Sacramento Autorama 2012 2/17/12-2/19/12

The Sacramento Autorama is one of Northern California’s last big indoor car shows, and what a show it was. This year was back with a vengeance, the Club Room was open again and packed with tons of great cars and killer robots (that’s right, courtesy of the Sacramento Poor Boys Car Club and this year’s “futurama” theme). The suede room, where I spent most of my weekend was so full of awesomeness that it overflowed into the Expo Center parking lot.

I’ve really come to appreciate these annual shows as much more than just a gathering of cars, they’re more like a time stamp on the year. The human aspect of the Autorama is hard to explain, and impossible to photograph. It’s great to see my friends grow up, start families, build new cars, and win trophies. This show feels like a community. Maybe it’s because we’re all stuck on neutral territory for so long that we run out of things to talk about besides cars so the only thing left to talk about is real life. I love this show, I love watching it grow, and I love spending time with the people that make it so memorable. This year’s Autorama felt even more special to me because after nearly a year away from shows all together after her recent diagnosis with MS, my wife was back with me in the booth. That makes all the difference; shows like these are so much better when you get to share them with someone you love.

Anyways, here’s our pictures! If you detect a new perspective in them, that’s Josie’s eye, she took all the good ones this time:

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Congratulations to Drew!

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This car was the absolute highlight of the show for me. I am, of course, biased– the builder, Walt Hughes, has been a friend for years. This kid (kid- he’s my age) has worked like crazy to get where he is now, and I’m so happy for him. Not that long ago Walt actually worked at a job that required him to mop mayonaise from a hot shipping container, and pretty soon after that he decided to get serious and build cars like he had always dreamed. He started out sweeping floors at Frank De Rosa’s shop (for free, mind you), and he’s worked his way up enough to have his own little shop and he’s turning out his own killer work. Art Himsl painted the car too, in some crazy blue ice pearl. Now, that would be impressive no matter what, but at Autorama this year Walt (And owners Ron & Karen) took home TWO TROPHIES- One for Outstanding Sports and one for First Place Class (Custom Sport, I believe). Walt poured his blood, sweat and tears into this, and I’m so happy for him to get some recognition for it. Someone my age to go from rattle-canning a car in our driveway a few years ago to winning his class at the Autorama is a really awesome thing to see, I wish him the best of luck in the future. 

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Killer display:

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ROBOTS!!!

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The Imperial Owners Club had a really impressive showing. I could have geeked out on them for hours:

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The Suede Room 2012:

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Upstairs was really impressive, and I think at least 80% owned by James Hetfield…

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Hell yes:

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Honestly, all the cars, all the awards, and all of the show would be meaningless without the company of my wife. I’ve missed her the past show season, and now I appreciate our time together just that much more.
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LBCC Guerrilla Cruise #3, 2/12/12

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I was really excited to make it to this cruise, after I ended up catching a cold right before the last one and missed it. I met up with the group down at the E’ville marina to stage for our short cruise across the Bay Bridge. Since the few days before the cruise were rainy and dreary, I wasn’t sure if anyone would make it, but we got lucky. The sun came out and the weather held out long enough for a good day in SF.
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Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone AppUploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App One of my favorite things about this cruise is that it’s not really a car show at all, it’s just a gathering. I love it when new cars join us, it’s nice to meet new people who want to get out and use their car as a “car”. We waited up for a while for more people to show up.
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After a bit, we hopped in our cars and made the short drive across the Bay to Red’s. It felt right to drive my in-progress car across next to the in-progress Bridge; it’s been a rough couple of years for everyone, but things are finally heading in the right direction, and they’re going to get better. It’s half-time, America…
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Anyways, the cruise went off without a hitch across the bridge.
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My favorite moment was when a guy at the toll plaza yelled out his window asking where we were headed. I yelled back that we were heading to Red’s, and he followed and hung out for a bit before heading back where ever he was going originally. I love that people from outside our car world can see what we’re doing and want to learn more.
It was a fairly uneventful (by SF standards) day, and I had a great time hanging out with friends and meeting new people. If you’re reading this and are remotely close to the Bay, you should really consider joining us.
Thanks for reading, and thanks to everyone who came!

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LBCC Nor-Cal Guerrilla Cruise- East Bay to San Francisco 11/12/11

