Antiques & The Arts
Why People Love Vintage Cars – Holley National Hot Rod Reunion

Why People Love Vintage Cars – Holley National Hot Rod Reunion

You could say we are in the heart of hot rodding
here in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Where Holley makes it its home, even the mighty Corvette
is built here. Every year, car enthusiasts for one weekend gather around at Holley’s
Hot Rod Reunion. From Nostalgic cars to vintage cars to muscle cars to even one of a kind
rare cars, they all gather here. I’m on a mission here to find out why people are so
obsessed with these vintage cars. It’s a beautiful tree-lined Beech Bend Raceway gets filled
to the gills with nostalgic race fans and racers. We’re at the show and shine section
of the reunion and it’s almost like taking a step back in time, there are so many styles
and variations of automobiles that span almost a century, it’s very awesome to see. Here’s
a beautiful example of what you’re going to see out at Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion, take
a look at this beautiful 38′ Willy’s truck. Ron pleasure to meet you. Nice to meet you.
Very intriguing just the whole layout, you know it looks old and cluttered on the outside
but everything on the inside is brand new. It’s a 1938 Willy’s pickup, this build is
honestly the first time I put a Hemi in anything. You can’t go wrong with a Hemi. We bought
one of your fuel injection units and took an old-school fuel injection and adapted it
to it with a 528 Hemi, this is a 577, and we put one of your new ones on it. We couldn’t
see the wires actually so it’s really well done. The engine’s far enough back that I
can’t come straight up. Oh ok. So we did the stacks the same angle as the hood. Beautiful.
We had to build our own linkage, there’s no linkage available. Just the mixture of the
modern, the chrome, and the old school patina, you know it’s 1938 vintage outside, you couldn’t
tell otherwise. This honestly is just the way that I found it except we had to put new
bedsides on it because they were in too bad of shape but the fenders are original, the
panel’s original, the entire cab is original the front fenders, that’s just the way that
I found it. You know as you go along you build something, you know you just keep doing little
things, I love the old magnesium wheels so I got them front and back. That’s a 38′ Willy’s
straight axle. We adapted the original spindles but some of the straight axle cars when you
see them coming you can see the rack and I didn’t want that. If you look right here on
the frame. So I get ahold of the spindle. And you just push it up and down. Yeah, you
could turn the wheel with your finger, I just didn’t want my rack to lay down across. Yeah,
it takes away from the aesthetics. I wanted to see the axel, I didn’t want to see a rack.
Thaks so much for coming out. Thanks so much for the time. Hey, you bet. Now check out this hot rod, where are you
going to see one of these at? This Military inspired hot rod sports what looks to be a
50 caliber machine gun. Everything on it looks army issue from the tires to the grenade hood
emblem. The helmet on the carb is cool and check out that bullet. Check out the crosshairs
out in front of the driver’s cab. This ride has got a great vibe and feel. The bomber
seats and steering wheel round out this exceptional ride. And for all you youngsters out there, I bet
you don’t know what this or what it does! Now, this Model A truck has vintage all over
it. Gang check out the garage door opener on this vehicle, very cool at least we know
it is garage kept. Just look at how things were built back then, look at that differential.
See those vise grips, that’s hot rodding ingenuity. Here we can see that this ride has some modern
amenities like that ratchet strap, every car has its own story. And where else are you going to find a factory
427 big block? Look at this beauty right here. This 69′ Kingswood station wagon is based
on the Impala. These station wagons easily fit 9 people. This one sports a big block,
a 427 to boot. These small subtle badges are the only giveaway of the big block engine
inside. This is a great example of the kind of car you could order from Detroit back in
the late 60’s. There’s always an amazing selection of gassers out here at Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion,
check out this 41 Willy’s it’s a nice prime example. The interior is very sharp on this
Willy’s but check out those flames. One of my favorite things at Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion
is the drag racing, check it out. The drag racing is non-stop at Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion
with just about every category running under the sun. Dragsters, funny cars, altereds,
gassers, and door cars all leave there mark a the burnout box. Wow, these are cool steering wheels here.
