Two Days Of Hot Rodding: The E.L.T.A. Big Go and Summer Bash

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At the time of writing this I’ve personally attended three events held by the East London Timing Association (aka The E.L.T.A) with each event being better than the last.

The E.L.T.A. holds a tremendous amount of respect among the Ontario automotive community. This respect could easily come from the quality of their cars, the awards they’ve won, and quality of their events but truth be told it comes from the people. It’s hard to capture through words just how much everyone in a black shirt with E.L.T.A across the front loves car culture, but trust me if you ever come across one you will know from their demeanor and following conversation.

Their positive reputation precedes them and when they host an event people come out to support because it will always be something worth attending.

This year the E.L.T.A. hosted two events back-to-back, their first Big Go Summer Drags that was followed the next day by their famous Summer Bash.

After missing last years Summer Bash I made sure to circle this year’s date on my calendar as soon as it was announced and when I learned the E.L.T.A. was also taking over taking over the St. Thomas Raceway the Friday before it was a no brainer. I simply had to make it to both.

St. Thomas Raceway has been around since the sixties and was reportedly the first purpose-built 1/4 mile in Ontario, so it would be the perfect venue for the start of two days of hot rodding in its purest form.

I had never been to St. Thomas before, and despite my best efforts I’ve been able to attend an Ontario Nostalgic Drag Racing event so this allowed me to more or less check two items off my list.

True to form for 2017 Mother Nature was being her natural fickle self and it rained on and off throughout the morning and drive up to the track.

However when we did get to the track around noon the rain had stopped and the track staff started the task of getting the track ready for an abbreviated day of racing.

While the track staff worked feverishly getting the surface safe I took the opportunity to walk around the pits and take a look at a few of the cars that were parked around.

Darn near every generation of drag racing, and automotive customization in general, was represented in the pits. It would have been easy just to stay in the pits and to comprehensive coverage of those cars.

However even though there was no shortage of awesome everywhere I looked I reminded myself that I’d see many of these same cars tomorrow, and that my focus should lie on what was about to happen on the track.

It’s been a few years since I’ve shot the quarter-mile, so it was pretty exciting to see if my skills had improved or worsened.

St. Thomas Raceway ran an abbreviated tech inspection for the day which meant a couple of cars that would usually sit on the sidelines found their way into the staging lanes, and ultimately the track.

The variety of vehicles pulling up to the line was pretty awesome as a result.

Heck, a Milk wagon even took a trip down the strip and there was some debate from where I was sitting about whether or not the driver even had the side doors to close.

I didn’t look at the time it ran, but when you’re in something as cool as a Milk Wagon your pass time doesn’t matter.

As more, and more, cars pulled up to the line I feel like several gentleman’s debts were settled and perhaps a few modifications may have been purchased later that night for next year’s Big Go drags.

I shot as much as I could before the clouds started to get dark and the wind kicked up to notify everyone rain was coming.

Before long the rain came down quite hard putting an end to the day and forcing hasty retreat to the car. Of course as I dashed  through the parking lot I couldn’t resist another photo or two.

On our way out of the park, even though it was raining, E.L.T.A. members faithfully stood by the exit thanking people for coming out.

The plan for Saturday, the day of the Summer Bash, was pretty simple.

My wife, son, and I would go to the event earlier in the afternoon when it was ‘quieter’ then my wife and I would return later for the real party.

Well, we did do exactly that but I don’t think ‘quiet’ ever happened. The street on which the E.L.T.A. clubhouse is located was pretty well packed all day, despite the fact that the main artery road leading up to it was torn up for construction.

Again, for any other club gatherings the fear of construction, traffic, and inconvenient parking might scare some people away, but for the bash? Not a chance.

I’ve mentioned before that one of the downsides of attending so many events a year is that I see the same cars repeatedly. This isn’t bad, but variety is always nice and the Summer Bash delivers just that.

There were several new to me cars at the event of all makes and years.

I was told that there were roughly 650 – 700 cars that came out and several thousand people in total, from all over Ontario and a few people from the United States.

Remember, this is an event that is pretty well park and look. There’s not set agenda other than to have a good time and in comparison to other events it is very under promoted.

