Hot Chili Rods

Hot Chili Rods

Hot Chili Rods keeps American traditions rolling

Car club members dote on the classics


Special to The News-Press:

Watch now, as the old and once-proud name-plates parade past, drive off into the sunset and fade into the mists of time, perhaps writing the final chanter of an era that was emblematic or Americas industrial might and boundless optimism. Pivmouth. Pontiac. And before theme, a hundred more.

The demise, bankruptcies, sale and restructuring of General Motors and Chrysler marked a painful coda to the nations dominance of the automotive industry. And while both automakers may survive and even prosper the cars they churn out will most liklely never match the big-blocked, asphalt-eating, and t under-throated high performance “muscle cars” the l960s began ‘rolling off assembly lines and into the hearts and sows of a car-crazy publIc.

“Americas always pretty much depended on the auto industry and the steel industry, and  now we’ve pretty well lost them both,” said Rich Ellegood, a member of Hot Chili Rods, a Cape Coral classic and hot rod car club.

“They don’t make them like this anymore,” the retired Lee County Sheriff’s deputy said wistfully, patting the door of his 1968 Buick Skylark. “They’ll never make them like this again. “Never.”

Hot Chili Rods formed n 2002 and now has about 150 members, according to president and founder John Cassetta.The club meets every Friday at his home on Country Club Boulevard “the one with-the fully-equipped four car garage that would be the envy or more than one auto repair shop). The meetings are  casual and informal. There are no dues, no rules —- just schmoozing, a lunch that always includes chili and, naturally, car talk.