On Friday, Sept. 14, a spirited pack of seasoned hot rodders from around the country will gather at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, go over final checklists and then blast east in a thunderous flurry.
Their destination? Indianapolis – the Racing Capital of the World, to take in the Goodguys second WIX Filters Speedway Nationals, an event that fills the infield of Indianapolis Motor Speedway with thousands of customized, candy-colored classics and hot rods.
Leading the pack will be Andy Brizio and Gary Meadors-two men at the forefront of the hot rodding scene for the last four decades. Brizio, 80, is calling the trip, officially named the “Rodfather/Goodguys Road Tour” his last hurrah.
Since his first cross-country trip to Peoria, Ill., in 1970 (which he made in his AMBR-winning candy-colored ’23 Ford T bucket ), he’s made more than two dozen such treks in a variety of rods including his mount for the last 20 years-a flaming purple ’32 Ford Highboy Roadster built by his son, Roy Brizio.
Known worldwide as “The Rodfather,” Brizio has never shied away from his passion for driving show-winning rods long distances.
“I wanted to prove to people that you could drive these kinds of cars to car shows,” he said reflectively.
Meadors, too, has an unquenchable thirst for hot rod road trips. The founder and chairman of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, he has racked up well over 200,000 miles over the years riding to Goodguys events from coast to coast in hot rod roadsters, coupes and Cadillacs.
Like Brizio, his cars have never seen a trailer.
“You’re not gettin’ the most out of a hot rod if you’re not driving it down the back roads of America,” he said.
He and Brizio have been friends since they met in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1960s and have toured the world promoting hot rods.
“Andy is truly the man,” Meadors said. “Guys have always flocked to his events and road trips because, since Day One, he’s been an unquestioned leader in our hobby. His passion for these cars is genuine and everyone knows it.”
The first leg of the Rodfather Goodguys Road Tour starts Friday, Sept. 14, and runs through Thursday, Sept. 20, with a total distance of approximately 1,932 miles. It includes festive stops at Kindig-it Design (Salt Lake City), Wyotech (Laramie, Wyo.), Pinkee’s Rod Shop (Loveland, Colo.), Speedway Motors & Kuck Motorsports (Lincoln, Neb.), The Dennis Albaugh collection (Ankeny, Iowa) Heidts Hot Rods & Muscle Car Parts (Wauconda, Ill.), The Roadster Shop (Mundelein, Ill.), Billet Specialties (La Grange, Ill.), Rad Rides by Troy (Manteno, Ill.), Richard Munz collection (Madison, Wisc.) and the IndyCar race shop of Dryer & Reinbold (Indianapolis) among others, before ending at the Goodguys 2nd WIX Filters Speedway Nationals.
Daily tour sponsors include WIX Filters, Auto Trader Classics, Grundy Worldwide Insurance, Speedway Motors and Billet Specialties.
Brizio and Meadors will also lead the return trip, which blasts off from Indy on Sunday, Sept. 23, and cruises through Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.
An event of this magnitude has required months of planning and coordination. The meticulously charted route will take the 100-strong hot rod pack on back roads, interstates and highways through 13 states.
To find out more, visit www.rodfathertour.com.