A Quick Conversation with Andy Brizio…”The Rodfather”

-Andy Brizio and his trusty '32 Ford roadster

Since his first official cross-country trip to Peoria, Illinois in 1970 (which he made in his AMBR-winning candy colored ’23 Ford T bucket ), Andy Brizio has made more than two dozen such trek’s in a variety of rods including his mount for the last 20 years – a flaming purple ’32 Ford hiboy roadster built by his son Roy Brizio. Known worldwide as “The Rodfather,” Brizio has never shied away from his passion for driving show winning rods long distances. “I wanted to prove to people that you could drive these kinds of cars to car shows,” he said reflectively.

On Friday, September 14th, Brizio and long time friend Gary Meadors, founder of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association are leading Andy’s final tour – the Rodfather/Goodguys Road Tour to Indianapolis. The tour leaves the Bonneville Salt Flats that morning and continues east through Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin and on to Indianapolis for the Goodguys 2nd WIX Filters Speedway Nationals at Indianapolis Motor Speedway September 21-23. Over 100 hot rods will partake in the tour, screaming down the interstate – men and their vintage machines – turning heads the whole way.

Andy and his wife Sue just held their annual Hot Rod Picnic in Sutter Creek, California this past Sunday, August 19th. Over 700 cars turned out for the one day party proving the Rodfather hasn’t lost his touch or his ability to pack ‘em in! We had a chance to speak with Andy and get his thoughts on the upcoming Rodfather/Goodguys Road Tour.

-How did it all start – you know, cruisin across country in hot rods?
Andy: Well, really my first trip across country was in the Volksrod to Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1969. That excursion got a lot of press. So in 1970 Bud Barnett and I drove to the first-ever Street Rod Nationals in Peoria (read about that trip here.) The magazines really wrote a lot about that one so we started doing cross country runs more and more in subsequent years.

They’ve all been great adventures but the 1992 trip to Goodguys Indy really stands out. We took a bunch of roadster guys – some of the Nor Cal guys and some of the So-Cal guys and others from around the country. When we got to the Speedway – we all drove the track together then went to the museum. The Speedway Museum tour is something everyone should do in their lifetime.

-How do you feel about this year’s Rodfather/Goodguys Tour?
Andy: It’s been a great opportunity to meet a lot of guys and plan things out. We’re going to have a hell of a time. I’m glad we’re going in September – it’s rained on us every time we went back in June and early summer. It still might rain a little but not like June.  I’m especially excited for all the other guys we’re going with. They’re all my friends but some have never done this kind of thing before. It’s going to be a hell of a trip – it really is.  Going with this many guys going (182 people total) – it’s going to be really cool. Sue (my wife) has made so many reservations.

-Why is Indy so special to you?
Andy:  I have a lot of memories back there because of the Speedway. There’s a lot to do there for car guys and I like seeing everything – the drag teams, the Indy teams and of course the Speedway.
John Buttera and I had a lot of good times back there. I went with John as a crew member on his Indy car team back in the day. I have a lot of memories from being a crew member in the ’82, ’84 and ’87 Indy 500.

-Will this be your last trip?
 Andy: “Yes it will. I’m 80 years old now and I get tired easily. I’m not in denial about that anymore. I feel it when I do too much. In fact – for the first time ever, I’m going to put a top on the roadster for this trip. I can’t have the sun beating down on me like I used to.”

-Well have fun Andy. Thanks for all you’ve given to the hot rod hobby.
Andy: “Thanks guys. It’s going to be a tour to remember – I can promise you that!

Be sure and follow this year’s tour by visiting www.rodfathertour.com. Daily photo and video updates will be posted and you can also follow the tour live online getting up to the minute position updates!

-Andy was a cool cat back in the 60s

-Andy wiping the bugs off his C-Cab at the 1971 Street Rod Nationals in Memphis

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