The rubber meets the road Thursday at the PNC Arena when HOT ROD magazine's 24th annual Power Tour rolls into Raleigh.
The Power Tour — reportedly the largest hot rod road trip in the world — is a seven-day, 1,300-mile trip across the South. Raleigh is the penultimate stop of the tour before it concludes in Concord.
HOT ROD expects upwards of 6,000 vehicles to participate for at least some part along the course of the tour. That includes hot rods, street rods, custom trucks, muscle cars and performance vehicles from all makes and years.
"The tour started in 1995 when a bunch of HOT ROD staff decided to drive their project cars from California to Ohio for a show," said HOT ROD general manager Jonathan Mill.
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"They put an ad in the magazine to see if anyone wanted to join them," he said. "Fifteen people showed up, and seven made it to the show, and those people became our first long-haulers."
Each year, a ceremony is held at the last stop to celebrate the long-haulers — those who travel the duration of the tour.
The event continues to flourish. Attendees can expect to see everything from classic specimens from the 1930s to brand-new high-performance Chevrolet Corvette Z06s.
Of special interest is a custom-built 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. The car, known as "Blasphemi," is owned by Mike Finnegan, the host of Roadkill, a HOT ROD web series about all things automotive.
The day will be rounded out by vendors, music, and food trucks. Admission is free, though parking is $10.
"The tour represents everything awesome about the hobby," said Mill. "Drag racing, autocross, burnouts and more."
What: The 24th annual HOT ROD Power Tour
When: Thursday, from 12 noon to 7 p.m.
Where: PNC Arena, 1400 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh
Info: Admission is free for spectators. To participate, single-day registration is $50, and day-of registration is available at the Gov. James G. Martin Building at the NC State Fairgrounds.
Parking: Spectator parking is available for $10. Parking entrance is located off Trinity Road, through Gate C.