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Chuck & “The Princess” 33 Ford Coupe

Hoppers Auto Club, Fall Halloween Auto Show
Stephens City, VA
Oct. 23, 2011

 Pictures By Charles Shotwell aka Chuck the Slacker
2 Pages

Our little band of cruisers left Stafford, VA on Saturday to attend the annual Hoppers Auto Club, Fall Halloween Auto Show.  It’s an 83 mile cruise so we decided to run up the day before the show and motel overnight so we would not be so tired the day of the show.  Dan & Ramona did that last year and it seemed to work out just fine.  Dan reserved rooms about a block away from the event….a really cool idea.  We checked in then walked to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner….then back to the motel’s front porch and a few hours of conversation while we enjoyed the cool evening.

Sunday morning, after breakfast we started to leave and found that the hot rods had developed a glacial crust on them….frost!  That was weird since they all usually live inside a garage!  After scraping off the frost (yeah right!), we moseyed over to the event where Dan picked out a primo spot with grass adjacent to the asphalt parking lot.  That’s one of the downsides of staying in a motel; you carry a lot of support stuff that can’t be left in the car during the show….we needed a lot of extra room and Dan found it!  We have attended this show three times but family conflicts prevented us from attending last year’s event.  Those pesky grandchildren….I mean how many times do we have to have a birthday party for the munchkins anyway.  I figure one sometime before they are 18 and that ought to do it….I know I know, Hallmark has my picture with a red slash mark across it by their cash register….  As soon as we were about set up Fred & Debie and Tony drove in….we scrunched our cars together a little closer so they could fit in with us.  It’s good to see others from Stafford venture out to other events….especially these cruisers….they make the banter a lot more fun!

The Hoppers Auto Club has been around since 1959 and they do know how to run a show like an atomic clock!  The registration process was a little tense for me….till I was directed to a door with the very large red sign that said “REGISTRATION”….who would have thought of a sign?  I always go to the canopy near the DJ and give them my money….not here….it was way too sophisticated for me….grin  And the fee was $10….when was the last time you attended a show for $10?  The DJ, Fred C., took care of the announcements and music all day….always playing genre appropriate tunes.  Usually the food at car shows is not….too….fancy.  Some is just shy of a science project but still mostly edible.  But the vendor at this show had really good food.  You can always tell because so many people revisited the vendor for seconds and beyond….even the Princess went up twice! 

Let’s get in my way-back machine and see what’s going on at Fontana Drag City in the early 60’s when J&M Speed Center was racing their red ’62 Chevy.  We could usually always find a little more horsepower but getting it on the strip was the dilemma.  The rear tire selection was limited to about 7” wide recap slicks and when we found the HP it went up in smoke!  So some started setting up the cars with the front up in the air….a lot up in the air.  The theory was that more weight would be on the back tires when they launched the car.    Some physics magic about moment arms times thrust conversion over the reticulated dingle arm would propel the car like a moon rocket!?  This is where the Altered Wheel Base cars came from that morphed into Funny Cars.  Anyway some racers got the bright idea that since it was the amount of weight transferring to the back tires if you had more weight to begin with it would be better.  So….a station wagon or panel delivery had lots more weight over the back half of the car….hmmmmm  So we started seeing the large, boxy race cars actually doing well.  It’s rare to see one of the old wagon race cars complete with the fender well headers, straight front axle with 10 spokes, white wall cheater slicks with spun aluminum discs and the front jacked up to the nosebleed seats….but here we were treated to two of the dinosaurs that wouldn’t die!  AND both of them ’57 Chevys to boot.  There were many other throwbacks from our drag racing roots on display….which is always something good to see.   You have to check out the pictures.

The judging is by participant voting.  This usually ends up with whoever brings the most friends wins….not here!  You had to vote for your favorite 30 vehicles out of the 151 registered entrants….yes 30.  That evens out the friends deal….unless you bring 30 friends….hmmmm….that could work!  This event is always attended by a high percent of Mopars, so if you worship at the Pentstar you will like this event.  This is another one of the 5 shows each year that we try to attend….and so should you!

Since it’s a Halloween show a lot of the entrants decorated their vehicles….which was different.  Most of the time owners go apoplectic if anyone gets near their vehicle but Sunday they draped all manner of things across their rides….and gave away treats to anyone that got near their vehicle!  You have to check out the pictures.  The club wound up the event around 3:30….the Princess won a top 30 plaque….I hope that satisfies her till March!?  It was fun watching the cars leave on Rt. 11….I always liked to tickle the loud pedal on the RedRat when I left….the Princessmobile just makes little mouse noises….chuckle  The cruise back home was uneventful and the day was superb and all enjoyed running the Virginia roads…. giving people something to wave at.  I love this hobby!

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