Touring one of Houston's best kept secrets: The Hemi Hideout
http://oppositelock.jalopnik.com/tourin ... 1645143602
I cannot believe that I've never heard of this place before, and it's not too far away!I had an opportunity to first visit the Hemi Hideout last year with one of the biggest Mopar clubs in the country (Space City LX) and I was in complete awe.
Tomorrow (10/11/2014) is Space City LX's Lone Star Mopar Fest held on Lonestar Motorsports Park (John Hennessey's grounds) and today (10/10) SCLX and the Hemi Hideout hosted a Heritage Lunch to give an opportunity for new "Modern Mopar" owners a chance to pay homage to the machines that inspired the cars we drive today.
The Hemi Hideout is located just a few miles outside of the Houston city limits on I-10 west (after Katy, before Sealy). Basically....it's a Mopar shrine. I'm not talking a statue or a couple cars in a warehouse...I'm talking a BUILDING dedicated to Mopar.
Per their website, the building is, "a 21,700 sq. ft. Heavy Timberframe, scissor arched masterpiece that is the largest of its type in Texas. It's octagon shaped copula rises to a height of 54 feet. The Amish inspired structure uses mortise and tenon joinery and all timber pieces are secured with oak dowels, eliminating the need for bolts, nails or glue."
That's right. Almost no bolts, nails or glue in the entire building. The construction is simply jaw dropping.
The project was the brainchild of John Hovas; your classic "self made man". After creating his successful tool business, and turning it over to his son, he began building a collection of cars that he fell in love with during his childhood. More specifically, Plymouth and Dodge muscle cars. Roadrunners, Chargers, Challengers, Cudas, Coronets...the whole lot.
Eventually he expanded his collection to Jeeps and Trucks. He also has an extensive collection of old farming tractors and motorcycles (mostly Triumph from what I could see). Everything meticulously restored.
Then we have the signage. Nearly all of these signs and gas pumps he acquired and had restored, as opposed to having them commissioned. Not kidding, hearing John talk about the signs, is hilarious. I'd say he has as much passion hunting and restoring each of these signs. Each and every one has their own story.
Including this amazing "barn find" that they discovered in an unopened crate. Deciding to pull a few panels off, and mount it as it sat all those years.
I found it amazing that I'd been in the car scene in Houston for a decade, and had never heard a word of it until last year.
The collection is private. If you're in Texas, or plan on stopping in Houston for a period of time, give them a call and see if they have any clubs coming by or events going on so you can see the collection It's worth the short trip out of town.
And if you're in the Houston, own a Mopar, and aren't a member of Space City LX...what are you waiting for!?!?