Tuesday, June 24, 2008

AMSOIL Shines at "Back to the Fifties"

There were cars galore at the 35th annual MN Street Rodder Association's Back to the Fifties event in St. Paul this past weekend. The gathering was the endpoint in Street Rodder's Road Tour which passed through Superior, WI last week.

AMSOIL CFO John Hosler described the scene like this: "At the show you can see everything from pristine frame off restored trailer queens to down & dirty rat rods – from survivors to drivers to brands which have unfortunately gone away like Auburn, Studebaker, Oldsmobile, Willys, Henry J., Hudson, Simpson, Packard, etc. – sedans to rags to woodies. They were all there, 11,693 of them in fact." More than 60,000 people per day came to pay homage to these vintage cars and the memories they foster.

It was a special delight to have Jo Coddington on hand for the duration, a classic car enthusiast in her own right. Jo rode in Jerry Dixey's lead car for the part of leg three of the Road Tour and was delighted to see so many familiar faces and enthusiastic youth getting introduced to the rodder scene.

For those car collectors whose rides don’t fit into MSRA there is the Minnesota Street Machine Association (MSMA) featuring muscle cars and cars of the 60s & beyond in conjunction with Car Craft magazine another sizable show at State Fairgrounds in July.

Click on the images to enjoy them at full size.

Friday, June 20, 2008

More Road Tour Scenes

Along with lots of smiling faces there were many cameras on hand Wednesday night, and far too many pictures to share here, but for those who missed, you can see we had quite an outing when the Street Rodder Road Tour rolled in. Thanks again to all who made this such a great success.

The following morning, the Road Tourians, as they call themselves, gathered in front of the product center for coffee and doughnuts before heading south. What follows is the morning line-up, a Wisconsin scene from "on the road again" and Jo Coddington in the front seat of Jerry Dixey's lead car at Culver's where we gathered in Vadnais Heights for a late lunch.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

It's a Happening!

The AMSOIL sponsored 2008 PPG Street Rodder Road Tour slipped into town tonight, and whoa, were there cars to see or what! The word on the street was that the street rodders were a-comin' and that local car clubs were busy with spit and polish for the shindig. The AMSOIL Center parking lot became a full fledged car show.

In case you missed it, here are some images to give you a taste of tonight's spice. The festivities began at 5:30 for those who were in the road tour. The public had been invited from 6:30 - 8:00 but a lot of folks got here early to put their pride and joy into the choicest spots on the asphalt. Like more than two hours early! And a good thing, too, because there were more than 400 cars on hand, along with countless rodder fans checking things out.

A lot of old timers had flashbacks looking at the cool cars from a 1927 Model T to some rather hip muscle cars, rat rods, and everything in between. It was a full color spectrum and a spectacle rolled into one.

Add to the mix an absolutely perfect day, cloudless sky and sunshine, a little Fifties rock 'n roll, and celebrities like Jo Coddington and Jerry Dixey. A pinch of sass and local media coverage made it a kick. If you got to be part of it, we're glad you were here. Thanks to all who helped make it happen.
Click on photos to enjoy at full size.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Street Rodder Road Tour Coming To Town

For a lot of folks, it’s like Christmas in summer. Wednesday night, June 18, the Street Rodder Road Tour will be making its last stop before heading to the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s Back to the Fifties event in St Paul. We’re currently anticipating 28 cars and a contingent of local street rodding enthusiasts. This leg of the Tour which originated in Bowling Green, Kentucky, currently has 22 vehicles making the whole trip, but six more will be joining soon. That’s how road tours go, with enthusiasts hopping aboard along the way.

A special feature of this stop will be the presence of Jo Coddington, wife of the late Boyd Coddington, one of street rodding’s most influential builders and centerpiece of American Hot Rod. Jo will be joining Road Tour Director Jerry Dixey in the lead car for the last segment of this journey.

June 18 Agenda
The agenda here on Wednesday is for the Road Tourians to arrive at AMSOIL Center after checking in at their hotel. From 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. we’ll have suitable street rod music blaring and vendors on hand if you need a bite to eat or something to quench your thirst. And of course there will be the cars, which is what it's all about. Happily, the weather appears to be promising. Local car clubs and the public have been invited to view the cars on the tarmac inside Gate A at the AMSOIL Center.

Evidently there’s a lot of buzz out on the street. Anyone wishing to join the parade of classic cars on Thursday’s day trip to St. Paul is more than welcome. We’ll be gathering again in the morning at the AMSOIL Center to head south at approximately 8:30 a.m. If you’re planning to drive Back to the Fifties, be sure to double check the start time when visiting Wednesday eve.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Top Truck Challenge: Report from Hollister

For off-road enthusiasts it doesn't get any better than this. The staff at Four Wheel magazine must have a ton of fun dreaming up ways to smash a four wheeling off road machine... and a few of the hearts of those who bring them here to Hollister for the Top Truck Challenge each year. No question it takes a rugged team and a tough truck to survive this experience.

