Event Coverage: The 49th Annual NSRA Street Rod Nationals South

The National Street Rod Association (NSRA) brought its show to Knoxville, Tennessee for the 49th Annual NSRA Street Rod Nationals South. The grounds of Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center was packed with plenty of hot rods, street rods, muscle cars, and customs. We walked around the Street Rod Nationals South and found some cool rides for you to check out.

You can always count on seeing a few second-generation Chevelles at big shows like the NSRA Street Rod Nationals South. Steve and Becky Fugate brought their immaculate 1970 model that was built by Harrison’s Rod & Custom to the event and it really stood out. Roger Bunch really knocked it out of the park on the bodywork, and Morristown Towing & Automotive laid down some great paint. Under the hood, you’ll find a healthy 406 cubic-inch small block Chevy powering this Chevelle. The upholstery work that Donnie’s Auto Trim Shop is top-notch.

David Zimmerman spent just over four years building his 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe. The all-steel ride has been sprayed in a vibrant PPG Sunburst Orange hue that really makes the car pop. Zimmerman wanted his Deluxe Coupe to get down the road in a hurry, so a 427 cubic-inch small block Ford that cranks out over 552 horsepower was stuffed under the hood. A custom-built Ford AOD transmission backs the small block and sends power to the Ford 9” rearend. The classic Ford rolls on a set of American Racing wheels and is brought to a stop by Wilwood disc brakes.

A 1955 Chevy is an iconic classic car that looks good in any form. Charlie, Joan, and Mike Barker’s shoebox Chevy is the type of build that never goes out of style. Larry Griffey’s Hot Rods and Restorations did the body and paint work on the car that includes a fully detailed engine bay and other modifications. The Barker’s added a 327 cubic-inch small block Chevy with upgraded heads and roller valvetrain to the car for power. A four-speed transmission sends the horsepower back to the 12 bolt rearend that’s filled with gears and axles from Mark Williams Enterprises.

If you’re looking for a classic street rod, Vic and Mary Torasso’s 1932 Ford Roaster is right in your wheelhouse. Ronnie’s Hot Rods handled the build and started with an all-steel body from Brookfield Roaster that’s topped off by a Rod Tops convertible system. A 350 cubic-inch small block Chevy powers the roadster, while a 700R4 transmission handles the shifting duties. The wire wheels are home to a set of Wilwood disc brakes. J’s Rod took care of the interior that hides a custom audio system.

Billy and Shay Phillips wanted their 1946 Ford truck to be a driver, not a trailer queen. Billy worked with Mike Leach to build the perfect chassis for the truck so it could go on long trips without any issues. The truck is powered by a stout 347 cubic-inch small block Ford and is backed by an M5R2 five-speed transmission. Out back, you’ll find a custom Ford 8.8” rearend with 3.73 gears. George Jarquin sprayed the eye-catching Ford Vermillion Red paint on the truck for Billy and Shay.

The Butternut Yellow 1966 Chevelle owned by Fred and Vanessa Belcher is a classic car with plenty of modern upgrades. A 427 cubic-inch ZL1 mill powers the Chevelle and is matched to a TREMEC T600 five-speed transmission. The engine expels exhaust gasses through a set of Headman headers and 3” Flowmaster exhaust with dual electric cutouts. The suspension has been upgraded with coilover shocks, tubular A-arms, and adjustable sway bars from Detroit Speed. Wilwood disc brakes with stainless steel brake lines and a Wilwood brake booster were added to the Chevelle to improve its braking abilities. Inside the car, you’ll spy a new interior that features leather seats, an IDIDIT steering column, and Autometer gauges.

Ricky Russell spent four years building a 1934 Ford three-window coupe for Ed and Lorna Barrett and it was worth the wait. Show Me Rod & Custom got the body straight so Russel could lay down the paint. Morgan’s Auto Trim handled the Ford’s supple leather interior. A Chevy Performance 350 cubic-inch crate engine was selected to power the street rod. Rocket Igniter wheels were bolted to the Ford to give it a modern look as it rolls down the road.

