Recently, intelligent transportation systems (ITS) is becoming an important research topic. One goal of ITS is to exchange information among vehicles in a timely and efficient manner. In the ITS research community, inter-vehicle communications (IVC) is considered a way that may be able to achieve this goal. An information network built on the top of vehicles using IVC can be viewed as a type of mobile ad hoc networks (MANETs). In the past, several unicast routing protocols for MANET have been proposed. However, most of them are designed for general MANETs rather than for IVC networks. In this paper, we first used more realistic vehicle mobility traces generated by a microscopic traffic simulator (VISSIM) to understand the characteristics of routing paths in an IVC network. Based on the insights gained from the derived path characteristics, we designed and implemented an intelligent flooding-based routing protocol for small-scale IVC networks. Via several field trials conducted on highways, we compared the performance of ad hoc on-demand distance vector (AODV) and our protocol. Our experimental results show that (1) our protocol outperforms AODV greatly in IVC networks and (2) our protocol can provide text, image, audio, and video services for small-scale IVC networks (e.g., a platoon) quite well.