevy Posie Bel Air (7 times) 383 S/B Chevy stroker
with E-Street V2 EFI 451HP
1967 Hot Rod Camaro (2 times) Signature Series (Serial #
027) 383 Crate Engine 460HP/460 Ft./Lbs
1967 Chevy Chevelle SS (4 times) Edelbrock/Musi 555
Crate Engine 697 HP with Pro-Flo 3
TLC Rides 1932 Ford Roadster (1 time) 435HP Crate
Engine with dual-quads and EnduraShine Finish
2010 Hendricks Edition Chevy Camaro E-Force (1 time)
LS3 factory engine with E-Force Supercharger 599HP
2011 Chevy Camaro E-Force (1 time) LS3 factory engine
with E-Force Supercharger 599HP
2012 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition E-Force (1 time) LS7
Z06 with E-Force Supercharger 680HP
75th Anniversary 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe (1 time) 347
S/B Ford Crate Engine 449HP with Pro-Flo 3
2014 Chevy Corvette E-Force (1 time) LT1 factory engine
with E-Force Supercharger 624HP
2015 Jeep JK E-Force (1 time) 3.6L Penta Star V6 with
E-Force Supercharger 317RWHP
2012 Dodge Challenger E-Force (1 time) Chrysler Hemi
Stroker 7.0L with E-Force Supercharger 810HP
2016 Chevy Corvette E-Force (1 time) LT1 factory engine
with E-Force Supercharger 624HP