Car Corner
Rod & Custom’s Americruise: San Antonio Style

August 1, 2000
By Scott Lewis

If you read Scott's Column you are aware that I have sold my house and moved into an apartment in preparation for building my new home. This has put a large tax on my spare time. I have been trying for the last couple of years to find a large-scale outdoor car show. However, all my attempts have failed miserably. Between lack of time, and missed opportunities, I just haven't been able to find an event near by worth attending.

However, I did manage to mark my calendar for Rod & Custom's Americruise. This is a combination car show and cross-country trek with some of the most beautiful cars you will ever see. I was blessed with the luck to show up as the group of cars leaving for this three day car show in Lincoln Nebraska left San Antonio from Vintage Air's facilities.

Vintage Air, by the way, is in the business of making aftermarket air conditioning systems for older cars, customs, hot rods, etc. If you are looking to add A/C to any car that was not equipped with it from the factory Vintage Air is the only name you need to know. Even if your older car was factory equipped with A/C, chances are Vintage Air can set you up with a much superior system for less than it would cost to repair your old system.

vintage_takeoff.jpg (38678 bytes)But I digress. The main point was to see some really nice custom cars as they headed off into the sunrise (they left at 8:00 in the morning).

What I noticed in Vintage Air's parking lot was a bunch of very friendly people with a real love for automobiles. There must have been another 30 or 40 people watching on as I was. I assume most of them worked at any of the other businesses in the area.

I counted 13 cars heading off to Nebraska. I managed to get some decent pictures with my Kodak DC280 digital camera. I wasn't sure how many cars would be there, so I left the camera on standard resolution rather than high resolution. I didn't know how many pictures I would be able to take, and didn't want to run out of memory if I took all high res. Pictures. In the end that was a mistake. I took a few good pictures that would have made great 8 X 10's had I used the higher resolution while the cars were parked. I changed the resolution, but ran into another problem. The camera required too much time to save images before it was ready to shot again. So I was unable to get pictures of each car as they pulled out of the parking lot. Next time I will leave it on high resolution for the stills, and low resolution for the moving pictures.

early_ford.jpg (48014 bytes)I am weak on my knowledge of cars of the vintage represented here. But I am still a big fan. Probably my favorite vehicle was the silver & orange early fifties Ford pickup. I don't know the year, but I figure 1953 give or take a couple of years. The paint was outstanding. It even had "Paint by Santini" on the tailgate. I have heard of Santini, and would venture to guess the owner paid as much for the paint job as I paid for my Camaro ($20K). Ouch! But it was extremely beautiful.

nash.jpg (32482 bytes)Next on my list of favorites was a blue 49 Nash. I know it was a 49 Nash because it said so on the rear license plate. It had fender skirts front and rear that were molded in. I assume from the quality of the bodywork and paint that the skirts were welded on. The blue was an amazing royal blue. The car has a very attractive digital instrument cluster in front of the steering wheel. Very smooth!

convertible.jpg (31935 bytes)Next was a rust colored convertible. I have no idea what it is, but it looked great. Another show quality car taking a 1000+ mile journey. Clearly these people aren't afraid to drive their cars. I would have loved to see this car with the top down. Considering it was going to be over 100 degrees that day I assume the driver was planning on getting the most out of his Vintage Air air conditioner.

studillac.jpg (31715 bytes)Only one car had its hood up. It was a Studebaker. studillac_engine.jpg (43200 bytes) Or maybe I should call it a Studillac. It had a Cadillac engine between its fenders. Notice the compact air conditioning compressor top center of the motor. This is an excellent example of how Vintage Air can put A/C in a street rod.

vintage_showcase.jpg (57418 bytes)It would be a crime if I didn't show you Vintage Air's own car. I didn't ask, but I assume this car is the shop's rolling showcase. It had a Power Tour 2000 sticker on the windshield. Obviously it went on Hot Rod Magazine's Pour Tour this year. Once again I have no idea what the car is, but that doesn't stop me from lusting after the massive wheel & tire combination barely covering those huge Bear Racing brakes. This car sounded too good to be slow. I am sure it would be as cool to ride in (get it, Vintage Air) as it was to look at.

53_suburban.jpg (53162 bytes)My last picture (for this column, there were more cars but this gives you the idea) was a 1953 Suburban. Since I own a 1999 Subruban, I thought it was necessary to put it in here.

The rest of the cars ranged from pretty nice to excellent. I would be glad to own any of them myself. That is about all I really have for you. If any of the owners of these cars want a copy of the original digital pictures (large enough to use as a desktop background on your computer), or even a print (I can print copies on my photo printer), just drop me line. I would be glad to help a fellow car nut in the enjoyment of his car.