HomeCar CultureCommentaryReady for a road trip? Plenty of opportunities this spring to exercise...

Ready for a road trip? Plenty of opportunities this spring to exercise your car


Ah, spring, and a young (or even not-so-young) man’s fancy turns to…

Forget whatever Tennyson tried to tell us. The poet died just about the time that the motorcar was being invented, so he couldn’t have known that it wasn’t thoughts of love that stirs the fancy but thoughts of getting the sports car out of the garage and clipping a few apexes after the snow has melted.

One of the best ways to fulfill such fancy is on a vintage sports car rally or collector car tour, where you not only are among others of your ilk, but where you likely are raising money for a good cause.

My personal favorite is what was known as the ELK Charity Challenge, but for 2018 is changing its name to the GiveBack Rally. Same event, same dates, but a new name and a renewed affiliation with the Richard Petty Foundation.

The dates are May 19-26 and this year the route runs from Birmingham, Alabama, to Galveston, Texas.

Take a road tour this Spring and support a good cause | ClassicCars
’59 Caddy convertible in the rearview mirror

I did the first two rallies when the event was called ELK, as in Everyone Loves Kids, and we had a blast — the first year was a trip up the Pacific Coast of California and the next year it was Detroit to Lake Placid — while raising money along the way for children’s charities.

The new name is so new that the new website isn’t up yet, but if you go to the ELK website and click on “Contact” it will direct you to the right place to get rally information.

Can’t wait until just before Memorial Day to exercise your classic or sports or exotic wheels? Here are some other tours and rallies to consider:

April 7-11 — 28th Copperstate 1000, offering 1,000 miles of Arizona highways, open to pre-1974 vehicles.

April 15-19 — 28th California Mille, featuring 1,000 miles of driving on some of California’s best byways, for cars produced prior to January 1, 1958.

May 3-6 — Drive Toward a Cure, the “California Adventure” offers a meet-in-the-middle format with cars leaving from Los Angeles or Monterey Bay and driving to the Alisal ranch and resort in Solvang. You don’t even have to have a classic or sports car to participate thanks to a link between the event, which raises money to combat Parkinson’s disease, and DriveShare by Hagerty.

Maybe sports cars and exotics aren’t your thing. If you’re more into hot rods and street rods, there’s the annual Hot Rod Power Tour, June 9-15 from Bowling Green, Kentucky to Concord, North Carolina, with stops at various race tracks along the way.

There’s also the Street Rodder Road Tour, with a series of events and rallies from June 16-October 21, this year sponsored by United Pacific Industries, which will debut its 1932 Ford pickup truck body components. Stops on the 2018 road tour include Back to the ‘50s week in Minnesota, the Vintage Air tour in Texas, Syracuse Nationals week, the Speedway Motors tour in Nebraska, the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan, the Shades of the Past Tour from Nashville to Pigeon Forge, the Cruisin’ the Coast Tour in Mississippi (and afterward there’s a drive from the Gulf Coast all the way to Southern California), and Sherm’s Tour to the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield.

Or perhaps you’d rather tour in Europe?

The National Corvette Museum’s Museum in Motion program includes a trip June 8-19 to Paris and then on to Normandy and before the 24 Hours of Le Mans race weekend.

Mandarano’s annual Car Guy Tour Italia still has openings for those eager to tour Italy’s car factories and design houses, including Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Pagani, Pininfarina, Zagato, Italdesign and Fiorvanti, as well as some private car collections. The dates are September 16-27.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Thank you for the plug of the California Hot Rod Reunion, which is a fundraiser for another worthwhile charity, the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum. The museum is an independent non-profit educational institution. We’re open year ’round and are located adjacent to the historic Auto Club Raceway at Pomona. So if your readers are hitting the road this Spring and headed to California, stop in at the museum. The museum is dedicated to preserving and sharing our American Hot Rod history, and inspiring the next generation of future hot rodders. Our collection consists of some of the most iconic rods, customs, land-speed racers, and dragsters in the history of hot rodding. For those who can’t make it this Spring, join us in Bowling Green, Kentucky for the Holley National Hot Rod Reunion – and yes, it too supports the museum.


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