Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Congrats! Phil Pickens 1965 Shelby GT350


Phil Pickens
1965 Shelby GT350
38th Mid America Shelby & Ford Meet
Tulsa, OK
June 17, 2012

Mr. Pickens '65 Shelby was recently restored by Orlando Mustang just in time for the Tulsa Show. Looks like one happy customer to us!  Interested in a concours restoration on your Shelby or Mustang, give s a call! 407-688-1966

~The Gang @ Orlando Mustang

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hot Rod Power Tour - Prologue

Saturday, June 9, 2012 – Arlington, Texas

Saturday's Long Hauler ceremony was held at the Quicktrip Park at 9
am. I rode to the event with Gene's son in his 2006 Lotus Elise. Quite
a ride! All the Long Haulers got a nice embroidered Hot Rod magazine

Total Power Tour miles we traveled (Detroit to Dallas)...
1,867 miles

Some final thoughts...

What I learned on this trip...
it's not the destination that's important, it's the journey getting
there and who you meet along the way!

Best person I talked to on the Power Tour ...
Don Garlits, a super nice gentleman.

Best car I saw (trailered show car, vendor display only, not driven on
the Power Tour roads)...
1956 Ford Convertible “SunCammer” - 5+ year build, original 427 SOHC
motor, high end construction, high end award winner, just stunning!

Best vehicle that I saw, driven on the Power Tour route...
2013 Raybestos/Roush Stage 3 Mustang – just AWESOME!


Best Country Road to drive on (out of Michigan, Illinois, Missouri,
Oklahoma and Texas)...
Southwest Michigan had the best scenic, curvy, isolated 2 lane country roads.

Best Car Museum I saw (out of Roush, Henry Ford, Ypsilanti, Gilmore,
Roush Car Collection - free, self guided tour, 100+ vehicles,
IMSA/NASCAR race cars, prototypes, One of ones, a Boss 429 Mustang
#429, historical cars, NO ropes or barriers around vehicles, amazing
range of vehicles!

Most entertaining car event at the daily stops...
Optima battery autocross event - you can see and hear how the high
buck muscle cars perform.

Best hospitality stop (out of Mid America Motorworks, Lane Automotive
and Covercraft)
Mid America had the best Power Tour car turnout, very organized event
and the free food was great.

Best Car License Plate I saw...
on a 1969 Z-28 Camaro: Z YA LATR

Most thankful for...
mild weather throughout the Power Tour. High temperatures only reached
low 90's with a breeze in Dallas on the last day. I was dreading
driving in high 90's or in heavy, rainy weather.

Didn't like...
Poor Wi-Fi service at several hotels we stayed at. That's why these
emails have been delayed.

The 2013 Power Tour 7 day route is still pending but it will start
next year in Dallas!
-Mark R

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Hot Rod Power Tour - Day 7

Friday, June 8, 2012 – to Arlington, Texas (QuikTrip Park)

267 miles travel distance

Today's weather was sunny and clear, morning temperature in the low
70's, highs in the low 90's

Final driving day of the Power Tour!

Leaving Stillwater, Oklahoma, we made our way south on back country
roads that ran next to Interstate 35 South. The Oklahoma roads are
really scenic and great to drive on.

Our last hospitality stop for the Power Tour was in the small town of
Pauls Valley, Oklahoma, home of Covercraft. They make car and seat


We found a nice shady spot to park and headed to the porta-lets before
heading inside for the factory tour and free lunch.


We found six porta-johns nearby and headed for them. Three of them
were marked with blue signs marked MEN and three were marked with pink
signs marked WOMEN. There was a line of 5 guys waiting for their turn
and no women in line. The women's porta-johns were all empty. Gene
needed to go real bad and was going to be a “rebel” and use the
women's porta-johns. Without looking around he walked to the women's
section. As he put his hand on the door to open the women's stall, a
woman appeared out of nowhere and loudly said...


Gene's face turned bright red as he slinked back to the end of the
men's waiting line.

As the woman was entering the porta-john she said...

“These are for sprinkling not tinkling!”

Covercraft served us a free lunch (pulled beef, coleslaw, beans,
cookie and drink) and gave us a free t-shirt. We toured the factory
where they make car and seat covers. We walked around the parking lot
and looked at cars for awhile. Cars were still arriving when we left.

As we were driving to our last stop of the tour, in Dallas, we found
ourselves in a group of about 10 Power Tour cars at 70 mph on
Interstate 35. Among them was the 2013 Raybestos Roush Mustang that I
sat in at the Roush factory in Detroit, just last Friday! The car
accelerated strong and sounded awesome.

“Three Highs”

The back roads we were driving on ended up merging with Interstate 35
South into Dallas. There's a lot of road construction in the area, so
Gene drove the last portion of the day's drive, since he knew the
area. I've seen freeways above roads before but never 3 freeways above
the Interstate road. Gene said they're called “3 highs” and there's
even a “4 high” in another part of Dallas (5 highways crossing over)!

