At the beginning of July, Minus mentioned the Southrnfresh 5 x Streetdriven event. Neither one of us thought much about it since it was in Georgia. We joked about driving up for the weekend to check it out. I started thinking, “Do I really want to sit in the car for nine hours to Georgia to spend a day on my feet only to turn around and spend another nine to get home?” Charlton was thinking the same thing because he was looking at flights, and it turned out to be cheaper to fly than to drive! So, we applied for media and started preparing for a mini adventure.
I was in Atlanta back in June for work, and now I’m going back for cars. Not a bad deal. Though, this time around, I had a rental and wouldn’t be stuck in the downtown area, and BBQ was the first priority.
We had a 7am flight to ATL on Friday. I barely slept, as usual, so after experiencing the inane wayfinding system in ATL, I began to wonder “Am I that out of it? It can’t be this difficult to get out of this city-sized airport!” After a few wrong turns at Albuquerque, we’d found the rental car and were on our way.
An hour later, we arrived at the hotel, starving and exhausted. We checked in, and the hunt for coma-inducing BBQ began. Luckily, we didn’t have to go far. The receptionist suggested McGhin’s Southern Pit Bar-B-Que. She said it was just up the road, and the food was fantastic. Off we went. If she hadn’t told us where to go, we would have totally missed this gem of southern BBQ deliciousness.
Nestled in a quiet forested area right off North Expy, we found this small slice of southern goodness.
We walked in and were seated immediately, just as the sign promised. It was lunch time, and they were packed. Our server, Margaret, greeted us and asked for our order. We told her that we were visiting, not that our accents (or lack thereof) didn’t give us away, and we wanted whatever she felt was their best dish.
The Smoky Combo Feast with sweet tea x 2, that’ll do it. I’ve had plenty of BBQ in my adventures, but this was just insane. Every item in front of me was as delectable as the next. The ribs were like eating tender chunks of gold. Then, I asked Margaret if they had some spicy BBQ sauce. Sure enough, I went through two sides of it, dunking everything into those little bowls of liquid crack. The chicken was tender and juicy with a lightly crisped skin that cracked as you bit into it. Pure heaven. The pulled pork was succulent and absorbed a majority of the spicy sauce, hence the refill! The brisket was so soft that I had to be careful while dipping it into the spicy sauce, so it wouldn’t lose its structural integrity on its way to my mouth.
After we demolished the meat plates, Margaret asked about dessert. Cobbler sounded like the right choice. We were not wrong. I had the peach, and Minus had the blackberry both with ice cream in top. It was a hell of a way to finish off lunch, and, thankfully, we didn’t have anything going on the rest of the day.
The next day, after the BBQ coma had subsided, we set out early for the track. Seeing as this was our first time to an Atlanta event, we wanted to make sure we knew where we were going and also take some time to enjoy the sheer massiveness of the Atlanta Speedway.
As soon as we parked, cars started coming in. Looks like we weren’t the only punctual people in attendance! We grabbed our gear and started walking to the main event area. We were quite surprised.
There were already quite a number of vehicles parked and multiple vendors already set up!
It’s not often that I see a widebody S2000, but here are two in some very lively colors. The last time I saw an S2000 of this calibre was at Wekfest last year, and that one was an all carbon fibre right hand drive one!
Another rare sight was this Datsun 620 pickup. I loved the color and the Great Wave at Kanagawa hood detail. For the art geeks out there, this particular piece originated in early 19th century Japan by the artist Katsushika Hokusai. I’ve seen many reinterpretations of The Great Wave all over, but to see it here on the hood of a Datsun was refreshing.
As I was moving along to the next row of vehicles, Minus radioed, “You gotta see this!” So, I changed direction and headed towards the other end of the parking lane. As I approached, I began to see what was so important. A ‘64 Impala will always have a special place in my heart. This bowling ball-colored one found its way in. The owner has been driving this land yacht around for 19 years, and it shows.
The paint was chipped and faded in some areas and some chrome bits were missing, but when I looked in the trunk, I realized why the dings and missing pieces were there. It was filled with batteries and some heavy duty pumps. This car was made for hopping. Sure enough, the owner told us that he used to drive the ‘64 to hopping events, hop it and then drive it home. Talk about hardcore!
The switch box sat in the front seat just begging to be flicked.
We walked back to the vendor area and came across something rather unique. Now, I’ve seen Ford V8s nestled in the engine bay of many Miatas, but none of them could hold a candle to this.
The engine looked to be a Ford racing 302 small block 5.0 V8, similar to one I had recently seen in a ‘82 BMW 320i.
I love the look of ‘30s Hot Rodded Ford T-Buckets and the like. Seeing this Miata made me say, “Damn this is pure genius! Taking an old school hot rod approach to a modern-ish car.” It was so well executed. I could tell this Miata was a labor of love. Everything on it looked handmade like a hot rod should! I really wish I had some time to talk to the owner about the build.
We walked to the other side of the vendor spot to see a beautiful red BMW M6 and a gorgeous silver Porsche Cayman.
I’ve always loved the older BMW models, especially when they’re done up right. The headlight wipers really thrilled me; such a classic 80s touch!
We noticed a bunch of cars were starting to head towards the drift area, so we followed. After all, it was almost time for the media meeting for track access.
After the usual, “Don’t do anything stupid” speech at the media meeting, we got on the track. There was a k-rail right at the front, and all the cars were getting up close and personal with it.
Ryan Tuerck brought out his FR-S and started smoking it up.
After a while, I started to realize something. If Nissan ever wanted to reclaim the 240 chassis, they’d have to come to Atlanta. I’ve never seen so many S13s and S14s in one place before! Besides the handful of AE86s, Tuerck’s FR-S and Chris Forsberg’s M45, the dominant car was a 240.
We watched Tuerck, Pat Goodin and Forsberg take some laps, and then it was break time. We headed back to the show field to see what new arrivals had shown up.
We walked into VIP alley – a whole row of frame scraping luxury bippu executed to absolute perfection.
These are some of the best examples of bippu style I’ve seen stateside – clean and aggressive with all the subtle details that go into a bippu style car.
As we came back through the vendor area, I was awestruck. A real deal Nissan S13 K’s complete with grumpy cat plushie. I’ve always loved that color scheme. It reminded me of the first time I played Tokyo Xtreme Racer on Dreamcast!
Another rarity on our way back to the track was this 2nd gen Toyota Soarer straight from Japan. Atlanta has some serious Japan connections.
Back at the track, the drivers were ripping. So much Nissan goodness sliding all over the place. This time, I got more adventurous and crouched down at the end of the k-rail and shot down towards the action. No obstruction save for the cones.
After a while, we managed to get access to the k-rails in the middle of the track. We spent the rest of the time there…mostly because it was awesome.
The cars were coming by so close and so fast! It was great!
After a while, the sun had really taken its toll on both of us. We decided to wait until the last pro set and then take off.
After the last pro pass, I ran as fast as possible to Minus who was in the neighboring set of k-rails. We were settling in for another lap when we saw the track officials walking out to fix cones. That was our sign to get moving.
After dousing ourselves in a freezing cold soda bin, we packed up and headed to the hotel. We were beat but very happy to have made the trek up to Atlanta for a fantastic event. So, until next year Southrnfresh! Who knows? Maybe Streetdriven will come down to Florida. (Wink-wink, nudge-nudge.)