Andy Brizio is such an icon in the world of hot rodding that he is referred to as “the Rodfather”. So when the Rodfather says that after forty years of cross-country hot rod tours the next one will be his last, you know no hot rodder would refuse to be a part of it. Among the many people accompanying Andy Brizio on his recent and reportedly final cross-country trek was his son Roy and Andy’s long term friend Gary Meadors, founder of Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, along with his son Marc.
Andy and an entourage of one hundred hot rods and close to 200 people recently completed a round trip cross-country tour. The first part of the trip totaled 1932 miles, surely destiny considering all of the deuce coupes that were part of the tour. Rendezvousing at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on September 14, 2012, participants had time to do some high speed runs on the salt flats. More than one of the street rods on the tour were part of the “Bonneville 200 mph Club”, with one of them wearing its salt spray from the flats with pride all the way to the tour’s final destination. Leaving the salt flats, the tour stopped at Reno, Nevada then continued on to Wyotech in Laramie, Wyoming, known for their hot rod building training program. From there it was on to Northern Colorado, stopping at Pinkee’s Hot Rod Shop in Windsor, Colorado. That’s where I caught up with the tour on September 15th, spending the evening drooling over the world-class hot rods on tour and mingling with the car culture legends that were there. In addition to the touring rods, there were numerous local street rods lining the streets around Pinkee’s that had come out to be a part of the evening’s action.
The next day, September 16, the tour left Windsor and pushed on with stops over the next few days at hot rod shops and car collections in Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. Their final destination was Indianapolis, Indiana, where the tour visited the Indianapolis 500 for a couple of laps around the brickyard, followed by a tour of the Speedway Museum. Following this, the rods joined the Goodguys 2nd WIX Filters Speedway Nationals going on in Indianapolis.
Following the Goodguys Nats, on September 23rd the tour left Indy, taking a southern route back to California through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.
Two things that made Andy Brizio a hot rod household name and earning him the title “the Rodfather” was winning the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster Award in 1970 and introducing the “Instant T” hot rod kit car, taking fiberglass bodied hot rods mainstream. Andy is credited with saving hot rodding and keeping the torch burning through the 1970s when many were marking the hobby off as dead due to increasingly stringent safety, emissions and fuel economy requirements for automobiles.
Andy Brizio’s first cross-country rod trip that received press coverage was in 1969 and over the next forty years he made over two dozen similar trips, stating the purpose was to show that hot rods can and should be driven and enjoyed. Fittingly, Andy Brizio turned 80 years young while on this 2012 cruise, which he says is his final. We all hope he changes his mind! Happy Birthday to a true hot rod legend!
View the attached slide show of many of the cars from the cruise that stopped at Pinkee’s Hot Rod Shop on Saturday September 15th in Windsor, Colorado. View the attached You Tube video as the hot rods leave Windsor the morning of September 16th and continue on another fun day of cross-country cruising.
This week’s Trivia Question: Where did the term “hot rod” come from?
Answer to last week’s Trivia Question: Push button automatic transmissions were offered by Ford on the Edsel, and by Chrysler and American Motors on select models beginning in the late 1950s through the early 60s.