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In photos: Driving a 1932 roadster to massive U.S. hot rod show Add to ...

Soon after completing his 1932 Ford roadster, Lou Meehan discovered the Syracuse Nationals, the largest hot road show in the American northeast.

In this he was typical, for the show has grown as word has spread since the Nationals began in 200. Now rod builders time their projects to finish in time for any given year's show. Luc LeBlanc, of Victoriaville, Quebec, won the biggest prize this year, The Winfield Award, $10,000, with the 1949 Mercury Monarch he worked on for 13 years.

But most of the 8,000-plus cars crowding the fairgrounds in mid July aren't bidding for any awards. Like Meehan, a Toronto chartered accountant and owner of Sunnyside Capital, their owners return each year for the cars and the company, to take in the innovations, perhaps gain new inspiration. It's a friendly crowd, mostly male, a scattering of long-suffering wives, children in tow. The sun beats down. You slather on more sunscreen, knowing no matter how long you keep going you'll never see all of the cars.

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