6th Annual Surf City Garage Car Show

August 16, 2014

14754009217_e2cc681de1_mHuntington Beach, CA is also known as “Surf City,” yet this show wasn’t near the beach. This was the 6th annual car show sponsored by Surf City Garage products at their headquarters. This was our first time attending this event. Many people we have spoken to had suggested we should check it out for some muscle cars and hot rods and especially the private car collection.

Tim Miller, founder and owner of Surf City Garage, started this car care product business back in 2007 after the insistence of friends. The wax products were originally just for his restoration crew and soon grew to samples to close friends. Word of mouth about the product spread and an opportunity was created. The other major players in car care products include Meguiar’s and Mother’s, both located in south Orange County. Surf City prides itself in selling a higher quality product, which is also reflected in a higher price compared to their competition. Isn’t your 1960’s muscle car worth a little more for a wax or interior cleaner? Surf City products are now available through major automotive chain stores for your convenience.

You have to get to this event early to get a decent parking spot outside the show area which is located in an industrial park at the west end of Huntington Beach. Upon arrival, get your walking shoes on, you’re going to walk at least 5 blocks. Time to see some neat muscle cars and hot rods. At the center of the event is the Surf City Garage building, which hands down in our book has to be the best collection of vintage automobilia signs and neon we’ve ever seen. The two-story building has signs from toe to ceiling in every corner and wall. Vintage everything from Coke dispensers, gas bottles, oil cans, petrol pumps and advertising.

The center area of the garage incorporates at least a half dozen four-post car lifts, which help organize the personal muscle car collection. Tim’s collection is made primarily of mid 60’s muscle Pontiacs and Mopars. GTO’s and Super Bee’s, what else do you need? Maybe a Shelby, but I don’t remember seeing one of those amongst all the cars and signs. It’s almost too much to take in as a walk-through tour. We made our way towards a rollup door as an exit and caught glimpse of the 1950’s diner area with Corvette and Ford Sunliner in the center. Across from those were late 40’s Indian and Harley motorcycles. We’ll take the ’47 burgundy Indian if Tim needs more room in the future. Outside the garage are more cars in various stages of restoration on lifts and under car covers. This is a very active restoration shop with many roll-out toolboxes and everything needed to bring an aged Detroit steel monster back to life. The finished cars are top-notch and every detail is not overlooked. Of course the paint gets the full treatment of top quality wax and protectants to keep the cars looking their best. These are the testaments of good quality on display.

To summarize this collection, I’d have to say it’s like having a real life Hot Wheels car collection without the cheap plastic case. Everything is restored to its original state and it makes quite an impact of days now gone. We look forward to next year’s show.

Tribute to Gassers

August 2, 2014

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A car show just for Gassers!

The Automobile Driving Museum in El Segundo, California sponsored the “Tribute to Gassers” event which coincided with the month long exhibit dedicated to the gasser racing vehicle. Let’s begin with a brief history of the gasser. In the mid 1950’s, racers started modifying their family sedans and coupes with big performance add-ons. In most cases, the cars were cheap and “ugly,” but in abundance. Willy’s, Studebaker, Anglia, and Thames became the normal platform for these modifications which almost always included a supercharger and an addition of a straight beam front axle. By 1956, the NHRA had created a separate class for these gas coupes and sedans due to their popularity.

The gas coupe and sedan classes had to maintain stock wheelbases and engine relocation was limited to a maximum of 10% setback from the centerline of the front spindle to the front spark plug. The increased popularity of these cars boosted crowd attendance at the drag strips throughout Southern California and lead to the “Golden Age” of gassers. We should not forget the color paint schemes with pearl and metal flake and polished chrome parts as a result of all the media and spectator attention. Gassers began to fade out in the 1970’s, which then developed into the modern day Funny Car classes.

This event had approximately 60 gassers outside the museum, which made quite the impact of brute toughness and all out race. Some cars were current builds made to traditional specs and some were die hard survivors that escaped most of the neglect and rough life of a vintage race car. Two fine examples of vintage were the Jones & Johnson 1955 Chevy with the original small-block 327 and a 1956 Llyod which was stuffed with a ’59 Olds 394 featuring an Edelbrock Ram Log intake manifold and drag slicks.

The “cam father,” Ed Iskenderian was also in attendance along with other gasser geezers for the panel discussion that was held inside the museum amongst the mostly 1930’s Packards and Lincolns. The museum itself has quite a collection of domestic makes dating from 1901 through 1963. What makes this museum different, as the name states, is that they actually drive the cars. Every Sunday a car is taken out of the museum and driven locally in the neighborhood. Visitors can go for a ride but it is encouraged to get your name on a list prior to your arrival.

