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Hot Rod tour: In it for the long haul

By Maria Young, Assistant city editor for features
Photo courtesy of FRANK BOSTIC
Charleston resident Frank Bostic plans to drive his 2012 Corvette in this year’s Hot Rod Power Tour. It’s parked in his driveway next to an old gas pump that is restored but not functional.
Photo courtesy of HOT ROD MAGAZINE Hundreds of cars are expected to join the tour, much of it traveling along back-country highways, en route to Charleston and beyond.
Photo courtesy of HOT ROD MAGAZINE The Power Tour gives auto lovers a chance to check out some of the hottest wheels on the road and get up close and personal enough to kick the tires and peek under the hoods.

A few years ago, Frank Bostic, of Charleston, was sitting around with some buddies when the talk turned to “bucket lists,” those once-in-a-lifetime things people dream of doing before they die.

“And on that bucket list was doing the Hot Rod Power Tour,” Bostic said.

That was in 2011.

The guys all agreed they had two years to pick out and either buy or build the car they would drive.

He picked a 1977 Corvette he’d owned since 1978.

Tim Pack bought and refurbished a 1947 Chevy Suburban.

The friends — four of them — joined the tour last year in Memphis, Tennessee, traveled on to Chattanooga, Tennessee, then Birmingham, Alabama, before the weather turned nasty and forced them to skip the final stop in Charlotte, North Carolina.

But they had such a good time they decided once was not enough — so they’re planning to join the 20th anniversary of Hot Rod magazine’s Power Tour, which passes through Charleston on Monday.

This year, Bostic is taking his bright red 2012 Corvette, the kind of car you could write a song about.

An estimated 3,500 show cars and performance machines are expected to wind their way to Kanawha Boulevard beginning at noon on Monday, including roughly 1,500 “long haulers” that will make the trek this year from the Charlotte Motor Speedway to the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

“You basically have three kinds of people who turn out for this,” said Hot Rod media contact Jessica Kirchner.

“You have the guys that come out for the day to look around, you have the guys who come out for a couple of days but have to be back at work by Monday or Tuesday, and then you have the long haulers, that join us for the whole tour.”

“We’ll be leaving Saturday and going to Charlotte, going to Knoxville [today], then Charleston, and to Norwalk on Tuesday,” said Bostic during an interview late last week.

Like a kid on Christmas morning, you could hear the excitement in his voice.

Of course, who among us doesn’t remember the thrill of that first set of wheels, the joy of taking the family car for a spin the very first time?

But this is different.

“You have to understand, it’s an obsession. We just love cars,” Pack said. “We’ll probably put a thousand miles on these cars in four days. And it runs you on the back roads. The routes we’re going this year are places I’ve never seen,” he added.

The tour is a chance for auto lovers to do what they love — drive — and to meet and talk with others who feel the same.

“It’s actually a disease,” Pack said. “We’ve been bitten by the bug.”

The tour is free to spectators.

Participants can register a vehicle for a single day or multiple days. One-day registration is available on site only for $30. For more information, visit www.hotrod.com or call 877-413-6515.


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