Back Roads & Side Streets

If you can get away from speeding down the massive interstate system that crisscrosses our great country and slow your speed to fit into the state or county highway system, you will find some really great automotive jewels. Whether these jewels are in the shape of a small hometown automotive museums, the custom shops that you don’t see on television or the occasional rusty relic that really catches your eye, they are there to be found if you just slow down and hit the back roads & side streets.

Xtreme S10

Xtreme S10
2002 Chevrolet Xtreme S10
Article and photos by Larry Crain

Jonathon Lawrence of Greeneville, Tennessee owns this awesome example of what can be done with a factory stock 2002 Chevrolet Xtreme S10. These factory sport trucks looked pretty cool when they rolled off the assembly line but were capable of being turned into so much more. Case in point is what Jonathon did with his truck by turning it into a truly Xtreme S10.
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Volunteer Auto Club

27th Annual Volunteer State Auto Club Car Show
Greeneville, TN
Article and photos by Larry Crain

What started out as a rainy day in East Tennessee had everyone guessing as to what sort of turnout there would be for the 27th Annual Volunteer State Auto Club Car Show. But the old saying of “have it and they will come” held true because by the 10:00am starting show time, there was a steady gathering of vehicles in Hardin Park, where the show was held.
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The Henry Ford

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
Dearborn, Michigan
Article and photos by Larry and Barbara Crain

As an auto enthusiast, I enjoy all manner of cars and trucks, whether they are antique, classics, customs hot rods or all out race cars. I love seeing them in their natural habitat on the state highways or at the race tracks. But I also love seeing them on display at a local car show, in a personal collection, or in a museum. Over the years, I have viewed numerous personal collections and a number of museums, but nothing could have prepared me for the collection I saw recently at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation. Here’s just a glimpse at the highlights…and yes, that is the actual confetti from the winner’s circle celebration of the No. 21 Ford Fusion that Trevor Bayne drove to an unlikely victory in the 2011 NASCAR Daytona 500. The “Wow” factor was everywhere here!
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Freedom Rally

Minnesota June 2017
Article and photos by Larry Crain

Once again, my travels around our great country have had me crossing paths with what I hope you as auto enthusiasts would like to know and read about. The beginning of June saw me on the road in the far Northeastern corner of Minnesota heading toward Canada along scenic state highway 61, which follows the shoreline of Lake Superior. I was thinking how cool it would be to cruise this winding, picturesque road. Suddenly I saw a 1955 Chevy Bel Air coming down the road toward me followed by a wide variety of rods, customs and classics. First thing I thought of was, it must be a car club on a weekend outing, but nope that wouldn’t work because it was a Friday. This question was finally answered a little further down the road after seeing even more cars and trucks with what looked like magnetic signs on the doors. A stop at the historic Split Rock Lighthouse in Two Harbors, MN had several classic cars still in the parking lot. The magnetic signs on the doors gave me my first clue to research what was taking place.

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Was a Pony Now a Stallion

1966 Ford Mustang
Article by Larry Crain
Build photos by Dustin Foust
Show photos by Larry Crain

This awesome 1966 Ford Mustang, owned by Terry Minor of Columbus, Indiana, might look like just another pony car convertible and it was once just that, but now it is so much more. The so much more part happened when Terry made the decision to turn the car over to Classic Restorations of Floyds Knobs, Indiana. When the shop got the car, it was a running, driving complete car, but it was an older, very poorly done restoration, which had already began rusting out a second time. This car was truly in sad shape with the original frame rails rotted and the floors patched several times. The car was an original 289 automatic car to begin with and it had already been converted to a 5-speed by the time it got in their shop. A lot of changes were in the works for this Mustang that would eventually turn it into a stallion.

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Rockford Files Tribute

1978 Pontiac Firebird
Article by Donna Loebler and Larry Crain
Photos by Larry Crain

The Rockford Files starring James Garner aired on the NBC Network between 1974 and 1980. This television show ranks as one of the most popular detective shows of all time. Besides James Garner, the other star of the show had to be his character’s car, a Pontiac Firebird Esprit. James Garner did all of his own stunt driving and personally chose the Firebird to use in the show because of its exceptional handling. Two of this show’s biggest fans would have to be Donna and Jeff Loebler of Leeds, Alabama. If there was any doubt of how big of fans they are, you only to need to spend some time with them and their 1978 Pontiac Firebird Esprit that is a four-wheel tribute to James Garner and the Rockford Files.

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Wilderness Trail Run

Kingsport, Tennessee
Article and photos by Larry Crain

The Kingsport Antique & Rod Club, having celebrated over 40 years of as a car club, is the oldest in Kingsport and knows how to put on a great car show. Over those many years, the show was held in different locations, but their car show, called the Wilderness Trail Run, was moved to downtown Kingsport around Main Street and the Historic Train Station in 2003, which has proved to be a great move.

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Andy, Opie and Racing

Article and photos by Larry Crain

Starting out on North Carolina State Highway 421 and traveling east from the Tennessee state line and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, you will see a lot of countryside that still echoes with the sound of its automotive past and some of the present.

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2nd Annual Sundown on Depot

Greeneville, Tennessee
Article and photos by Larry Crain

It should not be surprising what can come about when a group of hot rodders decide to get together and do something for a good cause. That is exactly what happened in May of 2016 when a group of guys decided to put together a car show to benefit Holston United Methodist Home for Children in Greeneville, Tennessee. The first show was a success so far as money raised for the benefit, but rainy weather kept participation numbers down. This did not deter the group from having the show again, and having the show held in conjunction with the Annual Iris Festival, was a guarantee of having spectators. This time around the sun was shining and the auto enthusiasts came out strong in support of this great cause.

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40 Plus Years In The Making

1957 Chevrolet 210
Article and finished photos by Larry Crain
Build and personal photos supplied by Hoyt Allison

This could be one of those real long and convoluted stories about a man and his car, but I will try to keep it short; notice I said try. But to tell the story of how this car came to be a beautiful piece of four-wheel art, we need to go way back in its history.

The start of this history is a little blurred, but somehow this 1957 Chevy 210 two door sedan found its way from Pennsylvania to Georgia during the 1960’s. The car found itself in the hands of a couple of old hot rodders that didn’t have much use for the factory 6 cylinder and the 3 speed manual tranny. The sedan was then equipped with a 327 and a Muncie 4 speed, and those guys had some fun with the car as a hot rod.

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