WILLIAMS - Travelers on Route 66 between Seligman and Kingman will share the road with vintage automobiles of the past as the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona holds its annual Route 66 Fun Run this weekend.
The Fun Run is the perfect excuse for vintage car enthusiasts like Williams resident Jimmy Walker to show off their restored vehicles. Walker said he rarely misses the event.
"Really, we've been going since the conception," he said. "It's been going for about 20 years or better."
Walker said somewhere between 10 and 30 cars usually leave from Williams heading to Seligman on the first day of the event.
"It depends on who has got their cars ready and so forth," he said. "A lot of times we go to Rosa's and take pictures of the cars before we head down. We always stop at all the little stops on the way."
The Fun Run leaves Seligman Saturday morning traveling west on Historic Route 66 through the Grand Canyon Caverns area and on to Peach Springs, Truxton, Valentine, Hackberry and Valle Vista before eventually reaching Kingman.
Various types of entertainment, including Native American dancers, are featured at some of the stops on the Run along with barbecues, souvenirs, scenic overlooks and historical buildings. At the end of the day, drivers display their vehicles at the Show-N-Shine event in Kingman.
Walker said finding an old car, restoring it and getting it out on the road is a satisfying endeavor. The Fun Run is often the first time a newly restored car hits the road.
"It's a lot of fun to get the cars out," Walker said. "Some of the guys, you know, they just got their cars finished and that's the first real road trip they take them on."
Because older vehicles weren't made for modern day highway speeds, Walker said his group of drivers uses back roads when they can.
"We drive the freeway to Ash Fork and then turn off on Old Route 66," he said. "I think the speed limit there is actually 65 but most people run about 45-50. These older cars they just weren't designed to run that speed so a lot of guys update them. Some cars look original but have updated parts in them."
Although some car enthusiasts try to restore vintage automobiles using only stock parts, Walker said he's not too concerned with that aspect of the restoration process.
Walker has been restoring his own vintage cars his whole life. He said once word got around, more and more people asked him to work on their cars as well.
"Guys saw (my cars) and wanted me to do certain things," he said. "Some of them like to do part of the work, what they can. Then, some of the other stuff, they would rather have someone else do it. So, I do work at various stages. However a guy wants it done."
Walker plans to pull his 1950 Mercury out of the garage to hit the road in this year's Fun Run.
The three-day driving event, held the first weekend of May, begins in Seligman and travels 140 miles to Topock/Golden Shores. The event is open to all street legal vehicles - buses, bikes, RVs or roadsters, station wagons or Shelbys. Registration for the 23rd Annual Route 66 Fun Run is $55.
For more Fun Run information visit www.azrt66.com/funrun.htm.
Posted: Monday, May 3, 2010
Article comment by:
Great article, makes me wish I were back in Williams again.