It's a question guaranteed to start a debate: Is Florida in the South? Geographically speaking, sure. It fought for the confederacy during the Civil War and those born here definitely speak with a twang. Culturally? I guess it all depends. Some insist it's not, while others see the giant confederate flag flying over the I-75/I-4 intersection and say "Hell yes!" with a resounding rebel yell.
Whatever side of the fence you are on, the National Street Rod Association's Southeast Street Rod Nats in Tampa each October is an event that brings enthusiasts together from all over the U.S. Its October date means not only do local residents and visitors from surrounding states attend, but "snowbirds" from the Midwest that make Florida their winter home often bring their hot rods with them. This definitely adds a bit of flair.
Over 1,000 cars makes their way to the Florida State Fairgrounds each autumn, and it's always on our must-see list, even after a full car show travel season. We were not disappointed, as there were plenty of street rods and '55-'83 Chevys to feast our eyes upon. (The NSRA uses a 30-year sliding scale; for 2014, '84 model year vehicles will be eligible.)
|Host Club Pick—Ron & Char Menda, Sarasota, FL—'53 Chevy custom conv.|
|Thumpr' Pick—Dennis & Patsy Parrish, Lutz, FL—'47 Chevy pick up|
|Pros Pick—Scott Kisner, Merritt Island, FL—'55 Nomad|
|Pros Pick—John Dubois, New Port Richey, FL—'60 El Camino|
|PPG Best Use of Color—Joel Russell, Lake Mary, FL—'55 Chevy|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Charles Henderson, Naples, FL—'67 El Camino|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Steve & Betsy Hurst, Kissimmee, FL—'40 Chevy|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Ted & Susie Pierce, Alva, FL—'48 Chevy pick up|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Ronnie Staples, Lakewood Ranch, FL—'50 Chevy|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Gene Perez, Tampa, FL—'57 Chevy|
|State Rep/Safety Pick—Don Donsbach, Palm Harbor, FL—'62 Chevy|
|Event Director Pick—Nyle Wiren, Tampa, FL—'66 Chevelle|