After Sunday evening in Morro Bay the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour rolled on towards Fresno, California. The drive across California Routes 46 and 41 was beautiful with rolling grasslands and winding roads. We arrived in Fresno around noon and had time to have some lunch. Our afternoon stop was at John Lawson Motorsport's new museum. Last year one of our Road Tours had stopped at John's shop and got a look at his unbelievable collection of hot rods. He has just recently moved much of his collection into a bigger facility and it was fantastic to see the cars in the new setting. There was plenty of room to walk around the 65 cars that were on display and really appreciate that quality of each and every car. John's love for the 1932 Fords goes back over 50 years and is evident by the shear number of Deuces in his collection. The quantity is amazing but the quality of each and every "32 is what takes your breath away. As always John was a gracious host and available to answer all of our questions about his vehicles.
From John Lawson's new facility we made the short drive to good friend Charlie Lambetecchio's home just outside Fresno. Charlie and his wife Stella have been fixtures on the West Coast hot rod scene for years and are former winners of the World's Most Beautiful Roadster Award. Charlie was inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame this past January and is always a gracious host when folks come to visit.
From Charlie and Stella's we drove across Fresno to the facilities of Wheel Vintiques. Wheel Vintiques has been a major supporter of the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour program since 2001 and is our presenting sponsor. We have spent the last nine years rolling on various Wheel Vintiques products and each and every one has made our cars stand out. We were greeted by owners Sherry and Mike Stallings and the entire staff. Sherry gave us a real behind the scenes look at what goes into all of the Wheel Vintiques products. The resurgence in popularity of the tradition wire wheels for rods is evident by the quantity of wire wheel products on hand. The early OEM line and the steel wheels are other very popular styles and of course their billet line is huge also. After our shop tour we were able to relax and enjoy some tasty Mexican food and wings with the good folks from Wheel Vintiques. It was a perfect way to end a great day on the Sherm's Custom Plating Road Tour.
Our fun continued on Tuesday morning as we headed north to the town of Modesto. Just when we thought we had seen every beautiful 1932 Ford on the planet we got to Tom Holmquist's and saw a collection of Deuces that represent every body style that was offered in the Ford line for 1932. We were greeted by Tom, his wife Andrea and Tom's sister Barb. With an ample supply of coffee, pasties and cheesecake we spent the morning enjoying Tom's collection of beautiful vehicles.
The journey continued north on Route 99 to the town of Stockton and the Panella Trucking race car shop. Bob Panella and his son Bob Jr have been major figures in professional drag racing for many years. Bob Sr successfully campaigned a 1941 Willy's pick-up in the early 1960s and Bob Jr continued their racing success with three consecutive national Pro Stock Truck championships over the past decade. Their shop continues to produce some the finest engines in the racing world. Bob Sr's love for Willys vehicles has grown into one of the greatest collections of that marquee in the country. After our tour of the Panella Trucking race car shop Bob Sr. invited us to he and his wife Dorothy's home just north of Stockton near Lodi. Their beautiful 88 acre ranch was breathtaking and we were all treated to a ride on Bob's latest passion, a one fifth scale railroad that runs on a 1.5 mile track covering the stunningly landscaped grounds of their home. It was a real Road Tour moment and we all beamed like little kids at an amusement park as Bob navigated the twists and turns on the Panella Railroad. Thanks to the entire Panella family for welcoming us to their shop and their beautiful home. It is an afternoon that none of the Road Tourians will ever forget.
We are getting close to our destination of the Golden State Nationals but still have many stops to make. Check back here and see what other things we see on the Sherm's Custom plating Tour to Sacramento.