No gasser rides on this Saturday, but hopefully the ADM will host another event like this next year.

 

44th Antique Nationals

June 29, 2014

Antique Nationals 2014 Fontana_117 “The Great Wall of Fontana” otherwise known as Auto Club Dragway in Fontana, California was the location for this year’s 44th annual Antique Nationals. We got to the track early and had to wait some time just to get through the ticket booth. Unfortunately, organizers did not set up a racer lane and a spectator lane upon entrance to the spacious parking lot. Despite all that, we finally got situated and checked in at the track tower for media passes. The hazy morning in the San Bernardino County yielded just the right amount of heat that made it bearable for some trackside photos and video for the day. Lucky for us again as we were here the previous weekend to check out NMCA drags and autocross.

This event was open to racing for pre 1954 vehicles and up to 1956 for trucks. Racing was also open to motorcycles and small cubic inch two-wheelers, such as Whizzers and Cushman scooters. What’s so great about this particular event? You get the whole course of a meal of vintage drag racing. Whizzers to straight axle gassers, powered by single cylinder to all-out blown big-block Chevy V8 craziness. Everything is cool, with patina, rust, primer or pearl paint. Quite simply stated for the quarter mile madness that we almost lost when this track closed due to legal noise issues with the local miscreant who decided to move in next door to a NASCAR superspeedway. There is a reason why such a track is located in the inland empire.

You can expect to see a lot of different engines powering these pre 54 vehicles as well. The Forever Ford Four guys always have souped up inlines with moded intakes, heads and exhaust giving the four-banger a distinct and a very different sound through the exhaust pipes (if equipped). Ford flatheads, yes of course, early cadillacs, Hudson, Buick nailhead, inline eights and even a GM six supercharged for a modern fitting dragster. Does all this vintage greatness sound like a treat for a Sunday afternoon? You bet. Even all the media thought so just by the increase in the number of photographers this year. This event will get bigger next year for sure.

Save the date for June 2015.

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NMCA West Muscle Car Nationals

June 22, 2014

NMCA West Coast Shootout Fontana_217 The Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California is up and running again with their new twenty foot high wall that runs the entire quarter mile. This wall is the result of a local resident that filed a lawsuit to shut down this track over a year ago. We’re not really sure what they were thinking because the 2-mile, D-shaped oval NASCAR track is about two hundred feet away from the dragstrip. As they say when you’re purchasing a home, location, location, location. If you’re into NASCAR, trucks, 
go-karts, dragsters, SCCA, vintage open wheel race cars and good ol’ drag racing, by all means move in but don’t call the authorities when its time to run open headers.

This particular weekend had all of these events going on plus some road course racing with late model exotic cars. There’s something for everyone who has the passion for speed. The NMCA West crew puts on a great schedule for drag racing. If you’re really into Stock or Super Stock type class racing, this is for you. Spectator or sportsman racer, NMCA can accommodate. From Pro Mod, 5-second passes to the True Street class with averaged time around the 9 second mark, you see all kinds of dragsters, mods, late-model and early model racing. This is all-around great action for the locals and gearheads.

On the backside of the track tower was the Autocross event organized by Hotchkis Sport Suspension in Santa Fe Springs, California. The Hotchkis representative told us that they had 76 entrants for the Saturday event and 49 for Sunday. That was more than double the drivers since the first event back in May. We have a feeling this event will grow and it was advised to sign up now for the next one in October.
Autocross has become more popular in the past year with Goodguys, Street Machine Nationals and now NMCA teaming up with suspension experts like Hotchkis to draw more crowds and to get more drivers inside their cars at shows. Even your daily economy driver is acceptable to run the course as long as you bring an approved helmet. Think of it as sharpening your driving skills rather than all-out cone killing road madness.

We may have to sign up and get off our feet from shooting pictures and video of these events and get behind the wheel and take the test ourselves. We’ll be back in October to cover this and the NMCA World Finals.

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32nd Annual F-100 Western Nationals

June 21, 2014

F100 Western Nationals_23 It’s been two years since we attended this all-Ford truck show in Anaheim, California. More specifically, this show was focused on the 1948-79 Ford F –Series trucks. The majority of the trucks were 1953-56 base models. It was interesting to see more 1957-66 models in attendance this year. A saleswoman from Mid-Fifty F-100 Parts from Golden Valley, Arizona confirmed that the growing trend is the newer generation of F-Series trucks as these are becoming more abundant and have a lower price tag than the early, fat-fender early fifties models. More so in fact that they are in the process of making a new catalog dedicated to these later model years. Let’s face it, American 1950’s cars in general are more expensive.

