Today, as they say, was a good day. Welcome to our coverage of Day Five of the Hot Rod Power Tour. We rolled out of the Renaissance Hotel in Oklahoma City to find none other than Rutledge Wood and company on the front drive.
There’s our boy Rutledge. Hi, Rut! I wanted him to sign my forehead, but Shane thought it would be in poor taste. Well then, it's a good thing I didn't suggest the first body part I wanted Rut to ink.
We also spotted Emily Williams Reeves
(aka cute girl in the ball cap) chatting with Roadkill’s David Freiburger
(aka the awkward dude in the ball cap) (edit: the awkward dude in the ball cap on the right).
You know you’ve made it when you can roll in a convoy that consists completely of your cars. Rut’s collection is just as eclectic as Shane’s questionable taste in music. Evil Twin Camaro and TRD Pro Tundra.
We had a bit of a hairy moment this morning when Shane wasn’t able to start the drive with his customary quad shot of espresso (that is not a typo). But we were able to settle him down with the soothing sounds of Adele to power our drive (again, not a typo).
Today we had a relative sprint of a mere 176.8 miles to the Kansas Pavilions in Valley Center, Kansas, just outside of Wichita. Hardly any time for a nap, but I worked hard to make it happen. And by "worked hard," I mean that I slept while Shane drove.
You gotta love the Power Tour. This is Daystar's 1958 Jeep FC-170 (the FC stands for Forward Control, due to the, erm forward placement of the controls). The FC rocks a 3-stage Viper Green paint job and a 5.7L Dodge Hemi. Last time we saw it at the SEMA Show, it was sitting on a set of tracks. To go the distance on the Tour, Daystar swapped out the tracks in favor of a set of 35-inch Interco Super Swamper Radials on Wheel Vintiques 18 Series Artillery wheels.
At a gas stop the crew noticed that our 59 Sedan Delivery lost a plug wire. While the guys worked out a quick fix that would hold it over until we could visit an auto parts store, I couldn't help but notice how cute it was that our friends Eli and Hunter wore matching outfits today. Is this a case of a couple that starts dressing alike or pets who look like their owners?
No Forrest, green does not mean "Go Fast Juice."
After Forrest failed at fueling, we put him on windshield duty. My, Forrest, what a long handle you have.
We jumped a couple of new members into our Muddy Buddies gang. Wait, that came out wrong. Perhaps we need a new initiation process. And a new name for our gang. How about the Chilly Willies? That doesn't sound much better, but the stuffed penguin will make a perfect mascot. Dear Amy from Accounting, please create a stuffed animal line item on my expense report.
Remember when I wrote that today was a good day? If not, please scroll up to the top of this post. I can wait. Are you back? Good, let's continue. This man driving this car is why today was such a good day for me. This is our friend, Charley Lillard. And this is his 1969 Hellfire Camaro built by Mark Stielow.
Stielow is the undisputed master of Pro-Touring builds
and this first-gen Camaro with its 950-hp LS7/9 is his crowning achievement to date. I can only assume Charley read my Day Four post
where I was a bit envious (and even more pouty) that he let Power Tour host, Jeff Thisted drive his Pro-Touring titan.
In all honesty, I was merely having a laugh because I'm somewhat of a joker (and even more of a joke). This is why I was so completely stunned when Charley suddenly gestured for me to drive and pulled over to swap seats. I was just sorry that my seat was in the rental 'burban.
Charley jumped out and casually asked me to be sure to release the parking brake. No instructions, no limitations, no questions about my ability to drive a near four-digit horsepower freak show of a car or whether my family has a history of mental illness (uh, I'll go with no). Before I could ask a follow up question, Charley was already on his way to the rental 'burban, leaving me to my own devices with his bitchin' Camaro. My hands trembled as I fastened the five-point harness. The twin-plate clutch engaged smoothly and the Tremec T56 Magnum had a longer throw than I expected, but a solid, gated feel. I drove conservatively at first, rolling onto the throttle as the power delivery of a 950hp Camaro is a foreign experience to me, much like making small talk with Miss Painless Performance. As my confidence grew, so did the heft of my right foot. More throttle resulted in more tire smoke (sorry, Charley!) and a much-needed ego check. All in all, it was a bucket list experience and I cannot thank Charley and Mothers enough for making it possible.
After soiling Shane's shorts behind the wheel of Charley's Camaro, I followed our group to RK Machine in Ripley, Oklahoma.
Rick Kirk is an old friend of Mothers and a legend in the Ford community.
His cluttered shop is bursting at the seams with all manner of motorsport memorabilia and extremely rare hard parts.
Recognize the name on the suit? Just one of the many treasures at RK Machine.
After our visit to RK Machine, Rick took us to his museum/warehouse in downtown Ripley. The HelpaHorse Thrift Store across the street was once a Ford dealership in the late twenties. Leave it to us to park a couple of Chevys out front.
This 426 Chrysler Hemi features a Marvin Graham Milodon aluminum block, Kellogg crank, Competition cam, Richard Petty heads, 8,000rpm Isky valve springs, Ronny Sox Pro Stock intake manifold and Dominator carbs. It puts out nearly 700hp and it's just one of the many treats Rick shared with us on our private tour. Thanks for taking the time, Rick!
After lunch we stopped off a local NAPA Auto Parts store to get everything we needed to finish the drive at full-strength.
Our boy Steen gets high marks for his mechanical inclination, but his flat-footed squat form needs some work.
Our friend Glenn was unimpressed, giving Steen's squat a two out of ten. But then, Glenn's not easily impressed.
Gearbox mailbox is a must have.
On the last leg of our drive we spotted Forrest's favorite wagon. According to Forrest (aka our own personal automotive Wikipedia) this is a 1958 Edsel Roundup and there were only 963 units made of this one-year wonder.
Sadly, we were without our Big Rig presence at this stop as it was needed at another event. Thanks to our friends at Pilot Transport for making room for our rides.
Hoosier daddy. Monster meats on the back of this Ford truck.
This '68 429 Caprice Estate Wagon was rocking Manitoba plates. Now that's a long haul. Almost as long as the wheelbase on this magnificent beast.
How come I feel that Forrest isn't as moved by this wagon as he was by his Edsel Roundup. American Motors 290 Rebel SST wagon.
Saw this plastic fantastic Corvette and my mind wandered (as it often does) as to imagine how the driver would be dressed. Perhaps in a classic Tommy Bahama shirt with a soothing floral print.
Then I saw the Procharged BBC and suddenly the Tommy Bahama lost its sleeves. And the floral print was replaced by skulls.
Lots of debate surrounding this COPO Camaro. Forrest reported that, "It has a COPO VIN. It is also licensed and registered in Louisiana. Anything is possible in the land of Huey P. Long." That should settle the debate. Or not.
At the end of the day we went to our hotel to check in. Shane asked me to share this image of Forrest disrespecting the fine exterior finish of our 'burban. It's not so much that Shane is angry with Forrest, just disappointed. So very disappointed. You can't see me, but I too, am shaking my head in disappointment as I type these words. Forrest could only offer this retort, "Bastards. You left out the part where I paid extra for the full coverage insurance, so I don’t care." Why are you so dead inside, Forrest?
After the Tour party it was the after party in downtown Wichita, thanks to the fine folks at Gforce Engineering.
This concludes our Day Five coverage. Tomorrow we’ll tackle the sixth and final day where we’ll go 224.8 miles to Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas. If I can get over my disappointment with Forrest, I’ll be back with more coverage.