Sioux City's RockN Rods

Nearly 400 Hot Rods Hit The Street

Photo: The Locator

For two nights only, hot-rodders from around the Midwest got the chance to roll up to a starting line, do a couple burnouts and then race head-to-head through the heart of downtown Sioux City, Iowa - and it was all legal.

This rare opportunity to street race without consequence was part of the second annual Sioux City RockN Rods event ( held July 20 - 22, 2012. The event allowed attendees to get  their beloved hot rods and classic cars out of the garage and actually enjoy them.

It showcased nearly 400 hot rods on several closed-off blocks in downtown Sioux City. There was a wide variety parked, from classic to late-model. Some of the vehicles shown included a 1937 Plymouth, a 1957 Chevrolet Belair, a 1971 Chevrolet Nova, a 2000 Jaguar 4.0 and even the 2012 Ford Mustang that graced the cover of The Locator Magazine July 2012 issue.

The public got to look - but not touch - these vehicles for hours at the Show N Shine event. There were also nearly 20 vendors present, including The Locator, plus lots of food options like Boss Hog Barbecue, pork chop on a stick and, of course, funnel cakes.

“We really got the word out about using recycled auto parts at this event,” said Sean Kvidera, Locator graphic designer. “We made sure every rebuilder and attendee that stopped by our booth gave us their email so we can mail the digital edition to them. And a lot of guys with classic vehicles were excited to see those parts listings.

“It was a pretty big event for only being in its second year and I think a lot of our area auto recycling facilities and aftermarket suppliers would get something out it.”

Burnt Rubber

But by far the biggest draw of the event was the hours of drag races down Water Street in Sioux City. About 150 vehicles - some driving right from the Show N Shine event - lined up for blocks to race wide open for two city blocks. Thousands of spectators turned out to watch the free event. Stands were set up behind the barricades for attendees plus there was space to watch at a couple of area bars and in the event’s beer garden.

The vehicles that raced included models from rat rods, to pickups and Corvette. A couple of exhibition vehicles hit the asphalt as well.

Featured Vehicles

All of the vehicles were exciting to see up close. Three of those rebuilt showpieces were built by and belong to Sioux City-based Gearhead Garage, owned by Ben Steffe, The shop tries to use the car’s original parts by rebuilding everything it can.

The 1935 Plymouth, painted sublime green, was finished the morning of the event. It was originally a fourdoor, but the restorers turned it into a two-door with a custom trunk lid.

The 1954 Chevrolet Steel Woody was finished last year and features a 550hp small block Chevrolet engine. The paint is all custom and the “wood” paneling was actually airbrushed on.

The 1962 Chevrolet Impala is the most road-friendly of all three vehicles. It is an automatic and has air conditioning. The Impala also has an air bag suspension that allows it to be lowered to the ground.

The RockN Rods event started as a way for car lovers to showcase their vehicles, but grew into something unique by incorporating the street racing. According to organizers, it is very rare for a city to allow street racing. During the planning stages the closest example they could find was a drag race with snowmobiles outside of a city in Utah. Planners believe year two far surpassed the 2011 event and plan to incorporate attendee suggestions to make the third year even better.

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