365ink #289 April 20–May 3, 2017 - Page 24

Cover Story  CONTINUED FROM PAGE 18 HOT ROD & MOTORCYCLE QUALIFICATIONS Vintage Torque Fest is a unique kind of car show, at least in this part of the Midwest, and because it is so different from other shows entry require- ments and qualifications have created some confusion. Before we get into the finer points of the show’s focus, potential exhibitors and guests should understand that Torque Fest organizers welcome everyone to come out, show off your ride and learn a little bit more about the particular aes- thetic and culture Vintage Torque Fest celebrates. So what is this Vintage Torque Fest about? And does your classic car qualify for entry into the “official” show? Because the term “hot rod” can be interpreted pretty broadly, it should be noted that Vintage Torque Fest is limited to pre-1965 vintage- style hot rods, pre-1975 motorcycles, and one-of- a-kind customs. Let’s unpack the concept a bit. Vintage Torque Fest celebrates the hot rod culture that sprang up after World War II, when young soldiers returned and began using the technical skills they learned in the military to customize stock vehicles for fun and for racing. They chopped and modified them in all sorts of ways, mostly to make them lighter and more powerful. When the Ford Mustang was introduced in 1965 (well, actually mid-1964), it began the era of the muscle car, essentially taking the hot rod’s game plan into the factory. While muscle cars are cool, Torque Fest (and other similar vintage hot rod shows) celebrate the original do-it-yourself aesthetic of that pre-’65 era. Within that original hot rod and “kustom kulture” aesthetic, you’ll see a range of cars at Vintage Torque Fest, from recently saved antique beaters just beginning their journey, to show- room-ready modified masterpieces, painted and pin-striped to the last detail, and everything in between. Yes, you will see some hot rods in prog- ress, maybe lacking a finished paint job, showing visible welds, and even rust that acknowledges the history of the vehicle. But this is not a “rat rod” show. This is a vintage hot rod show that cel- ebrates the DIY customization that can be traced back to the garages of the 1950s and early ‘60s. Because the show celebrates kustom kulture, modification both mechanical and artistic is valued over pure restoration. Stock parts are not considered as important as period-appropriate substitutions or modifications. All of them reflect the personalities of the guys that saved them from the salvage yard and keep them running. What you won’t see at Vintage Torque Fest are “street rods” or “art cars.” Street rods embrace later materials and technological developments that aren’t authentic to the original hot rod style like billet (machined aluminum wheels and parts), airbrushed mural graphics, and digital gauges. Likewise, cars that feature more modern equipment like independent front suspensions and electronic fuel injection generally do not fit the style, especially on fenderless or open engine cars. Kit cars and cars accessorized through the addi- tion of catalog parts are not consistent with the vintage hot rod practice of scrounging scrap yards and swap meets for period parts and materials. Art cars are a bit more difficult to define but can include cars painted or accessorized around a theme (skeleton, pumpkin, rat, etc.). If an accessory was added for shock value or humor, the vehicle might be considered an art car. The show will not accept any cars produced after 1964, unless it’s a model that maintained a pre-’65 body style into a later model year. Vintage Torque Fest will accept pre-1949 stock original or restored classics. Some might be surprised that Torque Fest is not all that interested in newer stock classic cars or classics that have been restored using original parts. Not that vintage hot rod enthusiasts don’t have a great appreciation for anyone who has labored to preserve or restore an original antique vehicle, but like the later street rods or muscle cars, it’s just not the style of this particular show. Keep in mind that the limited focus of this show is what brings hot rod clubs from around the country to Vintage Torque Fest. In a similar vein, the “Motor Psycho” Round Up is a motorcycle show of vintage pre-1975 custom motorcycles, bobbers and choppers. The show is open to vintage bikes from the likes of Norton, Triumph, Harley Davidson, Indian, BSA, and even Japanese-made motorcycles that fit with the show’s old-school/traditional aesthetic. Pre-1975 café racers and pre-1965 stock motor- cycles are welcome. Art bikes, stock bikes, twin cam Harleys, and West Coast Choppers or OCC- style customs are not in the vibe of the show. While newer stock and restored cars, street rods, muscle cars, sports cars and other perfor- mance vehicles will not be accepted into the “offi- cial” Vintage Torque Fest show, they are welcome at the event and will be able to park in the “Classic and Chrome” or VIP parking areas, in effect an extension of the main show. Likewise, OCC-style custom bikes, touring bikes and post-’75 Harleys are welcome at Torque Fest and will have a special parking area. To delve deeper into the finer points of qualification, a full list of entry requirements can be found online at VintageTorqueFest.com. And for vintage torque purists, Saturday’s Dirty Drags competition will be all Vintage Torque Fest qualifying period-correct hot rods. (1964 or older. See Vintage Torque Fest entry requirements for details.) Only 40 cars will be accepted for Friday’s Dirty Drags Open Class competition with the top car winning $500 in a combination of cash and Summit Racing gift certificates. Saturday’s Dirty Drags will feature 50 vintage hot rods, competing for the $1000 purse— $500 cash and $500 in Summit Racing gift cards. The addition of Dirty Drags packs even more activity into an already jam-packed weekend. Shar- ing the same DIY attitude and “kustom kulture” aesthetic of the hot rod community, Vintage Torque Fest also celebrates the tradition of custom