The Sherm’s Custom Plating Tour kicked off at the Sherm’s Custom Plating facilities in Sac
Last year on the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour, one of the most popular legs was the Sherm’s Custom Plating Tour in California. Located in Sacramento, Sherm’s headquarters makes a perfect starting point for a tour headed anywhere in California. The folks at Sherm’s have many contacts and connections in the Golden State and always manage to get the Road Tourians into some of the greatest private car collections in the country. Gary Matranga from Sherm’s takes an active part in planning the tour and traveled with us on the entire route last year. He had a great time along with all the other participants and was excited to join us again on the road this year.
The Sherm’s Custom Plating Tour kicked off with the first drivers’ meeting of the week at 4 p.m. on Saturday at our hotel in Sacramento. With over 30 vehicles registered for the Road Tour to the California Hot Rod Reunion at Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield, California, the lobby was filled with excited participants. The itinerary for the week was thick as a number of stops and visits were planned each day during the five days that we would be spending on the road traveling to Bakersfield.
First up on the schedule was a visit to the sponsor of the tour, Sherm’s Custom Plating. At Sherm’s we were greeted by President Gary Matranga, partner Dave Dougherty, and sales and service coordinator Kelly Wiley. Co-owner Art Holman was out of town during our visit. Dave took the large group through the shop at Sherm’s, explaining the chrome plating process and describing in detail what goes into the quality chrome for which Sherm’s is known. All of the tour participants received a Sherm’s T-shirt. The tour goodie bags and participant credentials were also handed out during our visit. After some pictures in front of the building it was time to make the short drive to see Gary’s collection of special interest vehicles.
We were given a tour of the plating facility by partner Dave Dougherty. Until you get a cl
Gary has been deeply involved with all types of auto and motorcycle racing endeavors for many years. He has raced top fuel cars, funny cars, sprint cars, and is a member of the 200 MPH Club at Bonneville. His current passion is racing some very potent Ducati motorcycles at road courses on the West Coast. Besides his love of going fast, he is also an avid builder and collector of hot rods. His extensive collection of ’32 and ’40 Fords is amazing to see and all of the participants could appreciate the quality of Gary’s cars. It was a great kick-off evening on the Sherm’s Custom Plating Tour.
On Sunday morning the weather was beautiful in Sacramento. Our drivers’ meeting was at 8 a.m. and we discussed the activities that were on the schedule for the day. We had been invited by the Napa Valley Cruisers Car Club to meet them at the Marie Callender’s restaurant in Napa and to travel along to Sebastopol to visit the home and studio of artist and sculptor Michael Cooper. It was an hour drive to Napa and the Napa Valley folks were already there when we arrived. It was a good turnout of about 25 cars from their club and when we added our 25 vehicles it was a long parade for the 90-minute drive to Sebastopol. Our route took us through the beautiful wine country of the Napa Valley. With tree-covered hills and vineyards on each side of the highway it was a very picturesque scene. Many thanks to Barry Gates and the entire Napa Valley Cruisers for inviting us along for the gorgeous drive.
Upon arriving we were greeted by Michael Cooper and given a personal tour of his studio. Many readers may remember the Tubester pickup truck with its unique header system and wooden insert in the bed. Michael built that truck in 2001. His real passion and main focus are very unique works of art that combine creative woodcarvings, laminates, and metal crafting to become amazing visual statements. Each has its own story and Michael was good enough to spend time and give us some background on each piece. It was definitely sensory overload and everyone enjoyed the stop at Michael Cooper’s studio.
On Saturday evening we also got to see the extensive car and motorcycle collection of Sher
Sunday we were invited to join the Napa Valley Car Club for a cruise to Sebastopol and the
Michael Cooper (center) is an artist who works in wood and metal like sculptors work in cl
We all posed in the AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour hospitality tent for one final group ph
From Sebastopol it was a short drive to Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa. Zane Cullen’s cre
From Sebastopol it was a short drive to Cotati Speed Shop in Santa Rosa, California. Zane Cullen and the crew at Cotati were the folks who built the 2010 Road Tour pickup. Formerly know as Creative Concepts, these folks have been turning out award-winning vehicles for a decade. Zane was recently inducted into the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame and is one of its youngest members. There were many projects in the works at Cotati and the crew was very helpful in answering questions about each of the vehicles in the shop. The 23,000 miles on the odometer of last year’s Road Tour vehicle is a testament to the fact that Zane and the Cotati crew can build a vehicle that can go as well as show.