How are you doing sir? Pretty good fellas, how ya’ll doing? Doing good, doing good. We’re
at the swap meet area now where they have those very hard to find parts that you just
can’t find anywhere else, you know if you are looking for that specific special bolt,
that intake or anything rare, you know this is the place to find it. Just take a look
at the collection of stuff that they’ve got here, trust me you will find what you are
looking for here. Now check out this new old stock cross ram intake, talk about killer
looks. These cross ram intakes used to be very popular back in the day. Consols, in
dash gauges pulleys and lots of miscellaneous items here. Check out this custom tricycle,
it looks like it’s been hot rodded. Alright, let’s go talk to one of these swap meet vendors.
How are you doing my name is Ray, I’m with Holley Performance. Hey, Ray, I’m Howdie’s
Hot Rods from Summerset, Kentucky. Tell us a little bit about some of the unique items
that you have here. As you can see we got intakes, traditional stuff, to die-cast here,
some NASCAR, to ship knobs, to skeletons. A little bit of everything. What about that
intake? Kind of a rare item, this an original Mickey Thompson cross ram intake, you know
it’s kind of rare, we got a Hilborn fuel injection system, complete system. You aren’t going
to find that everywhere. Yeah, and it’s perfect for this type of setting you know? And here’s
something pretty interesting, stuff like this right here, pull the headlights and it’s actually
got the little lights there, little turn signals work, stuff like that. You know I do this
right here, this is something kind of new, a lot of people have done and we do hydro
dipping, and I do this plate, something different. You know we got signs, we got motorcycles,
and minibikes, stickers, we even got stuff for Dodge guys. Now here’s something that
I built for my grandkid, them little battery operated Corvette. Battery power huh? Yeah,
that’s what it was, I cleaned it off and made a little wagon out of it. Pool stick? Yeah,
pool stick for the handle. Well, sir I really appreciate your time. Hey, I enjoy it every
year, I enjoy it, really do. Awesome, thank you. Alright, looks like we got some hard
parts over here. 10 bolt rear end, $100. And of course engine blocks. Got some engine heads,
little bit of everything. If you are looking for vintage parts, this is the place to find
them. Wow just look at this, that looks like a 409 engine, the valve covers are so distinguishable,
can’t go wrong with dual quads and a blower sticking out of the hood. Gasser, check out
this 55′ gasser, straight axel provided better weight distribution when launching, this one
is sharp. I got a buddy who’s got one of these, he’d love this thing here, fantastic, and
look at this, D & D racing, look at all the chrome on this, look at the paint, that paint
is fantastic. Big Block Chevy, big blower, looks like it’s got a magneto in there too.
Beautiful ride buddy. Love the chrome, those headers, let’s take a look at the interior
here. Wow look at that interior, oh yeah that vintage movie gas pedal, love the diamond
tuck stitch work, look at this a Corvette. Looks like a 62′ Corvette, boy is it slick
and super clean, check out that eight stack popping out of the hood and that paint, they
just don’t make them like this anymore. I just love the artistry that they had in these
years, every car had a name back then it seems, that psychedelic look, it’s all custom, look
at that gold paint, the pinstriping, all the little touches. It’s a work of art. That’s
super cool looking. It’s a Hemi, another Hemi, let’s take a look at this thing, it looks
like a dual quad small block on this bad boy. We’re in the drag pits now and man there are
just so many cars out here, I’m just a little bit overwhelmed. Let’s head over to the nostalgic
pro stock pits, these guys build race cars to commemorate and honor some of pro stocks
greatest legends. Saw your car we realized that wow, this is a throwback to the 70’s
pro stock, can you tell us a little bit about the car. It’s a tribute car to Reher Morrison
Shepard, 81 championship car, it was driven by the late Lee Shepard, the only car to win
both NHRA and IHRA in the same year. The Camaro looks just like it did back in the day, how
did you get all the details right? I was always a big huge pro stock fan and about 7 years
ago, good guys were going to try to do a nostalgia pro stock deal and I jumped in, I was buying
Reher Morrison motors for a gasser car and I talked to Dave and he thought it was a good
idea, while there were a lot of pictures in old hot rod magazines, David had the real
goods and suddenly a lot of interior shots and everything so it’s pretty close. Then
David also provides the horsepower. The drive chains are identical to what was used back
then right? You know there’s no power glides in these, these are old-fashioned Lenkos.
