The Hunnert Car Pileup, put on by the Chrome Czars motor club of Chicago, has been on our list of shows to attend for a couple of years. Held in October, The Pileup is typically considered the end of the show season in the Illinois/Wisconsin area. Tailored to traditionally styled hot rods, customs, and trucks with a 1964 cutoff date, 2010 was its ninth year and saw a few changes that made the show even better: a new venue and tighter entry requirements to curtail a couple of, let's say, "questionable trends" we've seen at a lot of hot rod shows.

First and foremost, all vehicles must have at least two period-correct modifications to enter the show, e.g. pinstripes, paint, interior, stance, wheel/tire combo or custom bodywork. In other words, "It's a hot rod show, so leave grandma's stocker at home!" And the mods must be period correct, so don't show up with 13-inch wires, billet wheels, 19-inch low-profile tires, pastel paint, or tribal-style flames and expect to exit your vehicle anywhere but the parking lot.

The other major rule is "no art cars/shock rods," which we wouldn't mind seeing implemented at every other show we attend. Tractor grilles, argon bottles for fuel tanks, PBR can velocity stacks, spider webs, skulls, and iron crosses have just about run their course, haven't they? Please? Other than those hard/fast rules, the rest of the period look is pretty much subjective, at the discretion of the gatekeepers when you roll up. This no doubt made for some hard feelings, but it's not like the rules aren't posted all over the show's website (www.hunnertcarpileup.com).

The Pileup moved a couple of hours south to Decatur, Illinois, for 2010, and from what we can see this new location is going to make the show even better in the years to come. As the show got bigger each of the previous eight years, the venue wasn't able to handle the traffic, and the police and town fathers decided the economic stimulus of 2,000-plus hot rodders wasn't to their liking. The Czars contacted the city of Decatur and were welcomed with open arms. The venue has ample room to grow, and the nearby town of Clinton opened up their historic town square for a cruise-in on Friday and Saturday night. All indications are that the towns and attendees were equally happy with the new digs.

For our part, we knocked 4 inches out of the ride height of our beater '61 Suburban, swapped the stock 15x6 steelies for a set of six-lug Ansen five-slots, and headed up for one of the better one-day events we've been to. There were about 2,000 vehicles inside the show venue, a swap meet, and live bands on a stage throughout the day-an aspect that can't be emphasized enough when it comes to setting the tone for a good show. Live music is so much better than canned oldies over a PA system that it seems a shame to even mention them together in the same sentence. We cruised 13 hours up Friday, enjoyed the show Saturday, and headed back to Atlanta on Sunday-a trip we've already scribbled on our 2011 calendar.

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