The biggest hot-rod hot spots in the country

Some parts of the country are notorious hot spots for classic car enthusiasts. Whether a legendary automaker once called one of these locales home or a following of hot rod fans sprang up organically, some areas boast a markedly higher per capita of cool rides than others.

The most obvious destination that comes to mind is Detroit, Michigan. This city has seen its share of ups and downs. Over the course of the past century, Detroit has gone from being the industrial center of the United States to one of the hardest hit zip codes in the nation following the recent recession. One thing that has always kept this city afloat was the auto industry, as Detroit is the home to the “Big Three” American automakers: Chrysler, Ford and General Motors.

For more than a century, cars have been rolling off assembly lines throughout Michigan, fueling America’s love affair with the automobile. This means that you can probably expect many cars on the road in this neck of the woods to be locally crafted rides, cared for with pride by the hands that built them. Along with the rides on display in one of the many local automotive museums, classic cars can be found in abundance on main streets and back roads throughout the state.

However, classic cars are not only fixtures of the rust belt. In fact, even in New England, where the most popular models on the market tend to have four-wheel drive and, in many cases, a foreign nameplate, you can find hot-rod superfans. In New Hampshire, where the state motto is “Live Free Or Die,” many residents have a serious need for speed. Not only are the laws notoriously lax for drivers in this state, the New England Motor Speedway also calls Loudon home, and the New England Dragway in Epping is one of the premier destinations on the NHRA circuit. Even fans of two-wheeled beasts convene in this state, as the Laconia Motorcycle Week takes the White Mountains by storm every year – one of the biggest bike rallies in the country.

However, Michigan and New Hampshire have some drawbacks for enthusiasts of classic rides. Both states are known for their harsh winters, and road salts eat away at steel frames and panelling. There’s a reason why so few Datsuns can be seen on the streets of New England, as many cars from the ’60s and ’70s either migrated south or became victims of decades worth of inclement weather.

This is why some of the largest and most impressive car shows and clubs call the pacific coast home. For sheer looks alone, Monterey, California, is a drivers dream. If you’re a fan of real antique cars, and aren’t afraid of a hefty price tag, this area is home to some of the fanciest auctions and car shows around. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance, The Quail Motorsports Gathering and The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion all take place here, making it feel like driving through the ’50s on some weekends.

Further down the coast in Los Angeles, drivers take American muscle seriously. Although Detroit is dubbed the Motor City, there is arguable more driveable pavement in Los Angeles than in any other metropolis in the country. And if the amount of love LA has shown the American Hot Rod in homegrown movies and music are any indication of how residents actually live, than this city is without a doubt one of the country’s motoring capitals.

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