The beautiful coast of California between Los Angeles and San Francisco was the route take
Sacramento Vintage Ford sponsored the 7th Tour of the 2009 PPG/STREET RODDER Road Tour season and the drive was on some of the most beautiful highways in the world. Traveling from Pomona and the NHRA Museum to the NSRA Golden State Nationals in Sacramento, our trip wound along the California coastline with stops in Cambria, Monterey, San Francisco, and the wine country of northern California as we made our way to Sacramento.
The fun began on Saturday as the Road Tourians joined over 3,000 vehicles at the Orange County Fairgrounds for a one-day event called Cruise for a Cure. Started 11 years ago, Cruise for a Cure fills the fairgrounds with participants and vendors and raises money for prostate cancer research. The weather was California perfect and the place was packed. It was a great event for a great cause.
On Sunday morning we gathered at the NHRA Wally Parks Museum at 8 a.m. to begin our journey north. We spent an hour at the Museum, and the first-timers were amazed at the incredible collection of historic racecars and memorabilia that is on display. Currently at the museum is a display of the history of Coker Tire and Honest Charley's Speed Shop. It was interesting to see the background of these two major companies in our hobby.
By 9 a.m. we began our journey to our first stop of the day, California Car Cover in Chatsworth. California Car Cover has been known as a huge mail order business for many years, offering car covers, the famous California Car Duster, and tons of collectibles and automobilia. Walking in to their showroom brings their catalogue to life and it is fun to be able to see all those cool items in person. We also got a chance to see their racecar shop. Owner Jim DeFrank and his sons Jimmy and Tony have been involved in big-time drag racing on a national level for many years with much success. Jimmy was the NHRA National Super Stock Champion in 1997 when he was 18 years old. Located in the same facility as California Car Cover is John Schiess' street rod shop, Custom Built Machines. John has some very cool vehicle projects in the works.
California Car Cover owner Jim DeFrank invited the Road Tour to visit he and his wife Lorraine's new home in nearby Thousand Oaks to see Jim's collection of vehicles. Jim and Lorraine had burgers cooking on the grill when we arrived, and we got an up-close and personal look at their beautiful home and garage filled with Jim's great collection of vehicles. It was a wonderful stop at the DeFranks' home.
Continuing north on Highway 101 we made the three-hour drive to our evening stop in the beach community of Cambria. We all enjoyed the accommodations on Moonstone Beach and had a great meal at a nearby restaurant. Monday morning we were up and rolling with a full day ahead. Some folks visited nearby Hearst Castle, and others visited the shops in Cambria. By 10:30 a.m. we all headed north up Highway 1 and the incredible California coastline. The drive is breathtaking, and we stopped at a restaurant with an amazing view in Big Sur. By 3 p.m. we arrived in the Monterey Bay area and some folks visited the Monterey Aquarium while others walked on the beach and or enjoyed the sights around Cannery Row. It was a beautiful day on the road.
We started the journey at the Cruise for a Cure event at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Th
On Tuesday the wharf in Santa Cruz was the perfect place for us all to gather for lunch, with many choices for food. The old Santa Cruz Boardwalk and amusement park was just across the water and the sights and sounds of the sea lions arguing gave our brief visit some local flavor. After lunch we posed for a group photo before rolling out and heading for our destination of South San Francisco and Pacifica. Traveling with the group on the trip were STREET RODDER Publisher Tim Foss and his wife Lynette and former STREET RODDER Editor Tom Vogele and his wife Deb. Tim was driving the yellow 2004 Road Tour roadster and Tom was in his 1997 Road Tour McMullen clone. It was fun for me and my wife Mary Ann to roll along with two other cars that I had spent so much time in on other Tours.
Our first stop in South San Francisco was the offices and studio of The Rodder's Journal. We were greeted by the staff and given a tour of their facilities. Chasity Smith was our guide as we were shown the photo studio where most of the great photos from Steve Coonan and crew are taken. It was interesting to see where the fantastic photography of TRJ originates.
From TRJ it was a quick five-mile trip across town to the facilities of Sanderson Headers and Roy Brizio Street Rods. Owner Donna Smith greeted us at Sanderson Headers. Sanderson Headers has been the official header of the Road Tour for a number of years. Donna gave us a tour of the Sanderson manufacturing facilities, and all of the Road Tourians received a very cool metal Sanderson Headers sign. It was a short walk next door to the Roy Brizio Street Rods shop. Roy greeted us out front and gave us full access to his shop. Customer projects in various stages of assembly filled the facility. Included in the cars being worked on were a shoebox Ford and Chevy pick-up owned by musician Eric Clapton. It was great to see where all the fantastic Brizio creations originate. Sanderson Headers provided the pizza for the evening and Brizio Street Rods provided the facilities as the Road Tourians enjoyed dinner and strawberry shortcake with some of the most creative, energetic, and successful folks in our street rod hobby.