Pro Street builds always draw a crowd, and the 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda owned by John and Debbie Foster is proof of why this is true. The bright yellow paint laid down by Maple Grove Auto Body can be seen from space. Bob Fuller at C&F Race Cars handled all the custom fabrication work and the roll cage you see inside the ‘Cuda. Unique Body & Paint took care of creating a show-winning undercarriage and engine compartment for the Fosters. Chuck Lofgren built the 496 cubic-inch Wedge that powers the ‘Cuda that cranks out over 625 naturally aspired horsepower. Lofgren also built the 727-B competition Torqueflight transmission and 10” stall converter that’s bolted to the Mopar-based mill. The custom upholstery and interior was created by Keith Nybo.

Jeff Millikan’s 1954 Plymouth Savoy is a unique build that caught our attention in Knoxville thanks to the Axalta Custom paint sprayed by Funkytown Customs. Under the hood, you’ll find a 6.4-liter Gen III HEMI that’s backed by a six-speed transmission. The Savoy rolls on a custom tube chassis that was built by Millikan Motorsports. Kirk’s Kustom Upholstery took care of the interior that features power and heated seats. Millikan also added a custom HVAC system thanks to Vintage Air.

The NSRA shows off all the big winners at each event in a unique way. The vehicles are gathered and presented in the Sunday Circle Of Winners. At the NSRA Street Rod Nationals South the Sunday Circle Of Winners was set up on the stage of the amphitheater at the Chilhowee Park & Exposition Center.

Jerry Blevins has been working on his 1954 3100 Chevy truck for 16 years and has loved every second of it. The truck is powered by a 383 cubic-inch small block Chevy that’s topped off by Flo-Tek Aluminum heads, an Edelbrock intake and carburetor. A turbo 350 transmission works with a rearend from a Chevy Nova to send power to the pavement. The truck rides on a set of American Racing Torque Thrust D wheels. Originally, the truck came with three windows from the factory, but a five-window top was grafted to the cab to complete the conversion. Blevins has enjoyed building the truck and his attitude is what makes the custom car scene so much fun.

Larry Lovell’s 1965 Buick Rivera is a battleship-sized ride that just looks so good. The two-tone paint and interior just look perfect together. Lovell also got the stance right on the Rivera by slamming it to the ground and putting some nice wheels on the car. We’d rock this car any day of the week.

Who knew that the C-10 square body truck would become as popular as it has? Well, Jeff and Michelle Wright’s 1983 truck known as “Leroy Brown” shows why these trucks are so sought after these days. The truck features a 5/7 static drop thanks to parts from McGaughtys and Bell Tech. A set of Coy’s Wheels with 1962 Corvette spinners really make the truck look good. Under the hood, you’ll find a Chevrolet Performance ZZ6 crate engine that’s matched to a GM 4L65E transmission.

Tom and Sherrie Domingos brought their 1931 Model A Coupe out to Knoxville from Texas. The frame, fabrication, wiring, plumbing, and assembly was all done by Tom. A 331 cubic-inch Ford mill that Henry Ford himself would be proud of powers the car. The Model A rides on custom independent front and rear suspensions that feature parts from Ride Tech. Bear Metal Kuctoms and Mike’s Hot Rod Shop took care of the body and paint work for Tom. Central Coast Upholstery got the interior squared away on the Model A.

This 1966 Ford Fairlane restomod belongs to Carl Lyke. The car was totally stripped down so the period-correct dark metallic Ivy Green paint could be applied to the body, firewall, inner fenders, and trunk. Lyke updated the interior of the Fairlane with a new headliner, reupholstered seats, and fresh carpet. Vintage air conditioning and an upgraded stereo was also added to the interior of the car. A 419 cubic-inch Ford-based mill powers the Fairlane and works with a TREMEC transmission to send power to the 9” rearend.

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Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. Brian enjoys anything loud, fast, and fun.
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