AUSTINTOWN — Austintown businessmen Mark Cole and Jerry Dixey have teamed up to bring the 2022 Syracuse Nationals Road Tour to Quaker Steak and Lube in Austintown on July 10.
The event will feature 30 Street Rods and Street Machines coming from all over the United States.
These tours are nothing new for Dixey, who has been running the events for 25 years. The first was in 1996 when Street magazine Rodder Dixey drove a custom-built 1934 Ford coupe across the country, eventually ending up in Las Vegas where the car was raffled off.
The “Road Tour” became an annual event for the magazine, featuring a custom-built machine that Dixey toured the nation in. On the tour, he participated in other events along the way.
“I’ve competed in 110 consecutive National Street Rod Association events in just 10 years, with a different car each year,” said Dixey.
After 10 years, Dixey said, the tours took a new turn when the magazine’s readers were invited to take an 8-week cruise across the nation. Readers who have paid to secure a spot on the tour must then drive or ship their vehicle to the starting point.
Street Rodder magazine folded in 2019 and ended tours. Added to this was the 2020 pandemic, which canceled many events, including the cruise scene.
In 2021, Dixey decided to bring cruises back.
Last year he was able to be two hosts. So far this year he is preparing for June’s Speedway Motors Tour, which runs from Lincoln, Neb. to St. Paul, Minn. will lead.
July’s Closer-to-Home Tour travels from Columbus to Syracuse, NY to the New York State Fairgrounds. According to Dixey, this is the place where the largest group of special interest cars meets annually for the Syracuse Nationals, an event for car enthusiasts that draws up to 7,000 vehicles.
“I’m working on a 1957 Chevrolet station wagon,” Dixey said. “I hope to have it ready in time for the cruise to New York.”
Meanwhile, Dixey and Cole have scheduled a stop in the Valley for the Syracuse Tour.
The tour begins July 10th in the Polaris Park area north of Columbus. The tour travels through Amish country en route to the evening’s first stop at Austintown’s Quaker Steak and Lube. Sunday night is cruise night for Quaker Steak and Lube and the tour vehicles will take center stage.
Cruisers will stay at the Austintown Hampton Inn and have breakfast on July 11th before visiting some private car collections in the area during the day and a private party in the evening. Before the private tours, the caravan of 30 special interest vehicles will stop at the Mark Cole Insurance and Financial Services office at 25 Idlewood Road in Austintown for a photo op. All 30 vehicles line up for photos in the parking lot before heading out to visit the private collections.
After stopping at Cole’s office, the caravan heads to Ohio Van and Truck Supply and Classic Automobilia, 3667 Mahoning Ave. to view the collection of car-related items Dixey has amassed over the years.
Cole will be attending the tour locally because he is the one who acted as a sponsor for the event. His agency spearheads a five-state area for the collector auto insurance market. Locally, Cole is a popular spot for cruises and special vehicle owner events, and since he’s involved with the Medicare insurance market, it seemed a good fit.
“He dominates the custom car market,” said Dixey. “We are delighted that he has agreed to sponsor this tour. And it fits well, because 65 to 80 is the average age of my (tour) participants.”
“I’m honored to bring this tour to the Valley,” said Cole.
Dixey added that it would not have been possible without Cole’s sponsorship.
For the public, the best place to see the 30 vehicles from this year’s Syracuse Nationals Tour is at Quaker Steak and Lube on July 10, when they all arrive.
On July 12, the tour departs from Austintown and heads to New York with a scheduled stop at the I Love Lucy Museum in Jamestown, NY, the hometown of actress Lucille Ball. From the museum, the tour travels to Niagara Falls before retiring for the night stop.
The tour concludes on July 13 at the Syracuse Nationals headquarters, the Ramada Inn in Liverpool, NY. The tour stays there and enjoys Syracuse Nationals for the rest of the week before splitting up and heading home.
For more information on the tour, visit Jerry Dixey’s Roadtourians Facebook page. For information on the national event, visit www.syracusenationals.com.