**** NOTE: My November 2012 posts have been lost due to system issues. They are: Good Guys Show, Nostalgia Drags and my Day of the Dead shoot...hoping to recover them. Sorry if you came here to specifically see those posts.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2011 LA Roadsters Show & So-Cal Speed Shop Open House

My First LARS Trip...Part 1 

I didn't think I'd make it to the LA Roadsters Show this year. I had started making alternative plans for my Father's Day weekend when the Tuesday prior I received a text from my buddy, Craig, the owner, editor and "janitor" of   MyRideisMe.com . I have submitted photos to MRiM in the past (there are some of my photos from LARS currently with the other great MRiM coverage) but I did not expect the offer I was about to receive. Craig said he was heading out to the show in his RV with his roadster in tow and he had room if I wanted to go. I cleared it with my bosses; the one at work and the pretty one at home... and I was in.

He and his buddy Erick (a past contributor/ member of MRiM and the owner/builder of some fine rides) picked me up around 8pm Thursday and we were off west to Pomona, CA, for my first LA Roadster Show.

We arrived  around 3:30am having survived some fierce winds in and around Indio, CA. Craig, hopped up on Rock Star energy drinks, man'd the rig like a fighter pilot and landed us in drizzling, cold Pomona alive to see another car show. There were hundreds of RVs, cars, trucks and trailers lined up for a good spot at the swap meet. It was time to catch some winks. We had over six hours until the gates opened at 10am.
Craig's Rig (home base)
 and '27 roadster, "Bonnie".

I hope that wasn't the contents of this trailer.
Once the gate opened the line moved a lot faster than I thought it would.  After we set up it was time to walk the swap meet to see what was there so far. It's one of the largest annual auto swap meets in the country and while most goods are auto-related, you can find a lot of unique items there too.

Living RV style in the swap meet was one of the coolest camping (for lack of a better term) experiences I've had and definitely the best way to see a three day car event. I know camping in a parking lot doesn't sound like getting away from it all. You may ask "what is camping without the songs of birds, the music of enthusiastic leg rubbing by crickets, the smell of pine and cooking over a campfire?"....Well, in the right place, such as a major car show, the rumbling and cackling of engines rocks and the smokey bouquet wafting from the food vendors all day as they grill hot dogs, burgers and various pork products is as entrancing as any campfire. I'm getting hungry just thinking about it....and heartburn too.
Did I mention beer on tap every few hundred feet? There's beer on tap every few hundred feet.

The best feature of camping in the swap meet is the access to the show, which is really three shows: the swap meet, the all roadster show and the other car show in the huge "Specialty Parking" area for pre-'65 cars. You step out of the RV and in every direction there is something cool to check out.

Friday morning was spent setting up and walking the swap meet where more vehicles arrived loaded with goods to sell through the weekend.

Around 1pm Craig and I squeezed into the roadster with camera bags and headed out to the near by So- Cal Speed Shop for their open house shindig. This was my first time in a roadster; it was tight, but a blast!
 The sun was out by this time and it was actually hot. The So-Cal event was going full speed when we arrived. There were dozens of nice cars glistening in the sun.

After a couple hours we headed back to our home base for cold beers and cheap tacos. We then walked the swap meet again which had grown in our absence.

The Los Angeles Fairplex is the same venue that hosts the another colossal car show, The Grand National Roadster Show. It's a massive facility. I decided to start my day on the far end where all the exhibit buildings were and where the actual roadster portion of the show takes place. The plan was to work my way back to the swap meet and adjoining "Specialty Parking" show.

There were hundreds of roadsters...

In this area is the vendor's building and I was looking forward to meet the scratchboard hot rod artist, BOMONSTER. I love his work, it reminds me of the monster hot rod stickers I used to collect as a kid.
I donned my damn cool BOMONSTER "Merc Glow" t-shirt and searched for the artist.
Bo's booth was understandably busy, but we were able to talk for a few minutes and I met his wife, Debbie, too. Bo will soon be featured in "Traditional Rod & Kulture Illustrated" and his website has a list of the upcoming shows you'll be able to find him at. Check out his site http://www.Bomonster.com/
and see his cool brand of lowbrow hot rod art; see how he does it and check out his fun and interesting blog.

There was an extensive Rat Fink/Big Daddy Roth booth. So many vendors. So little cash.
(on my next post I'll be featuring another of my favorite hot rod artists...this you have to see if you like hot rod art.)

Then it was back out to the cars. Long and loud...

Marvin Schwartz's "The Anaconda"
Around 1pm it was time to head back to the rig for lunch. I met up with the guys and we had a few beers sitting in the shade of the RV canopy at our swap meet camp-site. Craig ran into Mitzi Valenzuela, the fantastic hot rod and pinup photographer of Mitzi & CO. She and her friend, Bart, another photographer, joined us. Good company, good time....so good I lost track of it and missed a good portion of the "Specialty Show" across the parking lot. I'm still trying to get over missing all those cars. [Insert tear here] There were still some great pre'65 cars there and I did catch plenty of shots.

Craig introduced me to the Throttle Kings car club. Making LARS is an annual tradition of the club and they're usually the ones to arrive first at the "Specialty Parking" lot and always the last to leave. They had carne asada going on the grill, killer salsa and coolers full of beer. They kindly filled us up.
Here's a trunk load of the gals....
Also with the Throttle Kings, Elaina Soto was kind enough to do a quick pose in front of her and her husband Mike's sweet Caddy.
Elaina is an artist and a model. You can see her very cool art work here http://www.itsjuste.com/

Later we hung out with the Gasoline girls, Kristin and Lori, for some burgers, beers and some laughs.

They headed home and we went through our many photos until lights out. We headed back to AZ around 8am Sunday. We were back to our homes early enough to spend Father's Day with our families.
I'm hoping there's room in the RV next year.

**** NEXT WEEK -----Now that you have the story -----see much more photos of the LARS and So-Cal Speed Shop event...including Danny Delgado's bad-ass '51, the art of Larry Grossman, cars of the Throttle Kings and more cool rides.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Bikes & Trucks of Viva Las Vegas 2011

Here's a sampling of the bikes and trucks at this year's VLV and like the cars...they were some of the best you'd see anywhere. 
These bikes were packed too tight for photographs which would do them justice.

A unique truck; one of my favs.

Just plain bad-ass.
Step aside...

The right stuff for your hair when on a bike.
Beautiful Kustom.
Perfect lowrider.
If this Indian could talk...

Here we have Ronald Anderson's '50 Chevy.
Mr. Anderson has done a lot of bumper to bumper kustomizing on this truck.
He kindly gave me a tour of his ride and pointed out many of his unique applications. A Vietnam Veteran, he's utilized his war bolt action rifle as the locking mechanism to the driver's side door. The opening and closing of the bolt locks and unlocks the truck. Very cool.
Here's the Man during a walk around the truck. He's also installed a stripper's pole from which he also displays a  POW*MIA flag in honor of his soldier brethren.Great truck!!