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1998 Car Craft Summer Cruise - Bigger Better Faster Louder

Car Craft's Summer Cruise '98

By , Photography by The Car Craft Staff

When you only have one show a year, it better be good-so what a relief that the July 17-19, 1998 Summer Cruise in St. Paul, Minnesota, was great. It was bigger, with 1,500 entries; better, thanks to more varied and creative cars; faster for the fairground cruise loop; and louder, with the first ever two-at-a-time burnout show.

With sponsorship from BFGoodrich and Chevrolet, plus invaluable help from the Minnesota Street Machine Association, we pulled it off with nary a hitch.

It was such a success that we've been in talks with our Special Events department for even more Car Craft events than ever for 1999. That means even more covers and car features shot at events, more burnout smoke, perhaps some drag racing, and definitely more places to hook up with the Car Craft staff and bend our ear a while. '99's gonna make this year's Summer Cruise look like Wednesday night at your local Dairy Queen. Keep an eye peeled for the latest Car Craft event info in the monthly Straight Scoop department, or contact APG Special Events, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048, 800/732-4227.

Second Opinion
This year's Cruise was fun, but after cruising Cheap Street Chevelle from L.A. to Minnesota, I was ready for even more intense action. I scratched my itchiness by flogging the Chevelle in the burnout contest, but Freiburger gave strict orders not to blow the hoops. Bummer. Then, when the staff piled into the Chevelle for some late-night cruising, we were stymied by a sour battery. Twice bummer.

Next year I wanna see some real action, and have a few ideas listed below. Whatta you think?

•Forget the nose-to-nose burnouts. Let's go back to singles and let the driver decide what generates the best smoke-show action.

•How about a burnout contest that lets the driver do donuts if he wants to?

•Let's buy three beaters-a Chevy, a Ford, and a Mopar. Drain all the oil and coolant, fire 'em up, and do a burnout. Once the meats pop, throw 'em in Park and rev 'em till the valves float and see how long they'll go before they blow. Will the Chevy, Ford, or Mopar last longest? Let fate decide.

•How 'bout a hard-launch contest? Use a timer to test participants' cars to see who can launch, accelerate hard, then come screeching to a hault the quickest within a 100-foot mini dragstrip.

•Impose a new rule: In order for your car to be shot for a feature in Car Craft, you've gotta drive it in (no trailers), cruise it at the event, and enter the burnout contest. We'll decide when the story will run depending on if the car is seen cruising Porky's drive-in or hibernating in the hotel parking lot. -John Kiewicz

Third Opinion
After four years of attending the St. Paul Summer Cruise, I can truly say I have special memories of each year. This year, getting tossed off the golf cart while Dave and JK did a little four-wheelin' in the "executive" chairs was something that'll go down in the annals for a while. I also got stung by a wasp while shooting a car feature, but aside from these minor snafus, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds has always been a place where I've had a good time.

Since the first show in 1995 I've noticed that resto cars are popular with this upper Midwest crowd. Mix them in with a whole lot of tricked-out street machines and you've got what Car Craft is really about. While often it seems like people only want to read about parts and pieces on a purely technical level, I find myself on the same side of the fence as many of the participants at the Summer Cruise. My interest is in whole cars such as LS6 Chevelles, 427 Vettes, cool Hemi Mopars, or Boss Mustangs-not in big-block Chevy valvesprings or some other insignificant technical trivia that has nothing to do with a car as a whole. And while I like the fact that there are lots of well-preserved resto cars out there, let's not forget the importance of modified and tastefully upgraded street machines.

I also like the idea of the St. Paul show being CC's one big blowout deal. While some might be bummed out that we didn't return to Sedalia, Missouri, or Lincoln, Nebraska, St. Paul carries the spirit of those shows onward. Even if we have more shows next year, St. Paul will still be the biggie. So mark your calendars for July 1999, get wrenchin' on those street machine buildups, and we'll see 'ya in Minnesota. -Miles Cook

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