**** 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, March 27, 2011

Headed West Part 2: Elvis and Classic Cars On Main Street

After my photo excursion in Quartzsite, AZ (see previous post "Headed West Part 1") I continued all the way to my destination in Huntington Beach, CA. I unloaded the truck and had time to kill, so I took a short nap and rose in time for happy hour. I headed out to the weekly Main Street Garden Grove Car Show.
This was my first time there and the greeting I received in the back parking lot of the Azteca Mexican Restaurant spoke (sung) to both my love of kitsch and large martinis.


Wall to wall to ceiling and floor, Elvis. Not your typical Mexican restaurant decor. Though there were Elvis movie posters in Spanish, unfortunately no velvet Elvis bullfighter pictures or the King in a sombrero....at least not that I could see. Its worth another look.
Before more Elvis hi-lights here are a couple cars from the show just outside the front of the Azteca on Main Street.
1933-34 Very Hot Rod

1954 Oldsmobile Holiday

This was prominent behind the bar and on the ceiling in the "Crooner's Lounge"....you can't have the Man In Black doing this out in the restaurant area full of kiddies. I've seen the photograph before and wondered again what ticked him off so? Many things went through my mind as I imbibed at this bar.
I remember realizing I've never seen Jesus in such close proximity to the bird, let alone practically arm in arm with Elvis.
Then more thoughts on the center decor piece -- Jesus, Elvis, golden cherubs and words to live by --- were those words of Jesus, or Elvis? If Jesus, was the "doubt" a matter of uncertainty, referring to the existence of the divine? Or if it was an Elvis quote, was "doubt" apprehension, suggesting wine over whiskey, or beer, when you simply can't decide? My doubt called for another shot of Patron.
Though still, with all the contemplation of the Kings, I couldn't help but wonder about Phil.

Two Kings and thousands of impersonators
Another ceiling view.  A "Love Me Tender" Mexican movie poster.

1965 Buick Riviera

Elvis Lamp, or Party-Elvis Bust
1953 Chevy Bel Air
 Elvis in a pink '56 Cadillac and nifty argyle socks.

Elvis actually created a 1965 Cadillac with the help of King of Kustoms, George Barris. It was a gold convertible Eldorado. I doubt it was as low and had faux alligator seats like this bad boy.


1948 Chevy

Day of the Dead Marilyn & Elvis... and more Elvis. How did Paul Stanley get in there?

The front of the building out on Main Street amongst the classics.

I was disappointed in the lack of cars at the show. I was told that they just went through some changes regarding the promoter due to problems with the nearby store owners. Also, the entertainment was completely inappropriate for a car show...pre-pubescent little girls lip-sinking and dancing to French cabaret songs... in French. I yearned for an Elvis impersonator (a first) to leap from the Azteca balcony!
I only had chips and salsa at the bar so I can't comment on the food, however if I lived in the area I'd go back and give it a try just to look around some more.
 But then...
A week later (yesterday, Saturday) I went to Scottsdale to check out a car show that didn't really happen.
But I did go into the new "Auto Museum" and there he was again, Elvis. I didn't know what to make of this and there was no one around to ask, but I give you the Elvis & Marilyn casket; a '59 Cadillac rocketing off to the heavens.

Though I'm not an expert on caskets, it's safe to say this is the Cadillac of burial vessels.
These are actual '59 Cadillac tail-lights on what must be the back end of this burial wonder.
And here he is for a final viewing from the Auto Museum.
Thank you,
Thank you, very much.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

Headed West Part 1: Quartzsite

Quartzsite is a little town 160 miles west of Phoenix and 30 miles from Blythe/the California border. I've driven past this town dozens of times on the way to California and never stopped, foolishly topping of the tank in Blythe....no more, the price difference is currently crazy!
Quartzsite is known for the largest gem and mineral club in the US and snowbirds flock to it's 70+ mobile home parks in the winter. I took the exit and went looking for something retro to photograph.
I found two great spots: the old Camel Stop Auto Repair and the Desert Gardens Mobile Home Sales & Classic Cars lot.