When you are shifting three times, you are leaving the first gear and shifting three
times in a period of probably 5 seconds. Just like the old days. Really glad to have you
guys out here. We’re really glad to be here and thank Holley. Hey Mike how are you doing?
Very nice to meet you. We see you got a Bob Glidden tribute car. I appreciate that it
was built to honor the memory of Bob and the whole Glidden family, all of their accomplishments
that they did for not only Ford but pro stock and bringing family back into pro stock racing,
you know Bob did a lot of stuff, set a lot of records and all of that but one of the
nicest men you’d ever want to meet, the whole family. The undefeated Fairmount no less.
So memorable to see this car you know, he won so many races with it. I’ve had so many
people come up from the stands and they get emotional, they get a tear in their eye and
they say I remember when you beat Bill Jenkins, I remember when you beat Billy the kid, and
I remember when you beat all these guys, I have people coming back the next day showing
me pictures of the car, the real car that they took so yeah, it’s a lot of fun, we’re
really having a lot of fun. That’s very cool and I noticed that all of those cars are here,
all the tribute cars so it’s almost like reliving those times again. It is, that’s what it’s
about for us, we’re not trying to set any records, we’re trying to keep these things
as close to the way they were then as we can, we’re running about the same speed, bringing
back memories and putting on a show, that’s all we really are. There’s nothing better
than staging those, bumping in with the Lenko and clutching, and pulling the lever. People
in the stands always go that was really cool, I say you should have seen it from where I
was sitting. This reunion is the best, just walk around, you’ll never see this many people
anywhere else. I look at these national events, football stadiums and baseball and they are
all talking about they can’t fill the stands, we got just the opposite problem here, both
sides of the stands are jammed packed, there are cars everywhere and you see all this unique
hot rods and gassers and street rods, front engine fuel cars, it’s just it’s very very
big. Thaks Ray, thanks, guys. Hey Scott, we’ve been talking with a bunch
of your fellow co-racers here and we definitely want to know some more about your car here.
What we’re looking at here is a 72′ Chevy Camaro, all steel body minus the hood, full
tube chassis, 500 plus cubic inch big block engine in it for power plant, runs pretty
consistently in the 8.60’s 8.70’s. When we initially started to get into this group with
Mark and the rest of the guys, a lot of the guys were building clone cars, and that’s
cool I really totally respect that, but there’s also a lot of guys that were out there that
helped the guys like Grumpy Jenkins and you know all these other racers get to where they
are at, if there weren’t backyard built cars that were out there competing as well, so
that’s kind of what we wanted to do, we wanted to just build something that reflected the
1970’s, possibly something that someone would have built at their own house or their own
shop that they were just out there trying to be competitive with. Right just along with
them. Yeah, I’ve been drag racing with some other groups and different bracket racing
and such since 1994, these guys have been awesome, you get hooked on these great venues,
what more can you ask for, doing a big long smokey burnout, dry hops, the crowd is going
crazy, I have the most fun before I’m even passed the finish line, we’re trying to preserve
what’s going on through the 70’s you know what I mean. Show what the pro sticks were
and trying to keep that vision alive. Thanks for talking with us Scott. yeah, thank you
very much. Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion also has what’s known
as cackle fest. It’s basically a celebration of the golden age of drag racing. On Saturday
night, they fire up these vintage dragsters, funny cars, and they leave them idling. The
nitro fuel mixture actually creates this distinct cackling noise that must be seen and heard.