The guys from Pickups Limited in Orange County organize this annual event which is the largest gathering of F-100’s on the West coast. This show brings out a few trucks from previous years, but also brings out customizers and smaller truck clubs. Whether its customized wheels or all-around cut, shaved, lowered and bagged with deep metallic paint, you will see something quite different from previous years. You can expect to see that particular custom truck in an upcoming issue of Classic Trucks magazine within the year. There are some NICE trucks at this event.

Another characteristic for a lot of these trucks, was the engine choice. Quite a few had kept the original 6 cylinder and even the old Y-block for their respective years.  Many of the early 50’s trucks had the small-block chevy or maybe a small-block Ford. There were a couple of standouts with power from a Chrysler Hemi or a cross-ram induction system for a big-block Ford FE. Big thumbs up on those trucks for sure, and both had the best black paint jobs on the grounds.

Bring your girlfriend, dog and a picnic lunch for some relaxing time in a great park with lots o’cool Ford trucks. Big thanks to Pickups Limited for putting on this event.

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Summit Series Racing and Y-block Shootout

June 15, 2014

Summit Drag_Y Block Shootout_178The early wake-up on Sunday was tough following the long day from the LA Roadster Show on Saturday. But this was not an ordinary Sunday. We decided to go to the Barona Dragstrip in San Diego County, California to check out some 1/8th mile racing. This particular event also had a bonus for Ford Y-block powered vehicle enthusiasts. This part was billed “2nd annual West Coast Y-block Shootout.” The main event of the day was the NHRA Summit Racing Series. This division of racing  features a bracket racing format for sportsman drivers that allow them to run dragsters, roadsters, sedans, coupes and even motorcycles. Qualifying events allow drivers to win cash, prizes and bragging rights for the year.

It’s this commitment to the sportsman racing class that helps out the smaller tracks such as this one which is located near an Indian reservation in inland San Diego. Through the winding road up into the rocky, barren terrain we found the strip which had all the comforts of a small campground and the luxury of a paved pit area. The track staff were laid back and efficient with getting all drivers into their correct staging lanes and made the day a seamless task for shooting some cool drag racing.

Most were muscle cars with hoped up engines running slicks. A couple drivers had big Hemi’s which hit the eighth mark in just over 5 seconds and 120+ mph. Leave that to a Mopar. The Y-block entrants were grouped together with the exception of John Hildebrand which also ran the Summit Series Pro class. His ’31 Ford coupe would make the pass in the 6.40 neighborhood. His moded Y had aftermarket aluminum cylinder heads, custom intake and race carburetor. John Mummert, Y-block guru from El Cajon, re-designed these aluminum heads and also has many performance upgrades for the Y-block along with stock replacement parts.

The history of the Ford Y-block goes back to 1953 with the development of the Lincoln overhead valve V8 engine. This was the same powerplant that made news for the La Carrera Pan Americana Races in the mid ‘50’s. In 1954, Ford dropped the Flathead and started production of the 239 cubic inch Y-block. Ford produced the Y-block until 1964 with the last units being used in the F-Series trucks. The Y-block is interesting in that it has some engineering from the flathead and some leaning to the next generation which became the FE series. The Y and the flathead share the same firing order, giving it that great sound.

The Y-guys ran mostly early T-birds, trucks or early coupes. That made for some great vintage hot rod drag pics on the rack. Another exception was Charlie Burns who ran his 1990’s GMC pickup truck which was powered by a 347 cubic inch, turbo powered Y-block. Though he had issues on the track, he does get some attention with the bumblebee yellow color. He too is a familiar entrant at El Mirage and Bonneville.

This Y-block event has the beginnings for more next year with maybe an expansion to include FE’s. We’ll be back to Barona next year and maybe we’ll have our 312 Y running between some rails.

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LA Roadster Show

June 14, 2014

This Southern California event is by far one of the most popular and engaging shows of the year. The heart of hot rodding was at full pulse with the center of attention being the 1932 Ford Roadster. Ol’ Henry would be proud, along with his son Edsel who played a major role in the design aspect of this iconic vehicle.

The LA Roadster Car Club celebrated its 50th anniversary for sponsoring a car show. Some 30 years have been at this location at the Fairplex in Pomona, California. Even that is a long time for an annual car show which grows every year. The car club now has 40 members and had a ton of memorabilia and history on display in the exhibit hall amongst all the hot rod vendors and custom car builders.

The hot rod industry may have slowed down a bit in the past 6 years, but new products are still being developed and produced here in the U.S. Steel ’32 coupe bodies are being reproduced to Ford specifications from United Pacific Industries located here in California. As the original ‘32’s become more difficult to find and “fix”, the market will find a way to make these available “new.” Leave that to entrepreneurs and craftsmen. Brookville had a larger display outside this year with more RPU’s, coupes and frames to choose from beside their 50 foot trailer. Custom roadster builders like Johnson Hot Rod Shop from Alabama made the trip to show off their slick roadsters. Distance matters not for roadster fans and drivers. Some came across the U. S. in their roadster for this show and swap meet. Some spectators came as far as New Zealand to attend.

