Waterford Township hot rod and drag racing aficionado Jack Ostrander’s 1955 Chevrolet Nomad was one of 10 cars that took top honors last month in the annual SoffSeal Show N’ Shine event at the National Hot Rod Reunion in Bowling Green, Ky.
“The Nomad is the latest car I bought and started working on, so that’s the car I picked for the reunion this year,” Ostrander said, adding that he bought the black beauty two years ago and immediately began prepping and pampering it.
“The guy I bought it from had it since 1977 and didn’t finish it,” he said. “I revamped the interior, motor, wheels, and exhaust system.”
Ostrander is no novice to the hot rod and drag racing scene.
“I’ve been been involved in hot rods forever,” he said. “I used to go up and down Woodward Avenue in the 1950s when cruising started. I have it in my blood, I guess.”
He began drag racing in the 1950s, then switched to boat racing for a stint in the 1970s. He rekindled his drag racing hobby in 1979, but switched gears four years ago to pursue hot rods. His car collection includes a 1933 Ford pickup truck, and Ford roadsters from 1932 and 1937.
“Sometimes I miss drag racing, but not all the work,” he said. “It’s day-in, day-out work to race and then you have to fix what’s broken right after. It’s a rat race, so between the money and work it became a pain and I quit.”
The Bowling Green event was the fourth of 10 hot rod and custom car shows that will be visited this year by experts in the field to find the hottest street rods in the country.
Every year, scores of impressive cars — ranging from muscle cars and hot rods to trucks, classics and customs — make the trip across the country to participate in this event.
“There were 2,000 cars at the Hot Rod Reunion, and mine was selected from 10 different venues,” Ostrander said.
Ostrander’s Nomad will now be one of the 100 street rods considered for competition in the Street Rodder Top 100, presented by Painless Performance Products. During the Hot Rod Reunion, Ostrander was voted as one of the qualifiers for the coveted Bob Daniels Award.
By the end of November, 100 street rods will have been selected to compete for the Street Rod of the Year award. The winner will earn not only the respect and admiration of his or her peers, but the winner’s vehicle will also be featured in the pages of Street Rodder magazine.
“We’ve seen some amazing and pristine street rods this season, and the work each winner has put in to their vehicle is truly exquisite,” said Brian Brennan, editorial director of the Performance Group of Source Interlink Media. “I know that when all is said and done, picking the ‘Street Rodder of the Year’ is going to be a very difficult decision.”
The next group of 10 finalists will be selected at the Goodguys PPG Nationals in Columbus, Ohio this weekend.
Street Rodder is part of Source Interlink Media’s Performance Automotive Group.