Friday, June 27, 2014

Cooler Drinks Prevail

Well look at that, it's summertime! We have reached that time of year when it is starting to get pretty hot here in the mid-west. There are plenty of reasons to enjoy a cold beverage outside, but ya gotta keep those drinks chilled some how. Ever think of using a vintage cooler?  I found these two, at a couple of different estate sales, in the dead of winter. The cost of mid century modern furniture seems to be at or above retail prices at the sales these days, but I picked up these bad boys for less than a cheap plastic cooler would set me back at the local general store. I was lucky enough to spot both of them in the basements of which they have lived for who knows how long.

The J.C. Higgins cooler is on the smaller side but it can still hold at least an 18 pack. The outer shell is made of steel so it is a bit heavier, but it's not too hefty, due to it's small stature. Despite the minor paint scuffs and surface rust, it is in great shape. It really doesn't look like it had been used much, if at all.

Now, onto the aluminum Thermaster by Poloron. This thing is nearly immaculate. When I spotted this one under a table, I couldn't believe how nice it was considering it wasn't in the original box. I would be amazed if this was used more than one time. The details on this thing are as "atomic age" as a cooler can get. Check out all of the details. As much as I love the beads rolled into the textured aluminum, the pattern on the inside is what really sets it apart.

Ive gathered some pictures of some neat coolers, as wel. Even if you can't find an authentic vintage cooler at a yard sale or flea market, you can always get one of these new ones with the retro look. The fellow in this perfect '40 Ford at the Hot Rod Reunion did just that and painted it to match his car. It looked right at home hanging out in the trunk of the coupe.

Another awesome way to keep your canned cocktails chilled is to convert a vintage Maytag washing machine into a beverage bin. My friends Dustin and Tara did this and it turned out really well.

Last summer, when we took our trip to the Meltdown Drags last summer, we used Joey and Andrew's 1960's Coleman cooler. It served us well. Unfortunately neither of us thought to get a decent picture of it.

That's about all we've got today. Cheers!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Hot Rod Reunion 2014 - Bowling Green, KY

Nearly ten years has passed since I first started hearing the praises of the Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Ky. My dad and I have always wanted to go but certain things have held us back. The main reason was that our great friends and former car club, Southern Illinois Street Rod Association, hold an annual Father's Day rod run which is the same weekend. The other reason being, we sold all of our running hot rods. The Hot Rod Reunion has been on our short list of "must attend" events for many years, we just never pulled the trigger, until now.

My friend Dustin was in town for Tom's wedding and he mentioned that he, his dad, two of his friends, and their dads were all making the trip down to Bowling Green this year. He talked us into going. I don't think it was too hard to convince me as soon as Tom said that we could take his '53 and when I realized that it would be an awesome father/son trip with my dad as well. I pitched the idea to dear old dad and he was all for it. I was pretty excited but then life did that thing, ya know, the thing where it messes up all of your plans. On Thursday, the day before we were to hit the road, my ol' man came down with a nasty cold. We were both hopeful that he would feel better in the morning, but when the time came, he thought it would be best to stay home and get better.

Looks like it was just going to be Tom and I making the trip in the primered Dodge. We had some great weather for the trouble-free drive east. We checked into our hotel real quick and pointed the car toward Beech Bend Raceway. It was afternoon already so we cruised right into the grounds and found ourselves a parking spot. We grabbed a couple brews and headed to the starting line to find Dustin and his dad.

I was thoroughly impressed with both the racetrack and the area for the show cars. I don't think an event like this could have a more perfect venue than Beech Bend Raceway. The hot rod parking has just enough grass, trees, and differing elevation to relax you, unlike some race tracks that are two acres of boiling pavement. Even the majority of the pits were grassy and surrounded by trees. The best part, though, is the drag strip area. First of all, the stands for spectators are covered. That alone is worth catching some vintage racing. You probably know how brutal a day in the sun can be. The awnings are so useful and even add to the character of the track. Another thing that's cool is that the track looks to be dug into the ground a couple feet. It just seems more conducive to good viewing, but it also makes you feel a little bit safer while standing at the fence as the cars fly past at 150 mph.

The field of cars in attendance were pretty impressive, both race and show. I saw a lot of really killer hot rods and customs. I was quite surprised at the quality of cars in the show and shine area. It's pretty much a given that you will see a handful of awful cars at events like this but I don't recall seeing anything terrible. Sure, there were cars that didn't fit my taste, but nothing that made me think, "WTF?". Then, you have the race cars; some just on display, some there for the cackle fest, exhibition push starts, and some to do real life racin'. All of them where pretty damn cool. It was one of the best displays of vintage race cars that I have ever laid eyes on in one place. I loved the seamless mixture of great vintage drag racing and the exhibition runs like the jet cars, the full track wheelie car, and the period correct push starts. There was never a dull moment on the quarter.

I was really wishing my dad was there with us all weekend but I knew he didn't want that to stop me from enjoying myself. I had a great time seeing all the perfect cars and hanging out with my buds. I'm pretty sure I'll be back next year. Hopefully my dad and I will be there together, celebrating Father's Day, in our '56 Buick. This one's for you, Dad. No upper respiratory infection will stop us next year!

Tom's '53 Dodge Meadowbrook and my new Frost River rucksack.

Tom manning the wheel.


At the front gate of Beech Bend Raceway

'32 Ford 5-window coupe

Model A coupe

We found Dustin! Drag racing is loud!

Dave (Dustin's dad), Tom, and Dustin watch racing from behind the staging lanes

These two cars were beautiful and fast

1936 Ford

Start Me Up

Love all the original trim on this Willys

A proper 'vette




Sky blue and some rubber too

Gorgeous '40

Josh ordered the nachos on the left, he was served the nachos on the right

Another bad ass Corvette

Wheels up

Keeping 'em on the straight and narrow


Sure did

Driving is a serious business

NOT the same car as above

The good kind of nasty





Meat wagon

The covered stands were cooooool


I guarantee I was the only person at the Hot Rod Reunion watching drag racing AND the World Cup #Technology

This car did a wheel stand all the way down the track, then turned around and did one all the way back

Pretty impressive time for driving 1/4 mile with your front wheels in the air

Smoking epidemic in the U.S.A.




Take me home Kentucky roads