My first “target” event was the Stray Kat 500, which was to be held the first weekend of May, 2020, but due to the ‘Rona-virus, it got canceled, and I got behind on the panel truck progress. As a way to have a little “make up” date, Mick and the Stray Kats hosted a “Stray Kat Reunion” to have a day of hanging out with friends and old cars. After some negotiations with the missus, she gave me the green light to go.

The plan was to meet up at 5:30am with Mike, Pike, and Quentin, at a truck stop about 20 minutes west of Springfield. When I pulled off the highway, I had steam blowing out the overflow of my radiator, so I was sure that I had REAL issues. I bummed a towel from Mike and put a leather glove on and carefully removed the radiator cap, letting it blow like Old Faithful. Most of it went out towards the driver’s side, but there was a little residual spray on the underside of the hood and front fenders. Pike said I got the rear fender of his car, too.

The dark area to the driver’s side was the spray pattern left on the parking lot.

I went into the store and bought a jug of premixed coolant and dumped it into the radiator. That didn’t even fill it up, so I bought a 2nd jug and got it up to a normal level. Pike was convinced that I had a bad water pump and told me I needed just to leave it there for the day and just ride with him. Being hard headed, I told him I was gonna limp it home and get the coupe. They said they would wait on me.

I took off and drove on home, temp gauge staying rock steady on “Normal”. When I got to the house, I used my infrared gun and shot both heads and they were both under 180 degrees. GREAT NEWS! I tossed my brand new “spare” water pumps in the back, hosed off the fenders, and met back up with them by 6:30.

They told me that they wanted me to run up front so I could set the pace. We started off running around 70mph, but by the time we hit Joplin, I saw my speedometer on the phone reading 79. When we reached Coffeyville, KS, for a bio-break and fuel stop, Pike was giving me a hard time about not babying the old flathead!

Travis Miller captured this shot of Pike’s ’41 and the panel truck at the entrance of the event.
Tim Cox took this shot of Ed Jennings and me having a conversation while I was cruising around.

It turned out to be a fantastic day. I did discover that the panel truck still gets terrible gas mileage, and suspect that to be a bad power valve in the carburetor, but it sure will go down the highway!