But again that speaks volumes about the E.L.T.A. their humble genuine approach brings people out. There wasn’t a time in the day or night when a car wasn’t rolling in.

After heading out for dinner and returning sans child my wife and I arrived just in time for the famous Cackle Fest.

Many of the events that I go to often discourage revving but at the bash revving is welcomed just at the right time and the Cackle Fest is that time.

I’m not sure how many of you have stood near a Nitro car running, never-mind while it’s revving while it’s revving, but I both recommend it and don’t recommend it. It’s an awesome feat to witness but in short order you start to wonder what the long-term effects to your hearing are.

Crank it to eleven. #eltasummerbash

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On the flip side I’m sure I shed a tear or two at how glorious they sounded. That or the nitro fumes got into my eye, I’m not sure.

I didn’t get to go to Vanfest this year but as luck would have it a few “Vanners showed up to the bash. I’ve seen the ‘Heavy Burd’ Ford Ecoline before but honestly that paint gets me every time. It’s just perfect.

The Ace of Spades is a van that’s been in a constant state of modification longer than I’ve been alive. The signboard that was in front of the truck later in the evening did a great job of chronicling its modifications with the most recent taking place in 2015.

The interior below is actually the most recent modification being completed in 2015 if memory serves correctly.

Vanner’s march to their own drum for sure, but it’s truly amazing the hard work that goes into these rigs.

I loved this Ford. It was visually quite loud and reminiscent of something that could have been released as a model kit with the word “Radical” scrawled across the box.

The flames, the side profile, the pie cut slicks and mag wheels. It all just works together.

I’d bet everywhere this car goes it turns heads.

I’ve been following the build of the olhaftun’s Ford F-100 Instagram for the past six months or so, but I wasn’t expecting to see it at the bash.

If you like your trucks clean, well, this truck is very clean, and if you like your trucks low, this car is also very low.

The hardline plumbing of the fuel, brake, and air systems was impeccable, and the bead rolled detail within the bed, also picture perfect.

Inside the interior is equally fantastic and nearly finished. The black satin dash and red worn leather seat were great as well and the monochromatic color choices.

Additionally the custom wheel is pretty trick as well, and should look even better once the wood trim ring gets added.

Under the hood is a 4.6L Ford and surrounding the motor are some of the best wheel tubs I have ever seen.

Can’t wait to see how good this truck looks once it is completely finished.

I’m sure you Ford fans reading this noticed this gasser Ranchero in the Big Go Drags portion of the post. This car actually has a pretty cool story behind it.

In the sixties it was a fully prepped drag car before being sold. At that point it was converted back into a street car.

Al Dixon The original owner now has it back and recently just competed restoring it to the condition you see it in above and christened it with some track duty.

As good as the car looks it sounds even better.

My first introduction to the 1949 Ford Meteor known as “The Thundberball” was last years Jalopy Jam up. At that show the car had basically just been pulled from the garage it was found mouse nests and all.

After a winter of thrashing the now owner Kevin (@themaintenancedepartment) has the car back to working order.

Under the hood the original (well, original after the cars modifications years ago) 1955 Corvette motor was brought back to life with a rebuild and detailing.

The chassis, which was heavily customized but rotting away, was replaced with another ’49 Ford chassis that the owner replicated all of the original modifications on.

Aesthetically the owner will be leaving the exterior of the car as it came and honestly I wholeheartedly agree with that decision. There’s so much history and story in its current condition that would simply be lost if the car was refurbished beyond what has already been done.

It’s pretty cool to that the car came with all the trophies and awards that it earned during its first time around the show circuit. Again preserving the history of this car is incredibly cool.

As the sun started to set I took my final few photos before putting the camera away and sitting down and taking it all in.

I’ll end this post with a few shots from the interior of the E.L.T.A. clubhouse, a room that honestly is better deserving of a post all of it’s own.

Big thanks to all the members of the E.LT.A. for everything you do. Your events are great and I can’t wait until next year.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Dave for all your kind support, awesome pictures and words for the ELTA…they are much apprecaited by all the “Disciples of Speed”….see you next year brother.

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