Once again, we came, we saw, and we conquered ... the open road, that is. There's something about getting behind the wheel and winding off the miles. This year, six teams of automotive nomads again roamed into the big, vacant parking lot on Brice Road from the highways and byways of America.
To try and tell all the stories about what happened during that 48 hours or so of road time is never easy. The Caravans are a happening that you really have to participate in to understand. In some cases, we had problems, which is possible when a large contingent of vintage iron hits the interstate. We all survived, though, and arrived at the 2001 Mopar Nationals with energy to spare.
The tales you're about to read are true. The names of those involved have been left intact to protect the reputations of the guilty. That said, here's a multistate scrapbook on the run for fun in 2001.
Detroit, Michigan- Motor City Madmen
The Walter P. Chrysler Museum is a great place to start any tour, and after spending some time looking at all the cool eye candy, Publisher Jerry Pitt led the troops on a one-day jaunt south to Columbus, Ohio. This is the shortest of the half-dozen cruises, but had a plethora of vehicles that rolled out of Auburn Hills, through the outskirts of the Motor City, then down into the Buckeye State via Toledo. Rain played a role on Thursday this year, hitting hard as the destination got closer, but there was no stopping the Motown shakers from reaching the end of the road. Just north of Columbus, the sun was shining, and the Detroit tour was on Brice by late afternoon.
Hangin' Ten ... In Illinois?
How Rick Bottom Deals With His Misplaced YouthWhat's a guy to do? You live in Illinois and build cars for people, but your heart lives west of The Land of Lincoln, to hot waves, beach bunnies, and shiny woodies. Rick Bottom, proprietor of Rick Bottom Custom Motorsports in Mendota, Illinois, found a way to satisfy the curl urge when the PT Cruiser exploded onto the market a short time ago, despite the fact that the closest sand is in Dunes State Park in Indiana.
It's no secret that the PT's little Neon engine needs some help, so Rick added a Hahn Race Craft Turbo Kit and a turbo-compatible exhaust manifold to the car. An MBRP exhaust system was installed with a dual exit at the rear to let it breathe, while a strong Optima battery juices the ride.
Next, a combination of aftermarket body parts was added. A PTeazer grille and lower fascia went up front. PTeazer also supplied the rear roll pan and the '39 Ford-style taillight assemblies. The woodie panel kit is from www.ptcruisin.com and for rolling stock, Billet Specialties wheels with Pirelli tires are under the chassis.
Suspension was the final task; Rick installed a complete Air Ride Technologies suspension, with HAL's QA1 struts and shocks at the front and back, respectively, assisting the Firestone airbags. A set of Wilwood brakes readily visible behind the big rims slow the blown beachcomber down.
Just when we thought it couldn't get any cooler, Rick lent us the just-finished car to make the Caravan run from Minnesota to Ohio.
Nothing like cruisin' in style;...
Nothing like cruisin' in style; Jerry and Janice Rouse's '70 GTX leaning on the loud pedal on I-75 and heading toward the Mopar mecca in Ohio.
Thanks to the museum's Barry...
Thanks to the museum's Barry Dressel and Brant Rosenbusch, the Detroit tour was able to display their cars up on the entrance of the Walter P. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills.
Lunch was a quiet affair in...
Lunch was a quiet affair in Marion, Ohio, where we took advantage of the nice weather ... for a while. Rain hampered many on Thursday, and we caught more than our fair share as Columbus, Ohio, approached.
You have to admit, ol' Bolig...
You have to admit, ol' Bolig fit right in with Rick Bottom's PT cruiser. Like to see him ride that board, though.
Here's the Caravan getting...
Here's the Caravan getting ready to leave from MAS Racing on Wednesday morning.