The California Car Cover showroom is in Chatsworth, CA, in the San Fernando Valley just no
The ocean waves could be heard from the windows of our rooms on the beach in Pacifica Tuesday evening. Some of the Road Tourians even spotted a whale in the ocean. It had been another great day on the Sacramento Vintage Ford Tour. There was much more in store for the Road Tourians on the Sacramento Vintage Ford Tour as we made our way to the NSRA Golden State Nationals.
On Wednesday morning the Tour day began in Pacifica, California. It was time to continue our trek to the NSRA Golden State Nationals. Pulling out and heading north we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and made a brief stop at the vista point at the north end of the bridge. From this spot you get an incredible view of the skyline of San Francisco, the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge that we just traveled across. A few miles north of the bridge we cruised through the town of Petaluma, where many of the scenes from American Graffiti were filmed.
Our destination for lunchtime was the beautiful home of Glenda and Steve Castelli just north of Santa Rosa. Steve is a longtime car guy and owns the yellow hot rod Willys that he has campaigned on the nostalgia drag racing circuit for many years. He also has amassed an incredible collection of automobilia and nostalgia items that has no rival. Gas station items, pedal cars, bicycles, and neon fill four buildings on the Castelli homestead. Glenda prepared a wonderful lunch for us and all of the Road Tourians appreciated the hospitality of Steve and Glenda Castelli.
Sunday morning we gathered at the NHRA Wally Parks Museum in Pomona. This year marks the 1
Phil Smith from Flowmaster met us at Steve Castelli's in the Model A pickup that he has had for thirty years. Phil acted as our tour guide as our day continued in the Santa Rosa area. It was a short drive to the hot rod shop of Vern Tardell. Vern is a guru when it comes to traditional hot rods and Flathead motors. The shop was filled with project cars in progress and tons of vintage Flathead parts, early speed equipment, and great vintage tin. Vern took the time to show us around and talk to us about some of the cars that were in progress. It was very interesting to talk to a man that has been producing hot rods for over twenty-five years in a style that has just recently enjoyed such popularity.
From Vern Tardell's shop we made the trip south to the Santa Rosa location of Cotati Speed Shop. Owner Zane Cullen greeted us and gave us a personal tour of the facilities. There were a number of projects in the works, and the metalwork and fabrication was incredible. Flowmaster hosted supper at Cotati Speed and it was a great way to wrap up a very full day on the Sacramento Vintage Ford Tour.
On Thursday the time had come to get to Sacramento. We had been invited to stop by the huge retail store and warehouse of Sacramento Vintage Ford, who was our Tour sponsor. We were greeted by owner Darold Kohout and given a tour of the beautiful facilities. Sacramento Vintage Ford carries parts and accessories for most Ford cars from 1909 to 1948 and Ford trucks from 1928 to 1974. They also have a retail showroom that features a working diner and an amazing selection of hot rod parts and accessories. After the tour we were treated to hot dogs and hamburgers served up by the Sacramento Vintage Ford staff.
From our visit at Sacramento Vintage Ford we all headed to registration for the Golden State Nationals at the headquarters hotel. In its 7th year, the Golden State Nationals brings over 1,400 street rods, muscle cars and customs to the Cal-Expo Center. The STREET RODDER Road Tour hospitality tent was the headquarters for the participants who were ending the Sacramento Vintage Ford Tour, and also for those who were beginning the NHRA Wally Parks Museum Tour to the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield. Many folks had signed up for both of the weeklong tours.
California Car Cover owner Jim DeFrank and his wife Lorraine invited us to their home for
All of the Road Tourians appreciated the hospitality of Lorraine and Jim DeFrank. Great fo
We were able to spend some time in the Cannery Row area of Monterey. This historic section
In South San Francisco we visited the offices and photo studio of The Rodder's Journal. We
The Santa Cruz Wharf was a perfect spot for these three cars. Each represents one of three
Owner Donna Smith greeted us at Sanderson Headers and gave us a personal tour of the facil
Roy Brizio greeted us at Brizio's Street Rods in South San Francisco. Roy graciously spent
After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge we stopped at the visitor's area at the north end. F
Our evening in Santa Rosa wrapped up with a visit to the Cotati Speed Shop. Owner Zane Cul
Glenda and Steve Castelli posed for a picture with us on the steps of their beautiful home
Just north of Santa Rosa we visited the home of Glenda and Steve Castelli. Steve's collect
The next step in the Santa Rosa area was the shop of Vern Tardell. Vern and his crew have
Owner Darold Kohout greeted us at Sacramento Vintage Ford. He began our tour of the huge s
Looking down from the second floor office, you get a real sense of how big the Sacramento
The Street Rodder Road Tour hospitality tent was the center of activity all weekend. Parti
The NSRA Golden State Nationals was the ultimate destination of the Sacramento Vintage For