The swap meet itself is a daunting task to walk through in a day. Don’t expect vintage parts to be deep bargain prices, but negotiating is best left to Sunday. Vintage, meaning car-related items, and automobilia only. No aluminum beer can wind chimes or “vintage” Betty Boop décor. Rust, rust and mostly broken and missing steel and cast aluminum intake manifolds from days past line the aisles under the hot sun. Local kids made the best of that selling ice cold bottled water and bagged ice to the merchants. Lots of vintage vehicles pulled from the Southwest deserts and barns on flatbed trailers. More than I remember last year.

Other merchants included magazines like the Hot Rodders Journal along with non-profit organizations like “Save the Salt” which is working to preserve the natural grounds of the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) also works along those guidelines and are more active here in Southern California at El Mirage. Speed record holders for coupes, motorcycles and modifieds are a class of their own and some day soon, we’ll hit one of those events which boast 500+ racers and 1,000 spectators. That was one of the original locations for the founding fathers of hot rodding. The dry lake beds were the “test and tune” locations before dragstrips. The SCTA guys had a large display of coupes and modified motorcycles opposite the large showing of vintage dragsters and altereds for the cacklefest

Lastly, to mention the Specialty car lot. In a few words, it’s a show inside a larger show. Made up mostly of hot rods and customs in various “traditional” or “non-traditional” flavors with just one word to sum up – cool! Throw in a few muscle cars and you get the idea. Most anything is for sale and certainly something for everyone.

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Ink N Iron Festival

June 7, 2014

 


This was the fourth year that we have attended this annual tattoo and hot rod show in Long Beach, CA. The city of Long Beach had made their mark this year when they eliminated the use of the Dome to showcase the Motorama, which was a huge part of this event. The Motorama had a long time history in Long Beach back in the day and sadly, it will probably never return. 150 customs and vintage hot rods lined up in aisles under the Dome along with the rich car club history and Wall of Famers will be missed. Event promoters were not pleased with the city’s maneuvering and they were forced to proceed. After all, “The show must go on.”

Removing that attraction had a ripple effect for the rest of the layout for the outside hot rod parking and stage setup as well as reduced spectators. The Tiki Drive-In which is usually held on a grass area was shifted with the stage relocated to the Dome entrance. Sitting on asphalt isn’t comfortable. Few people watched the bands in their entirety at that location. Again, not a favorable position to enjoy the day with your car club members.

The few local hot rod car clubs filled the previously mentioned grass area along with a thin line rounding back towards the show entrance. A lot fewer rides and bikes this year for sure. A lot  missed for photos opportunities.

Vendors consisted of Rockabilly attire, men’s shaving services, t-shirts, vintage apparel and pinup photography make-overs for the sweethearts. The event also had a large food and beverage area for the low attendance folks needing swift service and a stiff drink. There were two stages outside and a DJ working the tunes between sets during the three day festival. Bands consisted of rockabilly, country and mostly punk rock tunes from legendary talents like Merle Haggard to The Damned and The Buzzcocks.

On board the 79 year old Queen Mary passenger ship, the tattoo artists took haven in their booths. Artistry from around the world came out once again for this gathering of skin art and piercing from Germany, France, Japan and you name it. This year was also notably low with folks getting ink work.

Other attractions on the ship included an art show, book signing from old school artists like Robert Williams and Coop, a pin-up girl pageant, burlesque show and even pole dancers. A fashion/vintage clothing section was also added which featured a sample of “what’s old is new again” such as vintage bow ties making a comeback.

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3rd Annual Nitto Tire NMCA WEST Street Car Nationals Race

May 17, 2014

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The ¼ mile drag strip in Pomona, California has a rich history of racing dating back to the 1960’s. On this particular weekend, we attended the NMCA West Street Car Nats for a great day of racing. The Southern California heat wave ended and left us with mid 80’s weather and a slight breeze which was most appreciated when you’re standing next to a concrete barrier on an asphalt track.

The crew at NMCA had their schedule dialed in and promptly began running cars at 9 a.m. just as we entered the pits to go to the tower to get our media passes. Lots of engines turning over to get staged for the first rounds of the day made good audio in the once quiet morning. We were standing at the cement barriers within minutes and began the workout with the continuous shutter on the camera. Sweet.

The bulk of racing for this event revolves mostly around your 8 to 10 second stock or super stock style classes. Classes are broken out by rear tire size,  power adders and such. That equals great racing.  The Pro Mod and Super Quick classes throw in some great racing with dragsters and modifieds hitting just inside 200 mph. That’s pretty damn cool.

