Hot Rod Power Tour stops in Perry

By Jenny Gordon

as posted on

PERRY - It was truly hot rod heaven for hundreds of car enthusiasts as the 12th annual Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour made a pit stop Monday at the Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter in Perry.

With temperatures hovering in the mid-80s on Monday, a nice breeze provided some relief for onlookers who came to check out the car tour, which each year travels through different parts of the country.

An estimated 2,000 long-haul cars, those traveling the entire length of the seven-city tour, stopped in Perry showing off every American-made vehicle possible.

There was plenty to see for even the most astute and well-versed car aficionado. Take your pick from a buffet line of Mustangs, El Caminos, Cadillacs, Chargers, Roadsters, Novas, Camaros, Impalas, Corvettes, and the list goes on.

Hot Rod Magazine spokesman Chad Reynolds has been traveling with the tour since 2000. His 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air station wagon, which he described as "fun, weird and incredibly popular," has made the trip with him twice, last year traveling 13,000 miles.

Getting the chance to see other cars, hang out with friends and meet new people, are the reasons Reynolds makes the annual journey.

"It is the ultimate gearhead road trip," explained Reynolds, who lives in Allen, Texas. "It's the world's largest traveling car show. You can see every kind of car imaginable here."

Helping a car enthusiast out of the driver seat of his custom-made 1962 Corvette 'look-alike,' Jim Bryant drew a crowd all afternoon around his lifelong hobby.

"It's just fun. It's just people doing their own thing basically," said Bryant, who lives in Sweetwater, Tenn. "I enjoy driving the cars and getting out."

Bryant spent an estimated $100,000 over two years building his car, which included a 572-cubic-inch engine and five-speed Lenco transmission.

For only $65, car lovers could join the tour which began last Saturday in Orlando, Fla., traveling through Gainesville, Perry, Columbia, S.C., Roanoke, Va., Harrisburg, Pa., and ending in Englishtown, N.J. The tour also welcomed visitors who could show off their cars for the day at each location. This was the tour's first visit to Perry.

The tour included some high-end vehicles, including a 1932 Ford Deuce convertible owned by Jay Leno of "The Tonight Show, a restored 1969 Dodge Charger owned by guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepard, and a one-of-a-kind 2009 Chevrolet Camaro concept car, which was making its first public appearance on the tour.
Sitting with his 1931 Ford Model A, Perry resident Ray Shipes had prime viewing for cars arriving from the South Georgia Motorsports Park in Cook County. Drivers had stopped earlier in the day at the Cook County park for lunch and a few drag races.

"I like seeing all the cars drive by," said Shipes, who kept an eye out for cars dating earlier than 1970.

On the other end of the fairgrounds was Keith Woodall, who had already driven 1,000 miles on his 1966 Ford Mustang to Perry from Florida. This was his second year participating.

"It's really a lot of fun," Woodall said. "It's never the same thing. You see something new just about every day." He said he would making the trip home to Smiths Station, Ala., following the stop in Perry.

The tour is presented by GM Performance Division and co-sponsored by Flowmaster. To learn how to participate in next year's tour and to check out daily coverage, visit Hot Rod Magazine at

Jenny Gordon is a community news writer for The Houston Peach. If you have an event, fund-raiser or interesting person you'd like to share, please call 923-3109 ext. 240, or email

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