We pulled into our last stop for the tour, QuikTrip Park in a suburb
of Dallas. (QuikTrip is like Florida's 7 Eleven – convenience stores).


We walked around the parking lot and visited all the vendors. We
watched the autocross event in a nearby parking lot. This was a
invitation only, qualifying autocross event for the final autocross
event at the Las Vegas SEMA show this November.

The fastest autocross car we saw (30 second lap time) was a 2006
Lamborghini Gallardo V-10 that was one of the top 3 qualifiers at this

The attached photo is a “rat rod” we saw in the parking lot at
Covercraft. It was a scary vehicle build because of the Chevy motor
with a 6-71 blower and the skinny and tall tires. The driver can
barely see over the balding front tires!

The Power Tour closing ceremony is tomorrow for all those that made
all 7 stops on the Power Tour (Long Haulers).

-Mark R 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hot Rod Power Tour - Day 6

Thursday, June 7, 2012 – to Stillwater, Oklahoma (Kicker Corporate Complex – a high end car audio company)

237 miles travel distance.

Today's weather was overcast, morning temperature in the high 60's, highs in the mid 80's.

Our hotel room for Wednesday night was west of Miami, Oklahoma. The Power Tour was headed south from Miami, then west to Stillwater. We decided to head west then south to Stillwater through some back country roads. Oklahoma roads are not that great. They have expansion joints in the roads that shake your car. However, the Oklahoma countryside is worth seeing.

We stopped at the boyhood home of Jim Thorpe, a famous Oklahoman athlete from the 1930's, in Yale, Oklahoma. The quaint wood frame house was closed so we took some photos and moved on. We arrived in Stillwater around 10:30 am.

I thought Stillwater. Oklahoma (about an hour west of Tulsa) would be a small sleepy town. It turns out it's home to Oklahoma State University (OSU). It's a big and vibrant college town with large athletic fields and dormitories, Because of 2 inches of rain yesterday, the venue for today changed from the Kicker Corporate headquarters to an OSU athletic field about 10 minutes away.

“Watching the cars go by”

Gene was tired of walking around parking lots looking at cars so today we decided to sit in lawn chairs (in the shade) and watch the Power Tour cars arrive through the only entrance to the parking lot. We spent 3 hours sitting and taking pictures of the cars driving by at 5 mph. The cars were still arriving when we left!

Tomorrow we complete the Power Tour in Arlington, Texas (near Dallas).

On Saturday morning, the “Long Haulers” (those that drove and stopped at all 7 cities on the Power Tour) will get a goody bag.

-Mark R 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Hot Rod Power Tour - Day 5

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 – to Miami, Oklahoma (Buffalo Run Casino)

355 miles - longest travel distance on the Tour

Today's weather was sunny and clear, morning temperature in the mid 60's, highs in the mid 80's

Today's route through central Missouri was off the beaten path and was marked as a “scenic route” on the road map. We traveled from the east side of Missouri to past the west side of Missouri into eastern Oklahoma. Central Missouri has some great curving roads with large elevation changes. It was a great drive with only some interstate travel today.

Part of our route today was near the Missouri Route 66 road that was running parallel to the interstate. There were plenty of souvenir shops along the way but we didn't stop to investigate.

Casinos are everywhere in Oklahoma!

We didn't see any buffalo along the way when we arrived at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma around 2 pm. We briefly walked inside the casino to check out the restaurant. Nothing special. We walked the parking lot looking for interesting cars.

“1972 Chevy Super Crew Cab Pickup Truck with Quadra Steer ”

On the way to the casino we were passed by a 1972 Chevy pickup with a crew cab. Gene was confused because in 1972 there were no crew cab Chevys. When we got to the Casino stop we looked for this truck. It turned out to be an interesting vehicle. We talked to the owner, a young guy traveling with his family. He said he took a 2002 Chevy pickup frame and running gear (5.3 liter engine with 4 speed automatic and interior seats) and added a 1972 Cheyenne C-10 pickup body and grafted on a Suburban “crew cab” to make a 3 door crew cab (2 doors on the passenger side and only the driver side door on the other side). He then added a 6 foot bed. The Quadra-Steer setup turns the rear wheels in the opposite direction as the front wheels, only at speeds below 10 mph. Gene thought the pickup looked understated, clean and attractive with the 2002 alloy wheels and the clean blue and white paint 1972 style paint job.

The attached photo shows the rear truck tires turning in the opposite direction of the front tires.

