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Where’s Norm?   At the NSRA Nationals in Louisville, KY 

August 1st through the 5th.


Norm drove the “Kookie Monster” with “Kookie II” secured in the back to NSRA Nationals this year.  Before the trip, long time friend, supporter and master builder Dale Steves had spent some time with the “Kookie Monster” to make the trip as uneventful as possible.  Could this be foreshadowing?  Read on.  


The drive to Louisville went without significant incident.  The A/C kept it pleasant inside the cab for Norm and his passenger Kerry.  There was a minor issue with the overdrive unit but it was quickly resolved on the road.  The 454 motored to the hotel without missing a beat.  Two minutes later it felt like it was running on six and a half cylinders.  With all of the friends and talent at the Nationals how hard could it be to remedy a little engine roughness?  The next four days would illustrate just how many people care about Norm. 


Back to the rods.  As expected there was quite a gathering in the hotel parking lot before an event as large as this.   Seeing the mix of everything from rough drivers to award winners was enough to justify the trip.  The hotels had added security that kept trouble out of sight and the lots clear for registered guest and their vehicles.    Not surprisingly, Norm could not take more than a few steps without seeing someone he knew.  This would not change for the next four days.



But how is it in the rain?



Between the traditional style rods of the ’50s  and the billet rods of the ’80s, Hot Rods had a definite style with emphasis on “psychedelic” paint.  This car looks like it could have been in the parking lot during the initial release of “American Graffiti”.  This is where many of us were in ’73.


The event schedule called for vendors and exhibits to be set up by six Wednesday evening.  Norm was to be part of the Lizard Skin display but could not reach Bob Call, of Lizard Skin, to coordinate the logistics before the deadline.  Due to a slight mix up the Lizard Skin display would not arrive until Thursday.  As it was not a bulky display the event officials allowed it to come in on Thursday.  Everything came together just a few hours behind schedule.


“I thought you brought ice cream”


Looks like Norm may have identified the secret ingredient.


Sorry Norm, Bob counted the inventory before you got here.


Norm’s friends Doc and Kerry were recruited to detail Kookie II once it was in the booth.  You could hear these guys asking, “WHERE’S NORM?”  Norm did reappear and provided some new products from Hot Flash to make polishing the chrome, brass and aluminum easier.  Fred from Hot Flash had two new products on hand.  They worked well enough to keep Norm in good standings with his cleaning crew.


Showing a vehicle has a recurring theme of challenges, get to the event, get to the booth, get it clean.  With the normal hurtles over Norm could do what he does best, BE NORM.  The NSRA events attract lots of people and a large percentage know or want to know Norm.  People brought items to be autographed and gifts too.


Ricky Teague made an etched glass version of Charlie Smith's caricature of Norm.


Drew’s ’32 has a new addition to its steering wheel.



Curt came down from Wisconsin and was happy to meet Norm many years after seeing Kookie in Racine.  


Celebrities (besides Norm) were on hand too.


Dinner with friends including Jim Inglese, what to talk about? Let’s try Webers, Hot Rods, drag racing, real AC Cobras and basic family values.  Too bad the dinner didn’t last longer the conversation was just getting started.



That’s Charlie Smith in the background.  He created Norm’s signature caricature and practically oozes talent. See for yourself at this website.



Sam Memmolo stopped at the Lizard Skin booth to say “Hi” to Norm


If you only recognize two of the people in this photo you are missing out big time.  In addition to Sam and Norm that’s artist Bob Robertson.  Check him out at Bob's website.  


Barry Meguiar was shooting some footage.  On a previous taping he told Norm to be sure to stop by anytime they were at an event together.  Barry’s must be very busy and in good shape too.  Norm never could catch him at Louisville…."Barry likes me, really". 



It feels like home at the Pete and Jakes booth.  Norm was at their shop recently but they managed to bring out a few new things since the visit.


Norm offers a hand to Corey


Pete and Jakes had some clever new products on display like their new cover for nine inch differential housings


Pete & Jakes have more than bits and pieces, it is hard to beat one of their complete chassis as a staring point for a project. 



David Stutts, owner of, Hot Rod Air spent some time with Norm to review projects that are in work.   Norm’s Fish Truck will be chilled by one of David’s stand-alone units.  

 David and Norm


Braving the heat there was quite an abundance of fine cars both parked and cruising the event. 




Looks like the deuce edged out the squad car by a nose.



You know it’s hot when people cruise with their suicide doors open.



It was THAT hot.




Butch and Tina brought their Evil Twin.



Straight and black, always a good combination. 



The tires might also function as a roll bar on a car this low.



Did you know that sometimes a primered car can steal some paint from nearby cars?






Back inside the show there were sights everywhere.  Can you say “Cash advance?”


If $160K is too much for a 40 year old ’67 Vette you can pick up a new one (what do you call a fiberglass replica of a fiberglass car?) for about $16K.  Like 1/24 scale plastic cars, some assembly required.



Thankfully there were long time friends with rods who offered chauffeur services.  The hotel was close but riding was much better than walking.


Joe’s '32 STUDEBAKER PRESIDENT has style, lots of room, Norm’s carvings and COLD A/C.


Norm is quick to point out that he sold this beauty to Joe.  If Joe can get a word in edgewise he’ll point out that the most of “beauty” was added after the sale.




Barry’s ’32 has A/C, a Norm shifter skull and a big huffer.





Wayne’s Ford has a purity that is infectious.



Jimmy must have figured that if Norm rides on the back he can’t ask for another favor.  We told you Jimmy is pretty smart.




Rusty Jackson's Odd Rods is taking a new Pete & Jakes chassis home.


The event lived up to its reputation.  Almost too much fun.  If you’re wondering about the Kookie Monster, here's the scoop.


See you where Hot Rods gather.


Home Up Detroit Autorama 09 LRCVB, AR 2008 Where I've Been 07 Nationals