LBCC Nor-Cal Guerrilla Cruise- East Bay to San Francisco 11/12/11

What an incredible end to an insane year. The weather broke late on Friday and cleared the way for a perfect day in San Francisco. I rolled out to the Emeryville Marina, our impromptu meeting spot early to hold it down, and enjoyed being the nicest car in the parking lot (by default, I was also the only car in the lot) for a little while: It didn’t last too long, as our friends from as far as Vallejo, Sacramento, San Jose, and Fremont quickly showed me up and rolled into the East Ocean parking lot at about 9 o’clock. We waited it out for more people, and eventually hit the road trying to out run to gloomy gray sky over the East Bay. I led the pack as we rolled slowly onto I-80 and across the Bay Bridge. Seeing cars in a parking lot or on the grass at a car show is great, but there’s just nothing like seeing chrome and flake in action on the highway. It makes you appreciate a car on a whole new level, not as a collection of cool parts, shapes, and colors, but as an incredible machine, moving and bumping down the road as if it’s alive and breathing. We must have turned a lot of heads rolling across the bridge, it’s a shame I couldn’t capture the action. We pulled off on Folsom in the city, and slowly rolled through the edge of the Embarcadero to my new favorite spot in the city, Red’s Java hut. This spot is incredible; it’s an awesome greasy-spoon diner (with a full bar, if one were so inclined) on the edge of the bay with the Bridge and the East Bay in the background. A perfect spot for a breakfast cruise by all measures, we’ll be back for sure. This means so much to me. I’m still a little in shock: Every time I get to make it out to a show and hang out with people at events like this, I always leave in a daze, constantly impressed by the quality of people who this lifestyle draws in. It is so nice to close the laptop for a while, put down the car mags, and hit the road with good friends and watch your worries fade in the rear view. I am so grateful for everyone who made it, and I’m looking forward to seeing more new faces out there next time. Thank you.

Swanx Fall Fiasco 2011, Fairfield, Ca 10/8/11

Swanx Fall Fiasco 2011, Fairfield, Ca 10/8/11

I had a great time at the Swanx show this year. I couldn’t have asked for a nicer way to close show season, for me at least, than hanging out with friends and cool cars in a Sheet Metal shop. It seems like bigger car shows this season have been a little down, and while I’m not sure why that is, I’ve got to say it’s made the smaller shows more enjoyable. The Swanx show is one of the great examples of that; you don’t need a huge venue or fancy pipe & drape to have a great show. I imagine this is what car culture felt like back in the mid-nineties, it’s been a return to smaller more intimate shows where everyone seems to building things in different styles and we can all meet in the middle and hang out for a weekend and compare notes. I love it, it doesn’t feel like a scene, it feels like a community.

For me, this was my second car show ever in my Buick, and my first time vending out of it. The car took it well, that huge trunk is perfect for holding a ton of merch.

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The car ran pretty well, it handled the load great. I made it with no problems, and had a great time at the show.

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I do not get sick of looking at this car. It’s so… right.
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Holding it down…
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This was very much in a Sheet Metal shop:
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I love the taillight treatment on this 57:
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I had a great time. I couldn’t help but be reflective on the past year on the drive home, all in all I accomplished a lot this year. Next year is going to be even better, the initial thrill of getting the car on the road has subsided, and now I’m ready to step it up and take it to the next level. Thanks to everyone who made this happen, it was a blast. Thanks for reading.

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Visual Mechanics, Somos Gallery, Salinas, CA 10/7/11

I decided to make the trip down to Salinas to support our friends from Deadend Magazine and checkout this art show at this neat Art Gallery in Downtown Salinas, Ca. I’ve never really spent much time in Salinas, and I really had no idea what to expect. I’m also not much for art shows, I never really know what to do, so it was all going to be a surprise. I picked up my friends Stoney and Brooke on the way down, and we headed out through some of the most ridiculous traffic I’ve ever dealt with on the way there.

When we pulled on to Main St, we instantly knew that we were in the right place, the street was packed with hot rods, customs, and lowriders with a turnout and quality that should make any event planner proud. I’m not sure if all of the cars there were from Salinas (in fact I know they weren’t, John Parker and Art Rivas made the drive all the way up from around Ventura!), but I do know that people from Salinas build a car with a ton of heart and passion, and it shows. It was a really impressive thing to see, and that was just outside the Somos Gallery!

Inside the gallery was a clean and glowing art gallery packed with incredible photography, great paintings, and cool sculpture. The gallery itself was pretty rad, it had a ton of cool books and those neat vinyl toys you always see in Juxtapose and Hi Fructose. If every gallery had lowrider bikes in the window the world would be a better place. If you’re ever out in Salinas, put the Somos Gallery on your absolute must-see list, the Steinbeck Museum can wait.

I’m not too sure what’s acceptable when it comes to taking pictures in an art gallery, so I didn’t take many pics of the works themselves, so if you can’t make it, be sure you check out the artist’s online or elsewhere, these guys are some of the best:

Rod Powell
Tim Conder
Deacon
Cole Foster
El Angel
Eric Tapley
Andy Southard Jr.
Alan Signs
April May
Flip
Juan Espinoza Jr.
Jesus Espinoza
Joshua De Leon
Steve Cabellero
Eddie Padilla

Sorry if I left anyone out! Thanks especially to Juan and Jesus at Deadend Magazine and the SOMOS Media & Gallery for making this happen, I had a great time. Enjoy:

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I need to get me a chrome cowboy hat:

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What it’s all about. Cool cars, great art, and great people. Do yourself a favor and get out and support your local art scene.

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