Thirty years. That’s a long time for anything continuous. It was back in September 1982 that the first West Coast Kustoms Cruise was held at Lake Nacimiento near Paso Robles, California. Some of the biggest names in custom building showed for that first event, including some little kid named Chip Foose, who showed up with his dad, Sam. The show moved around a little as it grew (it went to Hollister in 1983) before settling in Paso Robles for many years, and now established in Santa Maria.

Always primarily an event for customs, feathers were ruffled when traditional hot rod clubs, such as the Shifters, started turning up, then latterly an influx of lowriders in Santa Maria, but this year those numbers were down, and it was business as usual with mainly traditional customs and rods. Of note was a definite rise in numbers of ’60s-style mild customs with panel, scallop, lace, and ’flake paintjobs, cool interiors, and low stances. Just a different kind of traditional, if you will, and great to see, as this type of car represents an affordable starting point in what can be an expensive pastime.

For the second year, Broadway was closed to regular traffic for several blocks between 7 and 9 p.m. for the organized City Cruise. Fashionably (or predictably, however you look at it!) late as usual, we rolled into town around 7:30, the new paint still tacky on the ’46 roadster pickup, and gate-crashed the cruise for some photo ops.

Saturday followed the established formula of kicking back at the Fairpark, checking out the cars, bands, traders, model car show, and the Brush Bash. That was followed by an auction of the work created during the day in aid of the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause dear to organizer Penny Pichette, as her husband, and this show’s founder, Rich Pichette, succumbed to the disease last year. After hours, you had the choice of the party at the Rancho Bowl or dirt oval racing at the Santa Maria Speedway.

Sunday saw the addition of a swap meet at the Fairpark, though a prior engagement saw us pointing the ’46 back south, glad the following day was a public holiday, offering the rare chance of a lie-in!