SEMA News—June 2013
By Drew Hardin
Photo Courtesy Petersen Archive
The Hot Rod Power Tour is nearing its 20th birthday (this year’s running in June swings from Texas to North Carolina), but the roots of long-distance hot-rod hauling go back much further than that.
The October 1963 issue of Car Craft covered an annual road trip made by members of the Los Angeles and Bay Area Roadster Clubs.
The story, “Cruisin’ for a Reason,” described how members would start from their respective ends of California and convene at a hotel in Fresno, roughly halfway between each club’s home base.
“More than a dozen cars in each group made the tour, drawing glances of admiration and respect from thousands of motorists along the freeways and super-highways,” wrote Lynn Wineland, one of three Petersen staffers who went on the tour.
The photos here, shot by Petersen lensman Eric Rickman, show members of the Bay Area club “ensconced in their rooms and flaked out about the cool pool” at the MoteLodge in Fresno as they awaited their compadres from the south. Among those arriving from the Southland were “newlyweds Doyle and Jane Gammil, who treat their Glass Tee with lovin’ care,” wrote Wineland. “Doyle works for Ed Roth, and his dad Roy is a long-time Moon mechanic.”
Echoing the sentiments of today’s Power Tour organizers, Wineland admitted, “It’s tough to keep a large group together on the highway or streets without getting in people’s way.” Yet the rodders were praised by local police and Highway Patrol officers “on their manners and courtesy in driving,” he wrote.