Moonshine Rod Run

It seems we all have our holiday traditions; what would Christmas be without a tree, what would Thanksgiving be without turkey (or ham in some homes), what would the 4th of July be without at least one 3rd degree burn.  And for Marie and I, Father’s Day has always meant… Car Show!

While we lived in St. Louis, we went to a monstrous car show in Forest Park that covered square miles with every conceivable kind of custom and classic cars, trucks, tractors and motorcycles.  Since we’ve lived here (2001), we have attended the Hard Times Street Rod Club Moonshine Rod Run in the Newport City Park every Father’s Day weekend.

Newport has a very nice park, and the Hard Times Street Rod Club does an excellent job of presenting this show.  This year the attendance, both in terms of lookers and in cars displayed, was back up to the level it was when we first came here.  When the economy crashed, this show suffered some.  We did notice that all the tags we saw indicated the cars were from Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.  We saw no tags from Georgia or Florida as we had in the past.  So while the numbers are up again, people are not willing to come long distances for the show.

This year the Moonshine Rod Run again boasted over 500 classic cars ranging from the 1920’s to 1958.  Some were stock restorations, some were fully customized, most were somewhere between.  Some were breathtakingly beautiful, all were interesting.  If you like classic cars, that is.

Presented below are my picks as Best of Show.  I thought I’d be really clever and use the three to seven photos I took of each car or truck  to make animated GIFs (mini slideshows) for each, but after spending about 4 hours resizing the photos, making the animations, uploading them to Flickr, and linking back to them from here, I found upon viewing the post that THEY DON’T ANIMATE!  This has worked when I upload my files to the blog, but something with the way Flickr does things kills the animation.  I was so disappointed!   So I’ll  cram in as many thumbnail images as I can, click them to pull up the full size photo for any that pique your interest.  Ready? Here we go…

Best Rat

click to enlargeThis 1924 Star truck owned by Jimmy Ellenburs of Rutherford NC would be considered a Rat Racer because of the silliness he incorporated into the truck; like the animal traps (not set) placed around the truck, and the Tea Party Express signage on the doors as well as the moonshine still in the back.  What caught my eye was the very well-done wooden body work on the rear of the truck.  Note: In this case Tea Party does not refer to a political affiliation, but to the slang for a moonshine swigging.  Although, it could have been a double entendre; given the flags.

Best Interior

The nicest interior work was found on this 1948 Cadillac owned by Chris Ryan of Ninety Six, NC. No, he did not let me climb in and test it out, but I’m sure it was quite comfy, and the HUGE speedometer would make it easy to keep tabs on your speed. Something that would be handy with that modern caddy power-plant under the hood.

Most Unusual Grill

I found this 1936 Pontiac, owned by Ricky A Hall of White Pine TN to have a unique grille, as it wraps on up over the center of the hood. Mr. Hall called out that photos are $20, I told him when I was done I’d tell him how many I took and he could pay me. 🙂

Most Bizarre

This 1931 Twin Coach delivery truck owned by Harry & Linda Smith of Powell TN was the most bizarre looking vehicle in this show. It looks like a trolley car and the divers position is about 1/2 of the way back along the length of the vehicle Inside there is a large flat deck in front of the driver (over the engine). There are only a handful of these trucks left and they were used to deliver bread or milk. This one was a bread truck, the loaves of bread were stacked on the big shelf in front of the driver (maybe engine heat helped keep the bread warm?) and there were (originally) shelves in the back where boxes of pastries were kept. The original driver’s seat resembled a bicycle seat, Mrs. Smith quickly insisted that a standard seat be installed. Mr Smith says that most of the old buses that you see in movies from the 1930 were built by Twin Coach, an Ohio company, these trucks were bought out by the Devco company and evolved into the standard Bread Truck we know so well.

My Overall Favorites

As far as a favorite I’m torn between this 1928 Buick with tear-drop trailer, owned by Johnny Hayes of Dallas NC and the 1931 Studebaker (below) owned by Bob Stevens of Hampton TN. Both are beautiful cars with tons of class. I am particularly fond of the 30’s era touring cars. I think the Packard is my favorite, (didn’t see any of those this year) but these are both great cars as well.


Others Worth Noting

As I mentioned, there were over 500 cars on display, but these others stood out from the crowd.

This 1933 Hupmobile, owned by Doug Patton of Clyde NC is 1 of only 13 left rolling the roads.

1932 Lincoln owned by Willard and Marie Robertson of Reidsville NC.  These touring cars offered TONS of rear seat leg room; you won’t see that in modern cars!  We asked about the Greyhound radiator cap decoration; was that a custom addition of his own?  Mr. Robertson said that there were only a few cars made with this decoration, but yes, it was an original detail.  His however had a peeling chrome job on it.  When he took it in to have it re-chromed, he was told that one hind leg was cracked, and they could not chrome it.  So he decided to buff off the chrome and underneath is was solid brass, which he likes better than the chrome anyway!  We agreed.

1952 Kaiser Manhattan owned by Ed Deziel of Seymour TN. I’ve seen Kaiser jeeps from the WWII era, but this is the first Kaiser car I’ve encountered.

The Kaiser features an unusual dash arrangement and this one even had the original flat-head six engine.


This truck labeled as Fountain City Wrecker Service is really neat.  Marie took the photo but neither of us recorded the info about the truck.  Oops!




And Marie’s favorite was this 1946 Chrysler.  It was for sale too. Marie says, “Next time I get rich, I’m buying one like this.”





The park itself is spread out with lots of shade trees and good walking paths, so attending the show even in summer time is a pleasant experience.

There are always vendors to peruse; mostly targeting the classic car restoration crowd, but there are a variety others too.  One was selling bed sheets!?  And of course there is food.   We always plan on eating lunch at the show.   At least two local churches provide the food and the proceeds go back to support the church.  These two fellows were the cooks for the Freewill Baptist Church pavilion and they were cooking up a storm.

And that, Dear Reader, was how Marie and I spent Fathers Day.  I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at the Hard Times Hot Rod Club car show.  Below is a little slideshow I made for the local Tourism Council from the 2004 car show.  I hope you enjoy that as well.


OK, one more… here’s a great sha-boom, sha-boom nostolgia track with classic advertiesemnts… remember any of these?

About Doug

Jesus follower, writer, gardener, Sci-Fi fan, Beagle herder, occasional author, mountain man. My dogs think I'm a super-hero.

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