Dave Schaub of the Bay Area Roadsters is a hot rodder at heart but now his "heart" is goin
The L.A. Roadsters car club annually holds one of the premiere rodding events in the U.S. and some would say the world. One of the oldest clubs in the country, it also has the honor of hosting one of the longest running events. But it wasn't always peaches and cream.
The club came into being in '57 and in '59 club member Alan Johnson suggested the idea for a car show to help raise funds for the club. At a $1 per each person wishing to see the show, the club figured it would make good money. Sounded like a good idea and how hard could it be to hold a car show? Well, the guys were about to find out. Unlike the unprecedented, success that the show enjoys today the early days were a series of fits and starts, and not always profitable.
The first show was held on July 31, 1960. In the "it's a small world category" the first show manager was STREET RODDER co-founder Tom McMullen. It was at this time that the long-standing protocol of roadsters only manufactured prior to 1936 and no unfinished cars, which meant no primer spots or unfinished paint, were allowed. While this rule still applies, today's LA Roadsters club has skillfully managed this "minefield" by having Preferred Parking (nearly 2,000 cars) and for the first time this year a Traditional Rod and Suede Show (nearly 400) in an organized area on Sunday. Another first this year was the teaming of the club along with Steve's Auto Restorations of Portland, Oregon, to create a display of 1933-34 Ford vehicles. Owner Steve Frisbee awarded a collectible gift to those vehicles featured in the display. (We even had SR's 2008 Road Tour ASC Speed33 convertible on display.)
A tradition that did start with the first show in '60 was the pewter mug given to each roadster owner who displayed his car. To this day the "mug" is highly sought after and to have a collection of 45 is indeed rare, although we know of several collections that are complete. A tradition that didn't begin from the start but has been around for a long time is the tradition of the show held on Father's Day. The first Father's Day show didn't occur until the June 18, 1967, the first of a string of shows held on this very special day for all dads.
Ed Pink, yes THE Ed Pink, brought out his freshly finished Brizio '29 on Deuce 'rails-well
Many rodders only know of the show held at the Pomona Fairplex (originally the grounds were known as the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds in Pomona). The Fairplex move came about in 1980 when the show was still a single-day; it wasn't until '85 that it went to two days. (Another "small world" note, Editor Brennan was the secretary of the club at the time when the show moved from the Great Western Exhibit Center to Pomona). In '81 the show began another tradition of allowing Preferred Parking, which was open to cars up to '72. Originally the show was held in the parking lot of the Hollywood Bowl with the second show held on October 8, 1961, again at the Hollywood Bowl. This second show had 60 cars on display but lost money. And then came the fiasco.
A show was planned for '62 and to spice matters up the club offered to purchase a channeled '32 roadster from an east coast rodder and raffle it off. As sometimes happens, the rodder backed out of the deal after posters and information had been disseminated. But that's not the worst part-raffle tickets were sold. The event was cancelled and the club made every attempt to refund ticket buyers' money. Needless to say, a bad taste was left in the mouth of many club members, and it would be 5 years before another show.
Club member and show chairman Jim Travis organized the June 18, 1967 show, which was the first to carry the title L.A. Roadster Exhibition & Swap Meet and be held on Father's Day. It was the first swap meet as well, and it received editorial support from Rod & Custom with thanks to Publisher Tom Medley and freelancer LeRoi "Tex" Smith who a few years later would co-found TRM Publishing and this very title you are reading.
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