The True Street class is something a bit different than your usual bracket racing. This group is lined up, escorted out of the track and onto the real world roads around town and brought straight back to the track for 3 consecutive runs down the track. Drivers cannot open their hoods, make any adjustments or tuning tweaks during this session. Their three run times are averaged for best results for four trophy winning spots. This group is probably the most interesting with some untrained drivers (such as myself) with high ET’s to more experienced drivers hitting mid 8 second passes.

Activities outside the track included the vendor aisle with big name manufacturers and included the NMCA booth with plenty of spectator goodies. This event also had a car show, which had some straight axle gassers, muscle cars and a few trucks. Overall, this was a good event. Great local racing, easy parking and no hassles. Too bad for the low spectator turnout, but we’ll be back in June for the next event which will have an added autocross challenge.

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Video with GoPro

 

Mooneyes Mothers Day Show & Drags

May 10, 2014

Mooneyes Mother's Day Show and Drag 2014_148

What do you do when your podcast partner can’t make a show that you really want to go to and have media credentials for?  That’s right, call a buddy.  Our good friend, Tony Colombini from Blacktop Magazine and the Blacktop Media Network came out for the show.  He picked me up in his 1956 Ford Fairlane (390, C6, 9 inch rearend, man, gotta love the FE) about a quarter to seven for an 80 mile an hour trip up the 605 freeway to Irwindale Speedway, in Irwindale, CA.  That Fairlane is solid Detroit steel!

We got off the freeway with a 1964 Falcon gasser following us and we arrived at the event with NO traffic.  Typically the Mooneyes X-Mas show is backed up at the entrance by 5 am, but we drove right in almost missing the entrance due to the lack of cars.  Tony did not have his car registered, but we grabbed the tags from fellow Mercifuls Car Club member Bill Torres the day before and drove right in and found a spot to park and set up the canopy and banners.  A quick sign-in at the tech area for inspection and off to the pits for some pictures and video.

The cool thing about a show like this is that everything is open.  You can walk around almost anywhere and see some cool stuff. Last minute wrenching, dial-ins, tools coming out, and vendors getting ready.  This was a great opportunity before the show opened to the public to shoot some great pictures.

The drag racing started a little after 9 am.  There weren’t as many racers for this event compared to the X-Mas show or the Antique Nationals, but good enough with some of the usual suspects and bad-ass gassers.  I thought more racers would have taken advantage of this event since the Irwindale track will be closing this December.  This event also had some changes for media areas and the next thing I knew,  I was standing next to the starter between the two lanes.  I managed to get some killer video and a nice race fuel/exhaust adrenaline rush.  I love the vintage drags and being up close and personal to the burnouts and wheel stands made my day.

Back to the show, plenty of vendors.  Need an old school helmet or a Van Halen belt buckle? Vintage Klass was there with many others to provide everything from t-shirts, pomade, haircuts to shift knobs, trinkets to racing prints.  You name it short of a swap meet.  Legendary car customizer, Gene Winfield was there and always available for a handshake and a “hello.”  Live music was on hand by various groups including the Hot Rod Trio, always a class act.

As far as a car show, it was a decent showing and we saw some killer stuff.  Not as big as I hoped, maybe because it was the first time for the show, or that there were at least three other shows going on in the Southern California area on the same day.  Regardless, we saw some old friends and made some new ones while looking and admiring some really nice rides.  Plenty of Fords and some rare Dodges out there as well as your usual Chevys and Mercs.  Overall, a good mix and variety of vintage tin and muscle.

We would like to see this show take off with popularity. It’s a good time of year with the weather and before all the heavy June season of car shows around town.  This show has lots of potential, but sadly where are they going to drag next year? We’ll keep you posted!

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9th Annual Edelbrock Car Show

May 3, 2014


 

 

 

 

The Ranchero made it to the 9th Annual Edelbrock Car Show on May 3rd without any problems other than the loose headlight bucket which made the light beam jump to every bump on the road. A few minutes later, the morning sun came up with a vengeance and you knew it was going to be a hot day. We haven’t been to this show in over two years, and this one worked out just fine.

The birth of the Ford Flathead engine kicked off hot rodding in Southern California and started the aftermarket industry. The history of Edelbrock started way back in 1938 in a mechanic shop in Los Angeles, California by Vic Edelbrock Sr. Vic started designing improved performance components for the flathead and then expanded products for overhead valve engines in the early 1950’s. Vic’s aluminum cylinder heads and intakes became more prevalent on the dry lake beds as well as on the streets for Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Olds and more. This was the heyday of hot rodding.