-Mark R 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hot Rod Power Tour - Day 4

Tuesday, June 5, 2012 – to Madison, Illinois (near St. Louis)

174 miles - shortest travel distance on the Tour

Today's weather was bright, sunny, clear, morning temperature in the
low 60's, highs in the low 80's

Our second hospitality stop (of 3 this week) was a late morning stop
at Mid-America Motorworks.They sell parts for Corvettes and air cooled


We pulled into the massive grass parking lot of the facility (again in
the middle of farm country) around 10:15 am. There must have been
several hundred cars parked in the grass field on the facility with a
constant stream of Power Tour cars coming into the facility throughout
the morning.

They started serving our free lunch at 11:00 am. It was fried chicken,
beans cole slaw, cookie and a soft drink. It was community seating
(long tables) under a large tent for lunch. We sat next to an older
couple who drove their 1969 Mustang that was getting 15 mpg with a
2.75 rear end gear (?).

We walked around the facility and toured their small museum. The
museum was mostly Corvette race cars, prototypes and historical
Corvettes (the last C4 and C5 Corvettes made). I'm not a Corvette guy
so I wouldn't recommend making a special trip to see this museum.

We walked around the parking lot looking at cars for awhile. There was
a section of cars for sale but we didn't see anything interesting.


For the first time on this trip, we got confused reading the official
Power Tour route directions. I was driving and Gene was navigating. We
were headed towards St. Louis but the route directions said head
towards Indianapolis (to take a smaller local highway to St. Louis)
The road split into two. I took the right hand on ramp lane, towards
St. Louis, when I should have taken the left hand on ramp. About 100
yards into the wrong lane, Gene realized his mistake and said “WRONG
WAY, WRONG WAY, MARK!”. Thinking quickly, I took a single lane road to
the left, going against traffic that connected to the left lane. Again
Gene said, “WRONG WAY, WRONG WAY, MARK!”. The road was clear and only
about 100 yards long. We made it to the correct on-ramp without
incident. No harm done.

We arrived early to the day's stop in Madison, Illinois at Gateway
Motorsports Park (a dragstrip)


We watched some Power Tour cars drive on the dragstrip for awhile. We
decided to leave the venue early and head into St. Louis (across the
river) to play “tourists” and see a local attraction.

Right next to the Mississippi river is the Gateway Arch (part of the
National Park Service).


I really enjoyed taking the trip up to the top of the arch (630 feet)
and looking out the viewing windows at the top. We watched a
documentary on how they built the stainless steel monument. It was an
engineering feat to construct this arch in the mid 60's to a tolerance
of 1/64 this of an inch! I highly recommend visiting this monument.

-Mark R

Hot Rod Power Tour - Day 3

Monday, June 4, 2012 – to Champaign, IL

317 miles - second longest travel distance on the Tour.
Time change to Central Standard Time.

Today's weather started out with overcast skies and no rain. Our first
day in shorts!

Our first of three hospitality stops this week was at Lane Automotive

where they served us hot dogs and drinks. The place was a massive
building in the middle of nowhere that sold all kinds of circle track
parts. We walked around the showroom and looked at all the cars in the
parking lot.

The roads we drove today were mainly Indiana farm roads (not too much
Interstate). We passed agricultural communities where the main crop
was corn. There were corn fields in all directions. On some straight
stretches of roads we were the only ones on the farm roads, for as far
as we could see.

As we drove through small towns along the way, we saw people in lawn
chairs out by the side of the road waving at us. This was also the
first time we followed a group of 6 Power Tour cars and travelled as a

“Following a wagon car”

The “wagon car” was the most interesting car we followed today. As
Gene was driving he saw a car ahead that had a large black pole
sticking up above the vehicle (?). We really couldn't see the vehicle
because the cars ahead were blocking the view. Eventually, we saw the
car up close. This vehicle was a full size replica of a red “Radio
Flyer” wagon with a full size black handle sticking up from the front
bumper! Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of it.

We pulled into our tour stop for the night – the University of
Illinois Assembly Hall. It was a large parking lot surrounding an
enclosed domed basketball facility. It started to lightly rain, so we
weren't able to walk around as much as we would have liked.

“Ready for takeoff”

Definitely, the most interesting vehicle we saw in the parking lot
today can best be described as an airplane and car mixture. A young
guy built a custom frame with a 5.9 Cummins turbo diesel engine
surrounded by a homemade jet fighter airplane body (with the wings and
tail cutoff) It had a straight axle steering on the front and
hydraulic steering on the back (4 wheel steer)

We enjoyed talking to this eccentric young guy.

Question: “How did you get a title and tag for this vehicle?”
Answer: “I just put on a tag from another car, The police have never
asked for my registration or insurance. Plus I have replica machine
guns on both sides”.

Question: “What kind of vehicle is this?”
Answer: “It's a Peterbilt. I built it myself and my name is Peter”.

I hope he gets a feature article in Hot Rod magazine. See the attached
photo of his vehicle.

-Mark R