Monday morning it was rise and shine for the participants on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. It was scheduled to be a very full day of Road Tour excitement. After our daily morning get together at our hotel in Rohnert Park, just south of Santa Rosa, we headed north. It was a short drive to Heraldsburg and the beautiful home of Steve Castelli. Located in the middle of a vineyard, Steve's home and surrounding buildings are filled with fantastic automobiles, automobilia and collectibles. Steve has spent a lifetime gathering pedal cars, bicycles, gas pumps, neon signs and anything and everything relating to our hot rod heritage. The displays that Steve has put together are mind boggling in their size. The cars in Steve's collection include muscle cars, vintage drag cars, and a very special Willy's that Steve campaigns on the vintage drag racing circuit. One of Steve's most recent acquisitions is a mid 70's Camaro that Gary Matranga, president of Sherm's Custom Plating, raced very successfully in the late 70's. It was great to see Gary reunited with the car for the first time in over 30 years. It was an amazing morning at Steve Castelli home and collection and a great start to our day.
Next on our schedule was a visit to Richmond, California tell see the collection of Al Engel. Located in a huge warehouse on the waterfront, Al's collection includes street rods, classic cars, Bantams, military vehicles, automobilia and motorcycles. When we arrived we were greeted with cold drinks and snacks. Al walked with us through the collection and answered all of our questions about the vehicles, the automobilia and his lifetime of collecting. Al is another example of a great person that enjoys sharing his automotive passion with others.
From Al Engels our journey continued to Oakland. After checking in at our hotel on the waterfront it was a very short drive to Moal's Coachworks in Oakland. Steve Moal has carried on the family tradition of automotive metal working that dates back to the days that his grandfather operated a coachworks. Steve's son Michael was on hand to give us a tour and answer all of our questions about the many project vehicles under construction. The team at Moals practice their craft on many different types of vehicles and currently have a number of street rods mixed in with a totally hand built sports car. It was then back to the hotel to spend the evening on the patio enjoying some great food, beverages and recounting the days activities.
Tuesday our first stop of the day was at Arlen Ness's Motorcycles in Dublin. Arlen Ness has been a motorcycle icon for many years and their new facility is fantastic. We were given a tour of the facility which includes a collection of Arlen's great motorcycles from over the past 40 years.
From Arlen Ness Motorcycles it was a short drive to Danville and the Blackhawk Automotive Museum. We were very privileged to get a very special tour of their collection of classic automobiles. From the beautiful facility to the fantastic group of vehicles on display, everything is first class at the Blackhawk Auto Museum. After our tour we were invited to park our vehicles in the circle in front of the museum for a special photo opportunity. Thanks to everyone at the Blackhawk for making our special visit possible.
After checking in at our hotel near the San Francisco airport it was a very short drive to the office and studios of Rodders Journal. We were greeted by Chasity Smith and the staff at Rodder's Journal. Chasity gave us a look at the photo studio where some many of the photos are taken that are seen on the pages of the magazine. We were also able to get an upclose look at a very early version of a So-Cal Speed Shop roadster. It had just arrived for a special photo shoot. On the way out of the lot we filled the area with our cars and a picture was taken to commemorate our visit at Rodder's Journal.
By 5 PM we were headed to the shop of Roy Brizio. Roy greeted us in the parking lot and took time to look at our vehicles and answer the many questions that were posed by the Road Tour participants. We were then able to take a walk through the shop and look at all of the projects under construction. Roy and the Brizio crew are always great hosts whenever we visit and we spent almost two hours at the shop. Gary Matranga from Sherm's Custom Plating stepped up and covered the cost of the twenty very delicious pizzas that were delivered for everyone to enjoy. By the end of the day on Tuesday we were all very exhausted but very happy as we have already visited some of the most amazing automotive facilities on the West Coast and we were only on day two of the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour.
Wednesday's drive took us south on Highway 1 along the coast of California. We arrived at the Santa Cruz Pier in time to enjoy some lunch. With 30 of the Road Tour vehicles lined up along the pier's edge we took some photos with the Santa Cruz Amusement Park in the background. From Santa Cruz it was a very short drive to Scott's Valley and the facilities of Bruce Canepa Design. This amazing facility includes a retail automotive showroom filled with classic cars, sports cars and hot rods that were all for sale. Bruce Canepa greeted us and lead the group to the museum upstairs and then through the complete restoration facilities that are housed on the premises. Bruce Canepa Design is a first class operation that builds, services and sells high end special interest vehicles and covers the entire range of the automotive collector hobby.
Wednesday evening was spent at our hotel in Pacific Grove as we recounted yet another fantastic day on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour. We are getting closer to our final destination of the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield. There are still a few more stops to make and a beautiful drive that will take us down one of the most picturesque highways in America. Check back here and get all the latest news of the activities on the Sherm's Custom Plating Tour.