Fast forward to 2014, the Edelbrock Museum was open for business for this annual car show. Rich history of Edelbrock hot rods and muscle cars live in this facility. The original ‘32 Roadster owned by Vic Sr. has been restored by Roy Brizio and sits very prominently at the main entrance. It’s kinda hard to miss this black, fenderless Ford roadster. Other vehicles like the first Camaro in California and the Chevy powered Lister roadster are out on display. This facility is worth a look-through when you get the chance.

Outside in the show, you get the full slice of muscle cars, hot rods, trucks and a few customs. Proceeds were donated to the Edelbrock Family Foundation for the Rev’ved up for Kids charity. The young Hot Rodder’s of Tomorrow were also on the premises for more exciting engine building challenges. The Kids Korner within the show, is all for the kids. Edelbrock and the Family Foundation are doing what they can to get more youth interested in cars and vocational education classes. This event is very family friendly with local live music, DJ, food trucks, raffles and vendors. You can even bring your dog.

Edelbrock still designs, casts and machines its cylinder heads, intake manifolds, water pumps and a few engine accessories here in California, keeping the hot rodding legacy alive. See you next year.

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29th Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show

April 27, 2014

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What covers four city blocks and happens on one Sunday every year?

It’s the Fabulous Fords Forever Car Show at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, CA.

The best way to “see” this car show is to pull up a folding chair and sit on the sidewalk at
7 a.m. for the roll-in. You’ll need a chair because the double-wrapped line around the entrance will take 3 hours to get every entrant into the giant parking lot.

This year marks Mustang’s 50th,  and Ford had the new 2015 model out on the rotating display for all to see. Not bad. We like to see the muscle-born icon continue its journey with stealth performance and great looks. The show organizers shifted the herd a bit this year as well, to accommodate all those Mustangs. They placed the Mustangs in the larger part of the parking lot. Do the math, 49 model years times the number of each particular year. That’s a lot of Mustangs!

All those Mustangs aside, this event is also open to other model Fords, Mercury, Lincoln and Edsel. You can break that down further for car, truck and vans. Even a few Fords from Australia and England were in attendance. A few race-prepped cars were also on display. Shelby American, Saleen and Ford Motorsport had their full size event trailers out with the coolest parts and accessories.

One thing we noticed however, was the low attendance of the Model T’s and Model A’s. That may have been due to the A Club having their big annual show over in Orange on the same day. Guess we’ll have to check that one out next year for a double-hitter.

This Ford event is never quite the same each year. A lot of these owners drive in from across the states solo or with a club, and that makes it more interesting. This is a family oriented event and if you plan on going, there are plenty of things to see and do around Southern California at this time of the year. It’s a great way to fill a weekend in Spring. We’ll be back at the sidewalk roll-in next year. Happy birthday Mustang.

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2014 Goodguys Del Mar, sponsored by Meguiar’s

April 5, 2014

The fairgrounds in Del Mar, California are sometimes phrased as “where the turf meets the surf.” No Thoroughbreds were on the oval track this past weekend. But, there was plenty of horsepower outside the track. This was the 14th annual Goodguys, Meguiar’s Del Mar Nationals.

Cruising southbound on Interstate 5 at 7 a.m., we came upon a dark blue 1950 Mercury custom and then a red 1932 roadster with a tan top. The glassy Pacific Ocean as a background, partly-clouded dark skies that let just the right amount of daybreak sunlight in, was nothing more than that second cup of strong coffee. That impression just made you want a custom or a roadster, period. I was sold.

Back to reality, we got to the fairgrounds very easily and were standing with the rising sun to our backs watching muscle cars, hot rods, customs and trucks make their way down the cruise lane to the back lot of the field. Goodguys Golden Rules state that vehicles must be driven in and out every event day, lucky for us. It’s nice to hear unmolested Hemi exhaust and see some street legal slicks rolling around throughout the day. This is a cruise event, not some parking lot-anchored pony show. Throw in the raps from the Nitro Thunderfest and a few altered startups from the vendor area, you get the full auditory experience of pure adrenaline. Who doesn’t like to see and hear vintage front engine dragsters?

Our attention, as with many others throughout the day, was drawn to the Autocross. By far the most exciting and more seemingly growing enthusiast group to breathe more life into early model muscle cars and even trucks. Larger, better brakes, engineered suspension, late model engine-swaps and wider tires and wheels creates a monster for autocross. This track was long and tight with times just north of a minute for the well experienced. The opportunity was there for you to test your skills in your stock 1970 Mustang, 1938 Chevy panel or mom’s station wagon. It kind of pales in comparison to a modified and tricked out 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge in my book, but you get the idea. We look forward to more autocross next time.

