LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - You've probably seen and heard them on the streets of Louisville. The Street Rod Nationals are back and they are celebrating their 45th anniversary. More than 30,000 street rod fans are in Louisville to check out thousands of vintage and builders hot rods.
With Lady Willpower from June 1968 playing on the radio, Jim Buttelwerth takes us back in time in his 1962 Impala, a classic ride that can go high or drag with the push of a button.
"This car came out of Manchester, Kentucky," said Buttelwerth, "a man owned it in the Carolinas and my father had one so I decided to buy one and restore one."
Did he ever. The Cincinnati body man completely took the car apart and put it back together with new paint, new chrome and he even adding the air ride suspension. His mother's Jesus is on the dashboard and so is his trademark front plate "Praise the Lowered."
Jim faithfully comes to the Street Rod Nationals year after year.
"We really have a good time," he said of the event.
The crowd of owners and spectators is massive at the Kentucky Exposition Center. From hundreds of vintage cars like a 1957 Corvette race car that won the 1970 Super Nationals to street rods built from the bottom up by the top pro rod shops in the country. Some, like an American Speed Company Ford Roadster, are worth nearly $400,000 to a collector. It looks like an antique and drives like a Corvette.
A 1957 Buick Estate Wagon we looked at has 150,000 in it according to Pittsburg builders Customs by Kilkeary. It's up for the Builder's Choice Award and heads to Las Vegas before it finally makes the trip home to its Nebraska owner.
The man who helped put it together, Tim Kilkeary told us, Street Rod Nationals was a definite stop on the map.
"The amount of cars and the quality of the cars and frankly the people here," Kilkeary said, "It's just so much fun to come here."
The cool kids are representing too with plenty of hot trikes and wagons. Frankfort brothers, 9-year-old Zachary Perry and 4-year-old Camden, are big fans of their dad's fancy orange pickup truck.
"It's a 1958 Chevrolet," Zachary said.
When asked what the kids in Frankfort think of the truck, Zachary gave us a thumbs up.
Admission is $15 for adults 13 and older, $6 for children ages 6 to 12 and children 5 and under, are free.
The show lasts until 3 p.m. on Sunday, August 3.
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