What A Difference A Year Makes!
What do you need to know about the 2002 edition of the F-100 Supernationals in Tennessee? That it was a huge show with 915 registrations? That Mother Nature dumped everything she had on the show from torrential rains early in the week to almost freezing temperatures on Saturday? That I had just as excellent a time as I usually do?
I've been going to the show for about ten years now. Every year I think I may justskip it, but I'm always drawn to seeing old friends, enjoying great trucks, and making new memories. This year was a new experience for me as I didn't go with friends, but took along my wife, Sonya, and my kids, Rebecca, Ryan, and Kevin. It was a different type of holiday, a little more casual and in some ways more stressful, but still just as much fun. We decided to make it more of a vacation instead of the hustle down, overdose of looking at trucks, and the bomb-home trip I usually do. I'm glad we did. I actually had some good, solid sleep-more than I'm used to, as I usually stay up late typing to meet deadlines, just like tonight!
Usually we arrive sometime Thursday; this year we were there Wednesday and you wouldn't have known the difference. There were as many trucks as we usually see Thursday. I took in as much as I could of the trucks between unpacking and greeting old friends. Once we got settled we made some plans for sightseeing. We decided to show the kids the splendor of the Smokies by travelling the road to Gatlinburg through town and into the heart of the mountains. Going up the majestic mountains gave me a better feel for why so many people come here: I thought it was just for the trucks up until now! I would encourage anyone who hasn't done so to get up in the mountains and enjoy their beauty!
Once I got into actually perusing the trucks, it was surprising to see the changes in attendance. For pure numbers, there was the still-growing population of the '61-66 class, but the number of '61-63 Unibodies actually shrunk to only four! I guess that means the standard cab trucks are really growing in popularity. The '67-72 class had a lot higher numbers, perhaps due to gained acceptability and accessibility of parts. The number of pre-'48 trucks was up too, and there were some high-quality rides in that class with an awesome orange '40 Panel picking up the Truckers' Choice Award. I don't think that has ever happened with a pre-'48 truck. I was disappointed that there were only two Mercury trucks in the entire show, but I think folks will be blown away next year when the Mercurys invade "The Forge" on our "SuperCruise to the Supernats" (www.socp.net).
Speaking of choice, there were some choice rides there too! An awesome plum slant cab from Arizona had just the right color, stance, and mods to grab my attention. The white interior really set it off too. Funny how sometimes it's hard to say what makes it right, just that it looks right. Another favorite was the two-tone '61 Unibody from Non-Profit Truckers club that again won the '61-66 Truck of the Year Award. Phil's machine has that same "right" look and stance. The extended cabs continue to awe me-they look so good. I heard a couple of people "out of the loop" say they came that way. Little did they know!
For new products, I was able to find some cool new pieces. Being at a show like the Supernationals always gives you first crack at these products, often at a lower introductory price or at "Show Special" pricing:
Fatman Fabrications (704-545-0369) now offers 2-inch dropped spindles for the Volar front suspension. For getting the height down or ride quality back into your frontend, this is an item that F-100 owners have needed for a long time.
No Limit Engineering (909-386-RODS) is also offering dropped lower control arms for the Volar which can return ride quality to your ride. They also have some other new suspension pieces and will have a brand-new high-tech aluminum dash insert by the time you read this. Call them or see them on on the Web at www.nolimit.net.
Rod Doors (530-896-1513) is now offering their interior pieces for the years '57-60, '61-66, and '67-72. That now gives them coverage for pretty well every classic Ford truck ever made, and you can get anything from just a headliner or door pads to complete interiors with kick panels and a tank cover. If you've never seen their pieces, you must check them out on the Web at www.roddoors.com to see one of the easier ways to build an interior!
Carolina Classics (1-800-598-4211) is now offering more products for the later-model guys with 10-piece body molding sets for '65-66 F-100s, and 16-gauge steel floorpans for '61-64 trucks. They are also carrying bolt-in power-window kits for '48-79 trucks.
Mid 50s F-100s (800-252-1956) is now offering some new truck covers, interior pieces, dash extensions, repro door latches, and many small hard-to-find pieces. They are also close to having repro original gauges for '53-56 trucks. Be sure to call Sy for whatever you need as she may now have it or may make it if demand is high enough.
The Anniversary Giveaway '53 F-100 for the 2003 Supernationals was there and drew a crowd all weekend with its awesome chassis and chromed and polished Ford powerplant. Builder extraordinaire, Eddie Smith, "Fast Eddie" as I now call him, gave the crowds the scoop on the awesome truck he is putting together for someone to win at next year's show. Major contributions from sponsors and the talents of Eddie and his hot rod shop are combining to produce what will be a dream come true for one lucky trucker. The truck is now a "cab on chassis" and progressing as planned according to Eddie and show producer Pat Ford. Pat also put to bed many rumors and questions regarding the winning of the truck. To clarify, the truck will be given away at the awards ceremony on Saturday night to a registered trucker who must be at the ceremony to win. No exceptions!
I doubt many will miss next year's Supernationals, as it'll be a "must do" event to start the summer and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Ford, the 50th anniversary of the F-100, and the 25th anniversary of the show! I'm glad I was there and able to show my family what makes the Ford family a special one. See y'all there next year!
Until next month, keep it...
8196 Old Scugog Road