Every car or truck has an engine and that is the focus for the Hot Rodder’s of Tomorrow. This program is for high school students interested in the industrial arts and their challenge is to tear down and rebuild a small-block Chevy engine as fast as possible. This organization has grown since 2008 and has raised scholarship funding for many of these team winners. Team challenges occurred throughout the weekend in the midway amongst the large name vendors. How fast can this be done? Average times are under 30 minutes.

Even the youngsters could get involved with making model cars sponsored by well known Revell Modelers in the Pat O’Brien building with even more vendors and specialty car displays. “Build it Yourself”, “Under 25”, and “Got Wood”? were just a few of the specialty parking areas designated for that certain guy or gal that had fit those parameters. To the common spectator, its just more cool, custom, homegrown car show experience with live nostalgic music entertainment throughout the day.

Lastly, we hit the swap meet and cars 4 sale corral. Small parts, large parts, dire woody wagons and immaculate Mopars, it was there. This area had quite a few sellers and I’m sure they would be dropping the price as I write this column. The ride back home was honestly a race to get back to the garage and re-evaluate my mess known as a workbench. It’s good to see this event bring in the huge amount of spectators and enthusiasts to keep this passion going and thank you to Goodguys for delivering another great event.

picture gallery here

youtube video here

 

2014 O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals

March 22, 2014

Bring your hot rod, muscle car or autocross racer out for some fun at the Fairplex in Pomona, California! This was the first O’Reilly Auto Parts Street Machine and Muscle Car Nationals for the west coast. This was an easy-going, no hassle car show with lots to do and see throughout the weekend. Starting with the autocross sponsored by Total Cost Involved, this short track proved to be a must-see attraction. Average times for the two loop coarse got nailed down to approximately 36 seconds for the experienced, well-equipped teams. Cars were broken out by experience level as well as early or late model vehicles. Autocross was open to anyone who registered their vehicle for the show and had an approved rated helmet. This opened the door to some first-timers with their muscle cars, trucks and even un-molested grocery-getters. Autocross is a big bonus in our book for car shows. Maybe it’s because we like to see nice cars getting used and pushed to a respectable limit on a not-so-ordinary day that is more organized than an empty parking lot or unsafe street race.

Want to settle the hash with your buddies regarding rear wheel horsepower? This event also provided chassis dyno testing. Early or late model vehicles could be spun up on the dyno to give you more real world results without the state-approved smog sniffer coming out the rear pipe. Features like tire size, gears, transmission and power adders all affect your rear wheel horsepower. The guys at the dyno booth provided you with the computerized results throughout the rpm range.

The Pro Builders Pavilion inside building 4 had some terrific custom cars from very reputable and well-known car builders such as Steve Strope, Chip Foose and Jimmy Shine from So-Cal Speed Shop. Cars like ZZ Top’s, Billy Gibbon’s 1961 Caddy were on display. Custom builder, Alan Palmer had a very tricked out Corvette with satin black, red highlights and custom wheels contrasting a white body. I’d like to see that on the autocross some day.

Car accessory and automobilia vendors were also located in and amongst these buildings. All of this was easy strolling with light crowds and great for pictures. Outside, big name vendors such as Mother’s Polish, Magnaflow, Mickey Thompson and Edelbrock had their semi trailers with product literature and numerous displays. All these guys were on hand to answer your technical questions and explain how their products work for you and your application. Down past the large trailer fairway was the stage which had some great vintage tunes of Queen and the Miss Street Machine Nationals contest which we unfortunately missed on the following Sunday.

Also outside was a large corral of vehicles surrounding the SEMA Action Network booth. SEMA, (Specialty Equipment Market Association) has a division called SEMA-SAN. Working the booth was Colby Martin. He is the Government and Public Affairs manager for SEMA and he was on hand to answer all questions related to what SEMA does for the car enthusiast as it relates to state and federal legislation and the automotive industry. It’s a great reminder to keep tabs on our elected officials as they propose bills that regulate our hobby. Colby is articulate, informed and more importantly, a gearhead. He understands what goes on in Washington D.C. and translates that to our common mechanic talk.

This show was also a cruise.  Get yourself a sandwich, a beverage and watch some muscle cars and customs take over. Want to run open headers? No problem. Want to get involved with a burnout contest? They had that as well for Sunday in the autocross area between the autocross race and the Chevrolet New Car Ride Along.

Half the net proceeds from the weekend event were donated to the Alex Xydias Center for Automotive Arts, which is an automotive learning center for high school students. The AXC is part of the Career and Technical Education Center at the Fairplex in Pomona. This non-profit organization provides vocational training including a two-year automotive industry certification program. It’s never too late to provide a valuable education to our youths.

We liked this event and even the promotional staff on hand to direct us on the perfect Saturday festivities. Looking forward to the next Muscle Car and Street Machine Nationals!

