The Continental Club opened its doors on South Congress Avenue in Austin as a social club in 1957. Over the past 50 years it has hosted a mile-long list of who's who in the music scene; from swing to rock to blues to jazz to country twang, it has seen it all. It wasn't until the late '80s when current owner Steve Wertheimer took over that the music of the Continental Club began to infuse with hot rods and customs in what many would call a natural fit. "Everyone (all of my car buddies) hung around the club all the time and that was sort of the centerpiece, a gathering place," Wertheimer says.

After several road trips to California in their traditional hot rods and customs, namely the Paso Robles Show, the 15 or so car guys decided to make themselves an "official" club in the mid-'90s. "After seeing all the clubs (with their jackets and plaques) out there at shows we decided we wanted to run some plaques in Austin since it was such a rarity here." Paying homage to their favorite hangout, the Continental Club, the guys "played off the name and went with The Kontinentals."

Wertheimer calls The Kontinentals a "super loose" organization who all share similar vision regarding the style of hot rods and customs they like to build and drive. The club of 25 members, mostly Texas based, are a club with "no rules, no meetings, no officers, just a bunch of dudes who are all good friends, hang out, and plan excuses to get their cars out." And that they do. They still continue their annual pilgrimages to California in "traditional stuff and very tasteful customs." He continues, "All the cars (in the club) are built to drive everywhere ... we go on many long-distance excursions and put many miles on all of the cars."

It was also the trips to Paso Robles that inspired the Kontinentals to hold the Lonestar Round Up. After one of their annual trips to Paso they decided to test the waters of holding their own traditional hot rod and custom show. "We came back one year (about 10 years ago) when the HAMB was in its infantile stages and made a post asking 'If we threw a car show in Austin, would anyone come?'" Wertheimer says. "The response was very positive from the few folks who were on HAMB way back when so we decided to give it a shot."

After viewing old footage from early car shows in California, the Kontinentals "miraculously procured" House Park Stadium where "the turf for Friday night football is sacred" and held the first Lonestar Rod & Kustom Round Up. It was a one-day, informal show without even a stage-the bands played on a flatbed trailer. Due to the steady increase in attendance over the past nine years they have moved the show three times to what they believe to be their final location. "We are now at a facility that can handle our size with plenty of room to move around with the added attraction of the swap meet," Wertheimer says.

One thing that hasn't changed though has been the quality of the cars. At the first show back in 2002 they hosted a killer line up of cars, even with less than a hundred present. "Cars at the show that first year included Lee Pratt's gold '40 Ford, Billy Gibbon's 'Eliminator', Von Franco's '32 coupe, and the Kennedy coupe owned by Jim Jard," Wertheimer says. He believes that trend has continued, especially in 2010. "Something happened this year. There was a big change, not so much the number of cars that came in for the show, it was the quality of what showed up that was really elevated this year." He continues, "There were some super-fine, quality hot rods and customs here in town, not a lot of cobbled-together stuff that you scratch your head and say 'why?' Just some super-fine stuff that I would love to have in my garage."

What will the 10th anniversary of the Round Up hold? According to Wertheimer, "We are just starting to talk about it at the secret headquarters ... be assured there will be something pretty special about next year both artwork- and artist-wise, music-wise, as well as some special events to commemorate the 10th anniversary, so stay tuned!"

For more information about the Lonestar Round Up visit: www.lonestarroundup.com. More information and photos of the Kontinentals and their cars can be found at www.kontinentals.com. In addition to the Lonestar Round Up, the Kontinentals also host Day of the Drags, a drag racing event held every October at Little River Dragway near Temple, Texas (www.dayofthedrags.com).