These pumps could only dream of the $4+ plus prices just over the AZ border in California.

Desert Gardens was just across Interstate 10 on the south side.

Coming across these classic cars was just stunning after stumbling upon Camel Stop Auto; my little detour turned into a 90 minute photo excursion.
Check out the sign in the background...$3.59 for regular unleaded...not a lot of "Love" there, but just 30 miles away in Blythe, CA --- $4.03.
There was shiny and ready to drive off of the lot...
and rusted beauties begging for attention.
1950 Chrysler
If I could have got that Chrysler in front of these pumps down the street...what a shot that would have been!
Okay it may have needed some air in a couple tires for the short trip...
and a tetanus shot for me might be a good idea.
But what a beauty!


There were plenty of Cadillacs.

Patrick, the kind cowboy gentleman who caught me snooping around the lot taking photos (and didn't shoot me) told me this  '61 Cadillac was an actual Ed "Big Daddy" Roth custom. The way it was parked I couldn't get a good angle for a photo, but it is a very cool Caddy. 
It's what a Cadillac El Camino may have looked like.
I'm guessing this load is just a display given it's prominent exposure to eastbound I-10. 
I don't know what to say about the next two. They may have been show vehicles, but I'd stay out of their way.

The lot Goddess...

The birds continuing what consumer history has done to the Edsel.

I joked about Patrick shooting me, but he was one hell of a nice guy and was willing to show me around or answer any questions I had about the cars. Had I had more time I would have liked to talk a lot more with him. Thanks Patrick!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good Guys 2011 Spring Nationals Scottsdale

Here are some hi-lights of my three days at the Good Guys show. The show ended for me today (Sunday) around 1:30 and I've been going through photos from all three days. I'm whipped, so I'm going to let photos speak for themselves for the most part. It was a great show and I met a lot of really cool people...some local celebrities.....yes I have photos. 

One of my favorite parts of the show is the swap meet area. There's everything from old rusty Hot Wheels to old rusty classic cars and all the parts in between. 
There are plenty of cars for sale too. Some are ready to drive away in while others are projects waiting to happen. My understanding is that this wild Cadillac-Camper was ready for a weekend in the mountains. 
How about that for a custom job? 

Friday as I was heading out of the swap meet area I came across the Desert Valley Auto Parts (DVAP) space where they were selling a small array of parts and handing out pamphlets for the next day's auto auction. For those not familiar with DVAP they have a cool reality show on the Discovery Channel that takes place at their two giant salvage yards; one in north Phoenix and another down south in 
Casa Grande. Their goal is to put the old abandoned cars back on the street and make a profit at auction.
I first met Andy, he's a mechanic on the show...a very nice guy.
Then I caught Jason McClure heading out. The following day I was down on one knee trying to get a photo of a cool rat rod and was stretching my flash unit on it's cord as far as my left arm could. I was likely grunting and swearing in this awkward moment when someone comes up behind me and offers to position the flash for me...it was Jason. 
Hell of a nice guy!
Here's the photo we took together....
Here's a link to DVAP:  http://www.dvap.com/
The TV show is "Desert Car Kings" and it's on Wednesdays on the Discovery Channel at 7pm here in AZ (Mtn Standard). The first season is midway through (showing on TV) and Jason says ratings have been good, but Discovery is keeping quiet until the season runs its course in regards to a second season. I hope to see more. With Jason's encouragement, I also plan on getting out to DVAP and shoot some of their sun baked classics

Now for some award winners!
Here they are, Dave and Laura Miller and their '59 Kustom Plymouth Fury. They won a very cool award for best "Chopped & Dropped" at the show. 
I came across this beauty just shortly after Dave got the news. He said he was still a little stunned. It's a high honor at the Good Guys show. There was a lot of impressive competition for sure. It couldn't have happened to a nicer couple and more unique ride. Cheers to the Millers!


This is one bad-ass grill ornament! It's Mr. Horsepower meets Von Dutch's flying eyeball. The owner, who's name escapes me (sorry) knows a guy who used to work with Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. He created this snarling cigar smoking masterpiece just for this car. Well done.

There are more photos in the gallery.