Kay Burroughs is "The Queen of the 32's!"
It's a title Burroughs has earned after having driven her 1932 hot rod Ford coupe more than 140,000 miles before this weekend's Lone Star Street Rod Association 46th Annual State-Run at Granbury's Hewlett Park.
Burroughs will add another 600 hundred or more miles to the odometer after she drove from Spring (north of Houston) to join with family, friends in Granbury.
Women drivers are few and far between in most street/hot rod associations, and Burroughs' love for the cars came about honestly when she met a boy (Bruce) who spent a lot of time with a wrench in his hand and had little money in his pockets.
"When it came to the weekends, we had to pick one night that we could go out," Burroughs said. "The rest of the time I spent sitting on a paint can and watching him work on whatever car he had underway."
The high school sweethearts now have grandchildren, and Burroughs jokes she doesn't sit on that paint can anymore because she can't get up off with the same ease she once could. All that wrench turning led to a business, and Bruce's Rod Shop specializes in hot rod fabrication and isn't named for Bruce but his son Danny (Bruce Jr.).
"That was something I didn't find out for 32 years," Danny said. "Then one day it came up, and Dad said it was something he had done to get me involved hopefully."
Did he say 32 years? Maybe Dad was making sure he was serious about what his Mom calls "the epitome" of "Hot Rods?"
All joking aside, the Burroughs family is profoundly serious when it comes to the 1932 Ford coupe and when April (Danny's wife) began setting her heart on him (after meeting him at church), she had more than just marriage on her mind.
"Right after we got married, she wanted to drive my car," Danny said. "I knew things were going to be great! But, uh, I did ride right next to her…."
They rolled away from their wedding in a 1932 Ford, and it later moved out of their garage but not out of their lives. A good friend, Ray Crabtree, bought the car, and it is sitting only a few feet away as Burroughs reminisce about their history. Street-Rodders don't sell their cars as much as they put them up for a paid adoption
April's passion has grown to the point she drives her own Ford to shows, and recently the family traveled in multiple cars on a trip of more than 6,000 miles across numerous states. April also has the family's most "rumbly" car! A striking contrast for a woman who makes her living as a high school math teacher.
The Burroughs' stories are just one of a million that can be told by members of the Lone Star Street Rod Association that held a three-day show at Granbury's Hewlett Park this weekend.
The LSSRA started in 1974 with 16 original members who promoted the American street rod through safety, recognition, participation, promotion coordination, and communication.
That sounds rather formal for a tight-knit group where members are like family, and they are more than willing to tell you about their bouncing baby Ford or Chevy. Many even have a wallet (or purse) full of trading cards printed up for fans to take along so they can admire them again.
The terms "street" and "hot" are interchangeable among its members, but the passion for the cars always burns bright.
"It's a 1940 Ford with a 350 small block," Mike Nelson said. Nelson traveled from San Angelo to take part in the show, and he's a proud "Papa."
"Did you get the part about the 671 Hillborn fuel injection?" Nelson asks.
The car belonged to his father, Dwight, who passed away from cancer before finishing its restoration. Much like his son's heart, the vehicle was in pieces when Nelson began putting it all the way together.
Saying the car is special to Nelson falls far short of the true feelings he has about it. He has a guardian angel riding in the seat by him cruises down the highway with his custom flame paint job, giving the vehicle a meteorite look.
When it comes to custom hot rods and restoration, it's not a bad idea to have a guardian angel when a mishap comes along that can test a 30-year friendship.
That was the case for David Kirk and his good friend Frank Packwood who owns a 1940 Ford Deluxe Coupe he values as much as his grandchildren,
"I was sitting in Frank's car, and there was a mishap that ended up with me driving the car through the garage wall," Kirk said. "I am crying because of what has happened to my friend's car, and it's all my fault."
Packwood's shrugging his shoulders and commenting that it was "going to take a little work" to fix the car's wrecked front end wasn't precisely the reaction that Kirk expected. The two's bond is stronger than ever, but it was unclear if Kirk has ever been behind the car's steering wheel since the accident.
Safety is the Lone Star Street Rod Association's number one concern, and like any good family, everyone is always looking out for the other. Parts are hard to find, and they never get more accessible because of the vehicles' ages.
The association's state-run is a great chance to network, look for a new vehicle and seek help if a car owner has a problem they can't solve. If you would like to learn more about the LSSRA, you can log online at lssra.com