CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Charleston became a gear head’s Utopia for a few hours Monday as the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour rolled into the capital city of West Virginia. Cars of every make and model from vintage automobiles from the 40’s and 50’s to high performance modern day roadsters rolled up.
“We grew up with them and hopefully other people will keep that going on,” said Jack Robinson of Rio Grande Valley, Texas standing beside his 1966 Chevelle Malibu.
Robinson is on the seven city tour with his wife. It’s the fourth time they’ve joined the power tour and driven across the country.
“We see a lot of the country we never would see because we take a lot of back roads,” he said. “It’s something we’d never seen unless there was something arranged like this.”
Many of those showing off their vehicles were from West Virginia. John Fox of Montgomery was in Charleston on the maiden voyage of the car he and his dad restored after buying the shell of the automobile from a guy in Florida off E-Bay.
“It’s a 1965 Dodge Coronet 89-90 clone, one of two red on red cars produced by Dodge that year,” Fox said. “It’s got a 426 Hemi stroked out to 472, automatic transmission and we tried to make it look as original as we could.”
The Hot Rod Power Tour is now in its 20th year. It started as a group of magazine writers taking a road trip.
“It started as just an even for Hot Rod editors, they wanted to go on a fun run themselves,” said Jessica Kirchner, director of publicity for the tour. “They traveled from Southern California to Detroit and at the end they said, ‘Hey this is something cool, we’ve got something going here we think our readers would get involved in.'”
Kirchner said the tour decided on Charleston as a stop on the seven cities in seven days tour for three key reasons.
“First, it was a good geographic fit, second we’ve never been here before, and third the city wanted to sponsor us.” she said. “There’s a lot of hot rod history in town here.”
Kirchner said they attended the annual Rod Run and Doo-Wop put on in the fall by the city of Charleston and recognized it would be the perfect spot for a tour stop.
Some cars take the entire tour traveling from North Carolina to Wisconsin, others only take a short run along the way. The tour packs up and leaves Charleston Monday night and heads for Norwalk, Ohio.