The sound of the nitro-burning will leave your ears ringing and cause your eyes and
throat to sting, certainly one of the highlights to catch at Holley’s Hot Rod Reunion. Hey John. Hi. Your car caught our eye. The
motor is the whole thing of this car. This motor was Don Nicholson’s in his funny car
and I had the funny car years ago in the 70’s and we ran it on alcohol circuit and I ended
up in a divorce and I kept the motor, so it was in my garage for 47 years and I came down
here with some friends when they started all this cackle fest stuff and my buddy over there,
he said why don’t we build a car, put your motor together and go to the cackle fest.
So this is how we ended up down here with this, so we put a new blower on it, and touched
it up, but it’s original block and everything that he ran. I mean these engines are legendary,
you really don’t see them out there you know. No, very very few of them around and especially
one like this, it’s cast in magnesium. Oh wow even better. We go to several cars shows
you know, through the summer and that’s what we do, we just do the cackle fest with it.
I mean I see the white walls out back. Yes, that was some of the history they had of the
cars back in this day. And back in the day they just smoked the tires down the track,
they weren’t hooking up, right? No, it’s direct drive, there are no slippers, nothing, it’s
just direct drive and that’s it, you know and that’s how they did it with the smaller
tires. John what a striking throwback to the top fuel dragsters of yesteryear, it was a
pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much. Look forward to seeing you. I appreciate it. So you guys drove down from Canada I hear?
Yes, we did, it’s about 750 miles, it takes about 14 hours roughly. The way the car is,
it’s a 61′ Pontiac, it has a 409 Chevrolet engine in it which is pretty unusual, why
would you put a Chevrolet engine in a Pontiac, well the fact is this Pontiac was born with
a Chevrolet engine in it because it’s from Canada where I’m from so all Pontiacs of that
era had Chevrolet drivetrains in them, in fact, they had the X frame, it’s basically
a Chevrolet with Pontic sheet metal it came of the same assembly line as the Chevrolets
did in Ontario, Canada. Who would have known a Pontiac with Chevy power from the factory?
Enjoy yourself and thanks for coming to the Holley Hot Rod Reunion. Well yeah, thanks
for sponsoring it, we’re having a good time. Look at this 64′ Fairlane. Berry Clements,
nice to meet you. We saw your car cruising around and wow what a beautiful piece of machinery.
It’s a 64′ Fairlane of course, I bought it from a gentleman that did most of the work
on it, painting redone on it, a guy named Jack Lemon painted all the special painting,
he’s a motorcycle painter out of California and he’s a really good painter. When I saw
this car, that color and that top paint on it, it just really caught my eye. The paint
the trim, it’s all great, what a fantastic blast from the past. Alright, guys, we’re at the Holley booth,
as you can see they got a ton of cool shirts, we’re going to go down to the Holley booth
and see what else they’ve got over here. Hey Derek, how are you doing bud? Good, how are
you doing? Not much, just trying to stave off the heat here. So how are things going
here at the booth? Good good, a lot of traffic. Show us some of Holley’s new products. this
is something that we’ve just released in our Sniper series, it’s our 450 which is an 8
injector throttle body and they’re self-contained, you can see that it still looks like a traditional
carburetor. It is a 450 flange so it bolts right up to the intake. That’s a monster.
Yeah, absolutely, it will support up to 1500 horsepower naturally aspirated. Also, we’ve
started to do a lot of the in tank fuel pump systems, this particular one here, as you
can see is a billet component, as far as fitment, you actually cut a hole in the existing tank
or make the hole bigger, this actually pushes down, these turn and they lock on the face
or the opening of the tank itself, so it’s not as much welding or traditional drilling
holes to make this particular system work really well. That’s cool. And something else
that we really got back into is we sell the Mallory and old Mallory products also. Old
school stuff that was back in the day that Mallory was famous for, we’ve brought back.
Derek, thanks a lot for your time bud and we’ll catch up to you later. Thank you. That
is cool. Hey, I’m Terry. Hi Terry. Tina. Tina, hi Tina.
