For love of autos, owners sharing their excitement

The hot rods are on display through Sunday at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
CANFIELD -- For Kevin Whistler of Columbiana, hot rods are in his blood.
His classic red '72 Chevrolet Nova SS, nicknamed "Potent Rodent," has a "For Sale" sign in the driver's side window where its established a permanent home.
"I just don't think I'm gonna be able to part with it," Whistler said of his possession that has consumed his attention for more than two decades.
The street rod is one of two Whistler parked at the Canfield Fairgrounds for the 24th annual Hot Rod Super Nationals that are taking place today from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The event features burnout contests, a roll-over contest, and live bands that are expected to attract more than 50,000 people this year.
But for hot rodders, the excitement comes from meeting people and taking a look at everything they've done with their cars.
"It gets in your blood, and you can't get it out," said Kevin's brother Rick Whistler of Boardman, who has been racing cars for many years.
The two have attended the car show every year for as long as they can remember and look forward to the hot-rod caravan that goes up and down U.S. Route 224.
"I drive one and he drives the other," Rick said, nodding at the impeccably polished classics.
Rick Whistler's latest creation is his cherry red '32 Ford coupe, which he's been working on in his garage the last four years.
"It takes a lot of money and patience to do this," Whistler said while cruising through the fairgrounds Friday. He admits that being a machinist by trade has fueled his love for cars.
He hopes someday he can build a convertible just like the coupe.
More than 2,000 hot rods, street machines and two-wheel-drive trucks are making their way into the fairgrounds for this year's event. Many of those displaying their machines are newcomers.
Dan Rupp of Cincinnati said his son Danny attended the event last year and insisted he come along.
"I love to see all the different shows," Rupp explained as he examined his fully loaded '58 honey beige Chevrolet Impala. "You get a chance to meet some great people and see all the different ideas."
Rick and Sandy Smith from Pittsburgh are also rookies to the Canfield show. They've traveled from Columbus to Louisville, Ky., checking out the latest hot rods.
Like many others, they will be escorting their '33 frost beige Ford on Route 224.
With the increase in traffic flow this weekend, the Boardman Police Department and Ohio State Highway Patrol are enforcing their usual restrictions to keep hot rodders on the move throughout the night.
Jeff Patterson, Boardman police chief, said the department will be regulating traffic the same way they do every year.
"We're prohibiting left turns from West Boulevard to Market Street from about 5:30 p.m. to just before midnight," Patterson explained.
Tickets for the Canfield show are $10 for adults and $7 for children.

Don't Miss a Story

Sign up for our newsletter to receive daily news directly in your inbox.