Monday morning 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 and Glenda Castelli. Located in the middle of a vineyard, their 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 Willys that Steve campaigns on the vintage drag racing circuit. One of Steve’s most recent acquisitions is a mid-’70s Camaro that Gary Matranga from Sherm’s actually raced very successfully in the late-’70s. It was great to see Gary reunited with the car for the first time in over 30 years. It was an amazing morning at the Castelli’s home and a great start to our day.
After spending Sunday evening in Santa Rosa it was a short drive north on Monday morning t
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 who enjoys sharing his automotive passion with others.
From Al Engel’s our journey continued to Oakland. After checking in at our hotel on the waterfront it was a very short drive to Moal Coachbuilders in Oakland. Steve Moal has carried on the family tradition of automotive metalworking that dates back to the days when his grandfather operated a traditional coachworks business. 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 Moal’s practices their craft on many different types of vehicles and currently has a number of street rods mixed in with a totally handbuilt sports car. It was then back to the hotel to spend the evening on the patio enjoying some great food, beverages, and recounting the day’s activities.
Tuesday our first stop of the day was at Arlen Ness Motorcycles in Dublin. Arlen has been a motorcycle icon for many years and his new facility is fantastic. We were given a tour of the shop, 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 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.
One of Steve Castelli’s latest finds is a vintage early ’70s funny car. The incredible coi
Next up on our very busy Monday schedule was a visit to the Al Engel collection. We spent
The trip through the countryside near Steve Castelli’s home was beautiful. The drive took
From the Blackhawk Museum we headed south over the San Francisco Bay via the San Mateo Bri
After checking in at our hotel near the San Francisco airport it was a very short drive to the office and studios of The Rodders Journal. We were greeted by Chasity Smith and the staff at The Rodder’s Journal. Chasity gave us a look at the photo studio where many of the photos seen on the pages of the magazine are taken. We were also able to get an up-close look at a very early version of a SO-CAL Speed Shop lakes roadster owned by Dave Tanimura. 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 The Rodder’s Journal.
By 5 p.m. 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 to 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 20 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 had 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.
After a very exciting day on the Sherm’s Custom Plating Tour we had a relaxing evening at
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 Canapa Design. This amazing facility includes a retail automotive showroom filled with classic cars, sports cars, and hot rods that were all for sale. Bruce greeted us and led the group to the museum upstairs and then through the complete restoration facilities that are housed on the premises. Bruce Canapa 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 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 20 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.
The Blackhawk Museum in Danville houses one the most prestigious collections of classic au
Our first stop on Tuesday was at famous motorcycle builder Arlen Ness facility. It serves
From the Blackhawk Museum we headed south over the San Francisco Bay via the San Mateo Bri
It’s a short drive across South San Francisco from The Rodder’s Journal offices to the sho
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 paintwork 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 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.
The trip south on California Highway 1 was a beautiful drive and gave us our first look at
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 this fall as the California Hot Rod Reunion will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. Watch for all the details of the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum Road Tour 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 AMSOIL/Street Rodder Road Tour. Watch the website and the pages of Street Rodder for all of the news and schedule for the 2011 season. Call the Road Tour hotline at (800) 664-1362 for the latest updates as we see the United States in a very, very cool and very, very hot ’55 Chevrolet.
Among the many projects underway at Brizio’s was this trick ’27 track roadster. Being buil
On Thursday morning Don Orosco invited us to see his collection at his shop in Monterey. H
Just a few miles inland from Santa Cruz is Scott’s Valley and home to Bruce Canapa Design.
While the vintage racers attracted the attention on the track, the spectator’s rides were