Hannon rolls into Hot Rod Power Tour
June 11, 2014
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- The rumble of thousands of car engines will be heard loud and clear June 12 as the 20th Annual Hot Rod Power Tour makes a stop for a night at the Isle of Capri, Bettendorf, Iowa. At least one member of ACC-RI is already geared up and waiting for the opening flag to drop on the event.
Col. John P. Hannon, ACC-RI military deputy director, registered months ago to participate in the Power Tour's stop in the Quad Cities. This year's tour started June 7 in Concord, North Carolina, and winds its way through stops in Tennessee, West Virginia, Ohio, and Indiana before making its penultimate stop in Bettendorf.
On June 12, one of Hannon's cars will be on display with thousands of other cars during the show hours in Bettendorf. On June 13, he will drive in the convoy on the final leg of the tour, which starts in Bettendorf and ends in the Wisconsin Dells.
"It's been a dream of mine to participate in the Power Tour ever since I heard about it, because it is such a neat concept," said Hannon. "It brings thousands of cars to local communities, which is incredible. This year it's predicted that between 4,500 and 5,500 cars will participate."
Hannon's passion for cars began when he started college. He owns approximately a dozen cars, which are held in storage facilities around the Midwest. He maintains a spreadsheet to keep track of where all of his cars are, and in what condition.
He owns a few modern cars -- including a couple of police cruisers -- but the majority of his cars are classics.
"It is definitely my hobby and my passion," said Hannon. "It is a good distraction in this modern world that can get so hectic and fast-paced. I call it automotive therapy. Even if it's as simple as detailing the car, washing, waxing it, and changing the oil, there's something satisfying about it."
He said he is particularly fond of maintaining older cars because they teach him how to troubleshoot and analyze problems, as well as reminding him to be patient and keep his sense of humor.
He owns a couple of older Lincolns, a 1960 Buick Electra, and a 1972 Mercury. His favorite car as far as visual appeal is his 1957 Chrysler 300C.
"It's a really cool car with a big 392 (cubic inch) hemi, two four-barrel carburetors, factory-installed push-button ignition, and great big tail fins," said Hannon. "They call them the Dodge Viper of the '50s because they were very high-performance, and loaded with luxury options, like a full leather interior, power windows and power seats. For 1957, that was advanced."
Hannon's other favorite car is his 1968 Mustang fastback, which is a near-replica of the car Steve McQueen drove in the 1968 movie "Bullitt."
"That was my favorite movie growing up, because there is this phenomenal chase scene between Steven McQueen in a '68 Mustang fastback chasing a black Dodge Charger through the streets of San Francisco," said Hannon. "Some people call it the most famous car chase in film history, and it hooked me as a kid."
Deciding which car to register for the Power Tour was difficult for Hannon, as he has several options. Hannon ultimately registered his Chrysler 1958 300D Coupe in the Power Tour earlier this spring. However, he recently noticed there is something wrong with the car's driveline.
"I have one expert mechanic working on that, but I will probably have to change my car to the '68 Mustang," said Hannon. "However, that car is in Kansas with the transmission out right now, so I've got to come up with a third option."
Once he makes a final decision on a car, Hannon said he can concentrate on what he is most looking forward to: meeting other car enthusiasts, learning new tips and tricks, and seeing a wide variety of cars.
"There will certainly be modern Mustangs, Corvettes and a variety of classics," said Hannon. "There might even be a couple of minivans because some families like to make it a vacation. Some people will tease the guy who shows up in a minivan or a station wagon, but it's done in good fun, and they are still part of the fun and camaraderie. Events like this are special because you will see anything and everything vehicle-wise."