Hot wheels: Street rods, muscle cars, customs, street machines on display at Expo New Mexico - Albuquerque Journal

Hot wheels: Street rods, muscle cars, customs, street machines on display at Expo New Mexico

Courtesy of National Street Rod Association The Route 66 Street Rod Nationals will take place beginning Friday, Aug. 27 at Expo New Mexico. It is the second year the event has been put on by the National Street Rod Association.

More than 1,300 vintage cars are heading to Albuquerque.

These vehicles are street rods, customs, muscle cars and street machines and will be on hand at Expo New Mexico beginning Friday, Aug. 27, as part of the National Street Rod Association’s Route 66 Street Rod Nationals.

The NSRA has events across the United States. A few years ago, the association was looking for an event to be held west of Oklahoma City, and Albuquerque fit the bill.

This is the second year for the event, which began in 2019. There was no event in 2020.

Art Sena, NSRA South Central Division director, says there are cars coming in from as far away as Tennessee.

He says there will be cars from California, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Las Cruces.

“It’s always interesting to see the creativity it takes to rebuild these cars,” Sena says. “They may look like a restored car, but there are body modifications and more. It’s amazing to see.”

Sena says more participants and spectators are expected this year than at the 2019 event.

“We had 785 in 2019,” he says. “We’re always looking to grow the event.”

Much of the Expo New Mexico grounds will be used for the event, along with many of the buildings, which will house a large number of manufacturer and dealer displays and other attractions.

Sena says the NSRA defines a street rod as a modernized vintage vehicle built before 1949. These vehicles are equipped with the latest options available on the latest-model vehicles, including disc brakes, air conditioning, cruise control and tilt steering wheels. Most of those attending have updated the engine and drive train to enable the owner to cruise down the highway in comfort and safely maintain the speeds traveled by more modern vehicles.

“Included in this event are muscle cars, those factory-produced high-horsepower machines from the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, along with the classics cars of the ’50s,” Sena says.

Sena says that the event is excellent for spectators to attend and that those who take time to attend will be treated to the sights and sounds of some of the most beautiful, best-constructed vintage vehicles ever assembled in one place.

“One of the special attractions for the spectators is that they can walk right up to the vehicles and check each one out close up, as they are not roped-off or otherwise confined,” he says. “All are in the open and can be examined top to bottom, front to back, inside and out.”

Sena is no stranger to rebuilding vehicles. He’s rebuilt four vehicles — a 1941 Chevy coupe, a 1951 Chevy pickup, a 1956 Chevy two door and a 1948 Chevy sedan delivery.

“After a year of being away from events, we’re hoping the community will come out to support the event,” he says. “Car culture is something New Mexicans enjoy and we have plenty to see and experience.”


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