If it's Father's Day weekend it means the annual L.A. Roadster Show and Swap Meet has come around again. A well-established tradition for hot rodders in Southern California, this year marked the 45th such event for the club which was formed in 1957. The established format of only letting finished, painted, and upholstered 1936 and older roadsters into the main show area is the main draw. But at least double the real estate taken up by the finished roadsters is set aside outside the gate for the huge swap meet and specialty parking area, where pre-'75 hot rods, customs and other special interest vehicles are made welcome.
This year saw a few new additions to the show, with ten or so vintage front-engined dragsters firing up for a Cacklefest on Saturday, wowing many spectators who'd never witnessed such a sight. Or smell! The Pinstripers Gathering for Charity-hopefully to become an annual event-raised funds by 'striping whatever was laid in front of them, with proceeds going to the L.A. Roadsters' favorite causes. Celebrating 75 years of the '33-34 Ford, Steve's Auto Restorations sponsored a corral for Model 40s, awarding 15 special trophies, while on Sunday there was apparently a special area dubbed the Traditional Rod and Suede Show, though many such cars had congregated together since Friday in the specialty parking area.
If you were shopping for new hot rod parts, you'd have been able to assemble several differently-styled rods from the parts offered by the hundreds of vendors, selling everything from complete bodies and chassis, through paint and upholstery, to the smallest trim part. And that's without the clothing, lifestyle accessory, and artwork vendors.
Celebrities in attendance included Dave Bell (you'll know his Henry HiRise cartoons from Street Rodder magazine) and Henry Winkler, aka The Fonz, both signing autographs and meeting fans, while several other well known hot rod personalities could be seen enjoying the show on what is, for many, a rare weekend off. Or not, as the case may have been, if they were working their booths. I know many people were pleased to meet and talk hot rods with the guys from Ionia Hot Rod Shop, who'd hauled a great rolling chassis out from Michigan.
But the highlight of the show for me personally will always be the swap meet, with truly unique, desirable, and hard to find parts down each aisle. Maybe the effects of the economy were hitting home, but I saw very few people hauling large parts back to the parking lot, and many of the projects and cars for sale weren't selling, despite some favorable pricing. But smaller stuff was moving, and most of the people I knew with swap spaces selling realistically priced parts reported decent sales during the weekend.
Though it didn't make for great photos, the overcast skies on Saturday were perfect for walking the show without getting burned, a bonus if you'd been to the open house events at both SO-CAL Speed Shop and Walden Speed Shop the day before, though Sunday saw SoCal sunshine of the finest caliber. With 885 roadsters to get around, plus the swap meet and specialty parking areas, there was simply too much to see in one day. And that's a good thing!
If you were looking for vintage...
If you were looking for vintage induction setups you'd come to the right place, so long as you'd brought what's left of your savings! From a McCulloch supercharger for a Flatty, injection systems, 4-71 blowers and tunnel rams, to a new six-carb setup for a small-block Chevy, you could take your pick!