We saw you all driving in this very in the weeds Cadillac and it definitely caught our
eye, we definitely want to know a little bit about it. It’s a 63′ one owner, we bought
it from the one owner two years ago. Wow, it’s a nice example of a 63′ here I mean it
looks completely clean and straight, you know. Right off the line original, everything original.
Awesome, so where are ya’ll from? Stone Mountain. Stone Mountain. Georgia. Ok, wow so you guys
had quite a drive out here huh? Well, I hope you guys have a fantastic time out here and
hope to see you out here with more cars as well. Absolutely. Take a look at this beauty right here, it’s
actually built by a good friend of our at Holley. Man the guy’s an artist, he built
it all himself and this thing is a thing of beauty. We’re definitely going to get some
more insight with Ben here and find out what exactly we got here, this thing is just a
jewel. I just met Ben here and he’s going to tell
us a little bit about his beautiful 34′ pickup here. This truck started out as an original
34′ Ford, had a restoration on it when a customer bought it, he wanted to make a full custom
out of this vehicle, we incorporated the factory 34′ frame, which he wanted to maintain so
we took that whole frame, we boxed it, notched it, all the way through to get the right height
of the truck down to where it needed to be. Everything was designed around using an LSX
engine, this is a 416 stroker, all with 871 billet blower and running behind a Holley
Dominator with 16 fuel injectors, 8 under the hat, 8 in the intake manifold, backed
up to a 4L80 stage 5 RPM trans. This motor right now dynoed initially 980 on the engine
dyno so we backed it down considerably, he wanted to make a thousand horsepower so we’ve
gotten it down to where I’m going to try to keep it pretty conservative at about 600 to
the tire. Something that’s going to be safe for him to drive. But some remarkable performance
and features out of the Holley Dominator, as you’ve already heard we were able to get
a pretty substantial alcohol volt out of a pump gas vehicle which I’ve had more response
on that at this point in time than anything on the entire vehicle, is how are you doing
that, and to this point I don’t know any other ECU we could do that with other than the Dominator.
It just sounds fantastic, that lope and that quick starting, my god, it’s a push button
and you’ve got a blower on there and it starts on the first touch of the button. Instantaneous,
doesn’t matter if it sits for 5 hours or 10 minutes, you hit the key and it turns right
over. Incredible, well Ben I can’t say enough good things about your truck, we’re glad you’re
out here and hopefully we see you at LS fest as well. We’ll be there. I really like this car because it’s so different,
you don’t see them. Exactly, yeah, very unique, you know, Cyclones, a lot of people get them
confused with a Torino I take. Right, a lot of people think it is a Torino, yeah because
they came in very low numbers compared to a Torino. Right. Torinos built about 28,000
these were less than 7,000. It’s a 1968, it’s original 4-speed bucket seat car with a 302
four barrel car when it was new and it now has a small block. It’s a world product 427
stroker motor, so it’s 567 horsepower and 575 foot-pounds of torque. What a fabulous car, it’s dark black, Barracuda,
that windshield, I said we got to go talk to this guy. It was born this way, black with
gold interior. Really? So is this an all original car we’re looking at? Every piece of trim
was original but I put a fender on it here and a lot of work here and there, the interior
is not original but it’s custom which is close to the original. Original motor, 273, I built
it, put flat taps and you know, hydraulic lifters in it, my wife likes it a lot. Does
she really? Car shows, and different things. Wow, it’s a beautiful car, so how long have
you had it? 17 years. The NHRA Motorsports Museum touts Holley’s
Hot Rod Reunion as living history, we definitely learned a thing or two. I think you can see
why people love these vintage cars. Well thanks for joining me on this journey at Holley’s
Hot Rod Reunion, as you can tell we’ve only scratched the surface of what you can see
out here, so for all you car enthusiasts, you owe it to yourself to mark your calendar
and make it out here. I mean you are literally sitting on the differential, you better hope
that thing doesn’t blow, that would hurt.

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