Minnesota Street Rod Association

Back to the 50's Weekend, 1998

Well, here's my official report on what is probably the premier hot rod/custom car event in the nation. Setting a new attendence record every year, rumor had it there were 10,000 cars on the scene for this years event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. It's not the goal of this reporter to give you in depth coverage, but just a few highlights, and of course the EDSELS! This years event began with registrations opening on Thursday night, June 18, and going thru late afternoon on Sunday June 21st.

I of course had to work thru Saturday at about 12:30, so didn't get on the road to Minneapolis/St. Paul tilll then, scheduled to arrive around 3:30PM. My wife and son drove down on Friday night, to get our Edsel registered, and take in what was certainly the ultimate rock and roll event of the decade, Minnesota's very own "TRASHMEN" took the stage Friday night. Luckily, my son video-taped about 45 minutes of their performance, so I at least got a taste of this momentous occasion! Yes, good rock and roll was part of the weekend as well, also performances by the Crystals, Tommy Roe, and some popular Twin Cities area bands. The pictures below will tell a bit of the story, and I'll fill in with commentary as it comes to me...

Charlie Ryan, writer of that great car song "Hot Rod Lincoln" was on hand, with the actual, real, Hot Rod Lincoln. Story is, he built and raced the car in 1955. It's he, himself, who was the kid behind the wheel in the story, and he wrote and recorded the song originally in 1960. Johnny Bond recorded it and had a hit with it, as did Commander Cody a few years later. Charlie was telling and retelling the story to his fans, and signing autographs and selling tapes and pictures. That's Charlie in the hat in the left hand pic, and yours truly by the Hot Rod Lincoln!

A closer look at the motor. Powered by a Lincoln V-12 flathead. Yes, it's basically the same car as he raced it that fateful day in 1955.

Some ideas were just not meant to be. Here's the unpopular Boat-Car. Neat idea that never seemed to pan out. They leaked, and on the water performance was marginal. Note the propellers on the back, and both a car AND a boat license on the front!

A couple '60 Edsels were on the scene. Think I can remember which ones belong to whom? Nope. The car on the right was for sale at the swap meet. I took a photo of the sign in the window. the photo finisher neglected to return that print to me, so it remains a mystery. It was rumored that there was a 1960 Edsel convertible in attendance, but after specifically keeping an eye out for it, I never found it. If it was there, I don't know if it was "authentic" or a counterfiet.

Couple 58's on the boulevard as well. the one on the left was for sale, sign says "44,000 Actual miles. All Original. $4950. Will trade up or down for new toy" (If you're interested in, e-mail me and I'll send you the phone number). The car on the right is ours. That's my lovely wife and my son taking a break from the rigors of car watching.

Only found this one '59 Edsel on hand. And the surfer dude in the roadster has been at every Back to the 50's Weekend that I've attended. In fact, lots of people become regulars for life!

The fairgrounds really turn into a sea of machines and people for the duration. The group on the right has made up signs with point scores to rate the passing machinery.

The only requirement to get you and your vehicle into the grounds is that it be 1964 or older. Hence this rather crummy Caddy. Looks like heck, but I'm sure it provided plenty of cruising action. The Tornio covertible i include, because in 1976, I traded off my first Edsel on one just like it (except it was yellow with a black top). This was at the swap meet as well, priced around $10 grand as I recall.

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