We had a great Wednesday evening in Monterey and by Thursday morning it was time to get to Bakersfield and our destination of the California Hot Rod Reunion. My wife Mary Ann had flown into San Francisco and it was fun to have her along for the rest of the Tour. We did have one more visit and it turned out to be a fantastic one. Don Orosco has been a hot rodder his entire life. He has raced exotic sports cars and continues to do so around the world. About twenty years ago he began to actively seek out and purchase hot rods that had a significant history in our hobby. His goal was to restore these vehicles to their original hot rod beginnings and to preserve their place in our hot rodding history. As with most of the things that Don has set out to do in his life, he has been very successful in his quest to find and restore these iconic cars.
Don greeted us at his office and shop in Monterey. He proceeded to entertain us for the next two hours with stories of his search and rescue missions with some of the jewels of his huge collection. We were introduced to Jessie Cruz who handles the restoration and paint work on the hot rods. Many of us had seen pictures of Don's cars in the magazines or at some of the larger shows, but to actually stand next to them and hear their story from Don was truly amazing. We also got a look at the collection of vintage parts and accessories that Don has acquired over the years. Some years ago Don set out to reproduce the famous Ardun heads for flatheads. He was very successful and did a limited production run that helped to preserve the Ardun history in our hobby. It was a fantastic morning with a man who has a passion for hot rods and loves to share his accomplishments with other folks who appreciate the history of our hobby. Many thanks to Don for his hospitality in Monterey.
From Monterey we headed south on the Pacific Coast Highway. It is an incredible drive that goes along the beautiful California coastline. There was quite a bit of fog as we traveled south but we were able to catch some beautiful views as the weather cleared in spots. We stopped for lunch in Big Sur at the Nepenthe Restaurant and continued on south. Just past Cambria we headed inland and arrived in Bakersfield at dark. While our journey to Bakersfield on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour was completed, our fun at the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion was just beginning.
It was a great weekend at Famoso Raceway. The quality of the vintage race cars was fantastic and the history of our hobby was everywhere from the displays and exhibits to the action on the track. Our AMSOIL/Street Rodder hospitality tent was set up in the Grove area behind the grandstands. We were able to park our cars next to the tent and all of the Sherm's Custom Plating Road Tourians spent the weekend recounting their adventures. Many thanks go out to Tony Thacker, Greg Sharp and their staff and crew for again making us feel so welcome. We have already decided to make a return trip next fall as the California Hot Rod Reunion will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Watch for all the details as we travel from the Pacific Northwest to Bakersfield in October of 2011.
It was a great week on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. Many thanks to Gary Matranga, Art Holman and Dave Dougherty from Sherm's for making it all possible. It was the perfect wrap-up to an amazing summer of the Road Tour. We traveled 24,500 miles from May to October and had a great time and saw many incredible sights.
Thanks to all of you who helped make it a wonderful 15th season on the Street Rodder Road Tour. The 2011 schedule is almost ready to be announced. Watch here at the website and the pages of Street Rodder Magazine for all of the latest news and schedule for the 2011 season as we see the USA in a very, very cool and very, very hot 1955 Chevrolet.