Kevin Dinwiddie, our man on the scene this year, reported that it was the most exciting Challenge event ever, with a first place tie at the end of it all. The pictures tell a good part of the story. For the full details be sure to get your hands on the November and December issues of Four Wheeler magazine, available on news stands September 23rd 2008 and October 21st 2008 respectively.

Some trucks didn't make it through all of the events and occasionally needed to be excavated out. In addition to the challenges of the terrain, on the final day competitors also had to deal with poison oak on the sides of the hills and poison oak scum in the water holes. The Four Wheeler Top Truck Challenge requires the most die-hard commitment. For those who watched, and those who worked it, it was smashing.

In the near future we'll grab some footage which we'll share here at amsoil.com. Later this year look for the DVD from Four Wheeler Magazine for all the gritty visual details. In the meantime, here are a few select photos to give you an idea of what this competition is all about.
Click on photos to enlarge.

Friday, June 6, 2008

The Special Equipment Manufacturers Association is one of the largest associations in the world. Its annual convention is one of the largest events in Vegas. This auto aftermarket industry is actually comprised of numerous smaller niche markets, each centered on various vehicle types.

It is exciting to see that AMSOIL has developed visibility within each niche through high profile sponsorships. The June issue of SEMA News includes an article that offers an overview of the eight categories that comprise the industry. This is a brief summary of those niches and at least one way AMSOIL is involved with each.

Light Truck
The light truck market refers to street use vehicles from SUVs to pickups. AMSOIL has been strong in this market for many years. 2008 is our second year as sponsor of the Diesel Power Challenge. Despite the drop in new truck sales due to gas prices, we see continued opportunity because of the millions of trucks on the road today and the fuel economy benefits of AMSOIL synthetic lubricants and filters.

Racing is a major segment of the industry as well. Many products are tested on the track and service motorists on the street. But racing is also a market in itself. Racers have been using AMSOIL for decades, but since the nineties the company has stepped up, sponsoring numerous drivers and series, from grass roots on up. Check out the AMSOIL Racing Blog if you’re a race fan and stay current with AMSOIL racing.

The off-road market includes everything from appearance to performance. The Four Wheeler Top Truck Challenge (which took place this week in Hollister, CA) is one way AMSOIL is present to this hard core group.

Street Performance
The street performance niche includes products used to change the appearance, performance, and/or handling of light vehicles (other than light trucks) for street use. Mopar Muscle Challenge and dedicated advertising in enthusiast magazines has given AMSOIL increased visibility here.

Compact Performance
According to the article, “When SEMA first started studying the compact-performance market it 1996, it was all about four-cylinder-powered Japanese-made cars. Back then, the dominant vehicle was the Honda Civic. Enthusiasts involved with this niche were typically 18 to 25 years old.” Also known as the tuner market, these kinds are wired and hooked up. They’re also prepared to spend money to do whatever it takes to get their machine in gear.

Street Rod & Custom
The street-rod & custom market include all products used in the construction, maintenance and operation of hot rods and customs. Last year AMSOIL sponsored legendary builder Boyd Coddington, and began a relationship with this scene through the NSRA. In 2008 the company has become a sponsor of the Street Rodder Road Tour, which will soon make a stop here at our headquarters in Superior, WI.

Restyling is a big part of the industry also. Turning the common car into eye candy is a full time pre-occupation for many enthusiasts. AMSOIL partnered with Mothers car care products to help motorists transform ordinary vehicles into cherries.

Restoration Market
The restoration scene involves the products and services used in returning vehicles, particularly classics, to their original manufactured condition. Some of these products are refurbished original parts; others are salvaged parts; some are reproductions. The end result is a vehicle with moving parts that need lubrication... That’s the AMSOIL contribution.

The “Other” Market
Products that do not neatly fit into one of the other seven niches are lumped into “Other”. The products found in this niche are typically electronics or high tech in nature-things such as radar detectors, custom sound systems, multimedia systems and intelligent transportation systems. Much more could be said, but we’ll leave that for another day.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

TTC: This Just In From Hollister

This week it's grueling, pedal stomping action in the hills outside Hollister, California. Mud and grime and frame twisting action that has been putting drivers and their off-road equipment through the paces. It's Four Wheeler magazine's Top Truck Challenge.
There are six main events in the Challenge. Yesterday they completed the Hill Cilmb, Frame Twister and Mud Pit. The Mud Pit is self explanatory.... and a lot of fun to watch, though not so much fun when you get stuck going through.

The Frame Twister is a seemingly short -- 200 feet -- but brutal course which requires finesse, power and determination to complete in ten minutes. In other words, an average speed of twenty feet per minute. Penalties are assessed for hitting marker cones and staff members. Word has it that yesterday, for the first time ever, someone successfully navigated the course without using a winch... followed by two more!

Today the Obstacle Course and Mini-Rubicon are slated. Tomorrow the legendary Tank Trap awaits, the ultimate Four Wheeling challenge on the planet. It's hard core, and has left a lot of vehicles stranded over the years.
You can expect full coverage in the November and December issues of Four Wheeler magazine.