Picture gallery here

and autocross pics here

youtube video here

 

Girls in the Garage Car Show 2014, Torrance, CA.


What gets a guy’s attention faster than a female? Well, a female with a killer car. Top it off with a girl that works on her own car too! This was the first Girls in the Garage Car Show presented by El Camino College and Women in Technology located in Torrance, CA. The Girls in the Garage is a seminar for women taught in the technical arts department at the college usually one day a month. It’s a hands-on seminar geared towards women to teach them the basics of automobile maintenance and repair.

This show was organized by Patti Fairchild, who is a member of the Gasoline Girls Car Club as well as the body shop instructor at the college. She brought her black 1962 four-door hardtop Chrysler New Yorker with custom license plates – watch out! This event was open to girls who drive and work on their own car, truck or motorcycle; any year, any condition. The end result was approximately 60 cars and one Triumph motorcycle. The Gasoline Girls and the Dames Car Clubs came out with their mostly late 50’s to early 60’s domestic rides. Some had paint, some were in the process of getting more love and attention. The extra request was for the females to dress the year of their vehicle, which most did.

A large gathering of ladies showed up from the Ford Model A Club of Southern California as well. Neat to see some stock four bangers and wire wheels. Dawn Cude’s 1953 straight axle Chevy gasser was anything but a banger with its small-block Chevy with Weiand tunnel ram on full display without the hood. You got the full range of stock equipped to modified beauties.

Vendors also came out to sell ladies clothing, accessories and period correct home décor. Most of these vendors were also female-owned and even The Red Kat came out from Las Vegas, Nevada for this show. Some quick snacks were also available to keep you cool in the hot sun when you walked the rows of cars or to see the rockabilly band, The Hot Rod Trio. This band has been playing several venues for the past 20 years among well known artists like Brian Setzer Orchestra. Bass player Suzy Dughi sure knew how to slide those fingers to get the tunes just right for this all-girl event.

The Girls plan to have this event again next year and we look forward to seeing more gearheaded young ladies and their rides out in full swing. Go to, Girls in the Garage on Facebook to get more information. Tell Patti we sent you!

Video here

 

Photo gallery here

 

Grand National Roadster Show 2014

Probably the most important item to have for attending any Grand National Roadster Show is a good pair of walking shoes. Whether you go for one, two or the full monty – three day event, you’ll need to be prepared to spend 8 hours on your feet. The time is well spent and goes fast as you’re looking at all the killer rides on display for this year’s 65th event. This year marked the 100th celebration of all things that race on the dry lake beds. Salt or dirt, it didn’t matter. There were prime examples of numerous land speed record holders from El Mirage to Bonneville.   400 mph records on land seems a bit crazy and quite mind boggling when you’re standing next to these engineered land missiles. The quest for speed never rests.

The Suede Palace is also a place of unrest with vintage hot rods and customs. Some have paint, some don’t, but all have more character than a roomful of Hollywood movie extras. On the outer aisles in the Palace were your retro vendors such as; Rat Fink t-shirts, pinstrippers, pinup girl photography and restored vintage motorcycle helmets and riding jackets. Throw a surf band in the corner and you have a party!

We ran into quite a few people this year including Jack Stewart who is a leading member of the L.A. Roadster Club. He told us that the upcoming 50th L.A. Roadster Show in June will be something special, so we’ll mark our calendar’s for that one. We spent quite a bit of time looking at the AMBR contestants. Hats off to the high school shop class that entered a Ford roadster pickup. They did not win, but they sure turned a few heads with their team creation. The winner of this high award went to a 1934 Ford Phaeton. Now if you’re wondering how a phaeton qualifies as a roadster, we don’t know either.

Custom motorcycles, pinstripping auction, custom car builders, big name vendors like Edelbrock and Brookville and a million t-shirts all intertwined in this annual event is just plain COOL!

Check out the photos, video, and the podcast.

SEMA 2013

We teamed up with Wild About Cars / No Limits Magazine to shoot, edit and produce videos for major manufacturers like Lincoln Electric, Wilwood Brake, MSD, Lokar and a few more. Talk about time crunch for making this all happen within a week is just plain crazy, but we did it and we’ll be doing more next year. WAC has some talented writers and a ton of car stories from way back. Definitely the loudest bunch in the SEMA media room for the week.

Left to Right: Bob Gerometta, Kurt Shubert, Tweed Vorhees and Craig Sparkes

Shooting an interview with Classic Industries, Original Equipment Reproduction.

Go to our videos section to see all nine interviews plus extra SEMA show coverage!

Thanks to Tony Colombini at Blacktop Media for photo.

Check this via Blacktop Magazine