Father's Day is certainly special-but it can be disappointing. More than likely you'll get new underwear or socks along with a card full of heartfelt sentiment instead of that big-screen HD TV you really wanted. Of course, if you want to avoid disappointment tell your loved ones what you really want is trip to the Los Angeles County Fairplex for the L.A. Roadster Show and Swap Meet.

This year marked the 46th such event and by all statistics it was a huge success-there were 850 roadsters, 2,500 specialty cars, 1,140 swappers, 200 vendors, and 15,000 walk-ins, but numbers like that only tell part of the story.

For those driving '36 and earlier roadsters, entry for the driver and a passenger is free, however, the car must be finished, which means paint and upholstery, with no flat finishes allowed. But that doesn't mean unfinished, primered roadsters, closed cars, and customs aren't welcome. All those and any specialty car with model year up to 1974 have a designated parking area. The end result makes for some interesting comparisons. The roadster area contains some of the best topless cars you'll ever see, it's like a car show with palm trees, while the specialty parking area contains the most eclectic collection of cool rides you're likely to find. It's not unusual to see a full-on custom, a flat-black beater, and a high-dollar restoration all in a row.

Of course one of the big draws at this event is the swap meet, and with well over 1,000 vendors it's always a good one. But be aware, while this is an event where you're likely to find the rare and unusual parts, pieces, and complete cars you're looking for, most of the vendors know exactly what they have and what it's worth. This is not to say prices aren't fair, for the most part they are as reasonable as any such event, and vendors are there to sell. It's just that cool stuff always comes at a price. For those looking for new parts there are plenty to choose from as many of the premier vendors display their wares. Most of them offer show specials and in some cases cash and carry deals can eliminate shipping costs as well.

Along with the cars, swap meet, and the vendors, Father's Day at the Fairplex draws a good size crowd, which makes it a great opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones as well-and there are always a number of street rodding's celebrities in attendance, too.

All things considered, we can't think of a better way to spend Father's Day weekend than attending the 47th L.A. Roadster Show and Swap Meet. And it's more fun than sitting in front of a big-screen TV.

The 14th Annual SO-CAL Party
Once, a weekly Wednesday night get-together with a few friends at the back door of SO-CAL Speed Shop in Pomona, California (back when the business was called PC3g), became the annual party held the Friday afternoon before the annual L.A. Roadster Show. It is now one of the best "car shows" in the country, and it only goes on for four hours! With the luxury of being located in the heart of the hot rod world-Southern California-SO-CAL Speed Shop now sees 500 cars show up, many of which don't attend any other "organized" car shows. Parked on the street in front of the shop four wide for more than an eighth of a mile and another two-wide for another eighth, attendees were treated to free In & Out burgers while checking out the 14 or so projects SO-CAL is currently working on. A mini cackle-fest with a single front-engine dragster (courtesy of Texas-resident Tom Prufer) wowed the crowd before a special reveal reunited Gary Lorenzini with the untouched T-bucket he built 35 years ago and sold three decades ago. For more photos from this event, check out www.streetrodderweb.com.