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Back to the '50s Weekend 2014 in review

The 41st Annual Back to the ‘50s Weekend came and went in a flash.

This hot rod is almost too nice, a good thing.
This hot rod is almost too nice, a good thing.
Aaron Ahlstrom

We’d like to thank everyone for attending at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The MSRA (Minnesota Street Rod Association) once again pulled off the biggest car show of the year. A even bigger thank you is needed for all their volunteers and for all those that make this happen on a yearly basis. Your passion for all things automotive is what drives the hobby. We salute you.

The show in general had a great turnout, despite the pockets of rain that came and went throughout the weekend. We enjoyed the messiness of the cars on display, proof that classics are driven no matter what. Props to those owners who, after splashing through the puddles, re-washed and detailed their classics once more. Now that’s dedication.

Rat rods were in abundance, their rust sneering at the trailer queens parked just inches away. Rat rods seem to always egg on the rain, as if the cloud’s offerings were a free layer of patina. We wonder what would happen if lightning were to strike a rat rod. Oh, wait, the Frankensteiners already got that kool image bottled up in their rides.

One thing that really stood out: We’re seeing more and more fuel injected rides. Late-model drivetrain swaps are so in right now, and they are slowly becoming more economical. For now, most of the tech involves GM LS-series motors, such as LS1 (5.7 liter) and even the smaller, but cheaper (at the junkyard) 5.3 liter V8. There were even a few GM crate LS3 engines, a wicked motor which has proved to be more powerful than advertised by GM. Many we talked to also used aftermarket EFI conversions on top of their traditional small block Chevys and Ford motors, too. We applaud those taking the next step in hot rod evolution, engine-wise. It no doubt costs more up front, but in the end the results are worth it.

The bidding at the 28th Annual Twin Cities Classic Car Auction caught our eye so we poked in and witnessed some of activity. Last year more than half of the cars at auction sold, with 104 of 188 cars going to new owners, as listed on their online 4-page report. The results for 2014 were still pending and not available at press.

The swap meet area had a particularly good crowd. Scanning the inventories we noticed the usual auto memorabilia, car parts and antiques littered throughout the Midway area. On the downside, everything came crashing to a standstill when the rain let loose at around 11am. Though the downpour only lasted about a half-hour, many show cars, swappers, and vendors started packing it in. Fortunately, the sun came back out and started drying up the mess, which in some areas was substantial. Pools of water flooded many areas, even vendors stationed on the asphalt. Those wearing flip-flops were at an advantage here, though the muck was hard to avoid no matter where you stepped. Either way, shoppers came back out with the sun and the field was back at it by noon.

Hope to see you there next year.

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