With visions of riding Bob Panella's train still dancing in our heads, we had our daily driver's meeting at 8AM on Wednesday. It was a one-hour drive to Leonard Lopez's new Dominator Street Rod facilities in Tracy, California. Leonard and the crew at Dominator had built the 2007 Road Tour McMullen's Coupe and it was great to see all of our friends at Dominator. As usual they have plenty of projects in the works and they are all first- class builds. It was informative to have Leonard spend the time to fill us in on all the details of the vehicles that are in progress at the Dominator shop.
From Dominator we headed north and arrived in Sacramento about noon. We were greeted at Sherm's Plating by Art Holman and Dave Dougherty. As partners of President Gary Mantranga, Art and Dave oversee the daily activities at Sherm's. We were given a full tour and a very informative talk by Art about what it really takes to produce the quality of show plating that Sherm's is famous for producing. Everyone was amazed at the cleanliness of the shop and the steps that are taken to keep the facility environmentally safe. All of the Road Tourians received Sherm's hats and goodie bags. There was a drawing for a $150 Sherm's Plating gift certificate and Donna Avery was the excited winner.
We also visited the "toy box" of Sherm's President Gary Matranga who had been traveling with me all week in the Road Tour Chevy. Gary has been a car guy his entire life and has competed in all aspects of racing. He has his pro license in drag racing and is a member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club. He has had some great street rods over the years and it was fun to see his famous Willy's street / race car, his collection of '32 Fords, vintage Harleys and road-racing Ducati motorcycles. We were also given a look at Gary's latest project, a 1932 Ford B-400 that is going to be unbelievable when completed.
It was a short drive to Del Paso Street where we were given a peek at the collection of vintage tin and incredible flat-head engines and parts owned by So-Cal of Sacramento. It is hard to imagine that such a huge collection has been amassed by owners Joe Fazio and Dan Sanderson. So-Cal of Sacramento and Sherm's Plating then treated us to a great tri-tip and chicken dinner at the Uptown Caf. The food was delicious! After dinner it was a short drive to So-Cal of Sacramento's very cool retail store on Del Paso where there was a party thrown in our honor Wednesday evening. Thanks to all the folks at So-Cal of Sacramento for a great evening.
We were not done yet on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. Thursday we made the short drive to Rio Linda and the fantastic shop of Tim Lohrey. Tim's Hot Rods has been producing high quality street rods and customs for quite a few years. We were greeted by Tim, his wife Christina and daughter Kaitlyn. Tim had invited some local rodders and we were treated to a tour of the huge facility and then we all enjoyed a very tasty sit down breakfast. It was a great way to start what would be another incredible day on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour.
From Tim's Hot Rods we drove into Sacramento and visited a legend in the custom car and hot rod world. Dick Bertollucci has been involved in customizing cars since the 1940's and has worked with icons such as Harry Westergard and Sam and George Barris. We stood in awe as Dick related stories of the early years in the hot rod scene. We were able to see his first early custom, a 1938 Chevy that he was able to recently re-acquire after many years. We also saw the incredible hot rods and customs that he has built over the last six decades. It was an honor and a privilege to be in the presence of such a legend and all-around great guy. Dick is truly one of our last links to the colorful early years of our hobby.
From Dick Bertolluci's shop it was a short drive to the warehouse museum of John Cox. John is a drag racer and car collector who has had the automobilia bug for many years. We were greeted by John, his son Terry and their crew that helps keep the collection in top shape. They also help campaign the vintage rail dragster that Terry drives at many of the vintage races. John's collection is so huge and diverse that it was hard to take it all in during a few hours. There were great brats on the grill and the Road Tourians enjoyed John's collection of automobilia and nostalgia plus the largest collection of 1958 Chevys I have ever seen. One of my personal favorite parts of John's collection was the vintage slot car track. I spent many afternoons of my youth at slot car tracks and really enjoyed getting the controller back in my hand.
After our visit at John Cox's collection many of the Road Tourians stopped at the California State Railroad Museum in the Old Sacramento section of downtown. From there it was off to our hotel to try to digest the amazing things that we had seen that day.
It was a great weekend at the NSRA Golden State Nationals. The AMSOIL/ Street Rodder hospitality tent was a center of activity all weekend. It was the perfect way to cap off the unbelievable week we had spent on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. Thanks to Gary Matranga and the folks at Sherm's for their help and support and thanks to all of the folks who greeted us along the way. It was a week that will go down in Road Tour history.
We have completed seven Tours on the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour 2009 season. We have one more to go as the NHRA Wally Parks Museum Tour kicks off at Morrison Enterprises in Fife, Washington and takes a very beautiful drive to the California Hot Rod Reunion in Bakersfield with many great stops along the way.
Check back here and I will keep you updated on our travels.