Sunday, September 9, 2012

Syracuse Nationals: Street Rod Heaven

As far a s big shows goes, the Syracuse Nationals is up there.   Thousands of cars, as far as the eye can see in all directions.  Any style, any era, a mecca for the automobile --mild to wild.

Johnny & I in the souvenir photo

I was visiting Upstate New York for my wife's high school reunion which also fell on the same weekend the 'Nats' an hour south in the town of Vestal.
Her old college instructor/cousin "Johnny" Butchko lives in nearby Binghamton, and has always been into cars, invited me to "a car show" earlier in the season.  I thought, "Oh, that's nice, a local car show, no big deal."  Not until the dateline got closer to the east-coast trip did Johnny hint that the car show would host 7000 cars.  And I still wasn't taking it seriously enough!

So we landed that Wednesday in Syracuse, NY (due to an airline mistake), it was two days before the big car show, and already the streets were buzzing with roadsters & coupes!

By Friday morning I was in Binghamton, NY.  Johnny picked me up at a local Dunkin Donuts and we drove to the show in his Model A hot rod.  Now I was revved-up after seeing street-machines all over southern NY for the last few days. 
V12 Lincoln powered A coupe

The one-hour highway drive to Syracuse in a open car with an open exhaust was sensory overload and a drive I would not soon forget.  My ears rang for hours, but with no lasting effects from the auditory distress.  I know you are reading this Johnny and I'm fine, really!

A great mix of all sorts of cars --something for everybody indeed!  I gravitated towards the traditional hot rods of course and there were a lot to see.  As far as I was from so-cal the influences are still strong.

Eastern themes are ever present, radically modified bodies, flashy paint and channeled cars abound.  If anybody is the embodiment of Right-Coast hot rodding it was my host Johnny.  The Model A we drove to the show in is purely Eastern, and it was very cool.  One car of many he's owned in his lifetime.

Our proximity to rural populations produce the best rat rods and there were many that paid to enter.  This would be one of the best:

Dirt Track/Formula-1/Antique/Street Rod Combo

The variety was uncanny.  I perhaps saw only half the cars there, but I think I got my fill. 
There were some cars I can proudly say I would never have never imagined.  Look at this one:

Girls look the same east or west coast.  Johnny & I made some new friends.

Nubby & Johnny had never met before. Boom --instant friends!

Also cool was meeting Nubby, custom painter & pinstriper from the TV show American Chopper.  A super friendly and approachable fellow.  Only in the east coast!

A car that is the epitome of "The Nats".

If it weren't for the super hot and humid weather it could have been even more fun.  But summer is for driving and binging out the good stuff.  LA has summer practicably all year, car shows all year.  New Yorkers make the most of their summers with enormous car show events!
It's Canadian!


  1. what a great time - come back anytime!!!

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