Booster Masthead

Restoration Blvd.
October 2002

Columnist — Allen Wright

It's a Small World After All at Car Shows

After over 15 years of car shows and several restorations this weekend I realized that I knew a lot of people that like old cars and restorations.

This past weekend I made the pilgrimage to Pomona for the Cross and Sons Antique Auto Show. I have been attending this event for well over 15 years.

This particular weekend was different than the normal outing to Pomona and I think worth noting.

To start off, I got there early — 4:30 a.m. — to avoid the lines and the parking lot was already half full. This Antique Auto Show continues to get bigger. Many are finding if they arrive between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., the place is full of cars and the parking is impossible.

The car shows, whether it's the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance or the Long Beach Swap Meet, are very social events. These events bring out young and old to basically talk cars and experiences with cars.

The gentlemen in the '72 Chevelle next door to me seemed to have a good program. When they go to the show, they arrive at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday night. They park the car and then take a cab to a Mexican restaurant on nearby Arrow Highway. They have a great parking spot for the show the next day and they can enjoy the evening with margaritas and beer because they're taking a taxi back to their car.

We discussed many things and discovered that we had many common acquaintances.

John from Bellflower is building a 1958 Pontiac in his father's garage and he has been working on it for over five years. John's '58 is a two-door hardtop with three two-barrel carburetors, a rare car.

John knows Ted at Orange County Speed and Ted told John about me and my '63 Plymouth. Where did we finally meet? John and his buddy, Walter, were the guys that I parked next to at Pomona at 4:30 a.m. on Sunday, the ones with the '72 Chevelle for sale. Small world.

John and Walter and I talked for hours about restorations, selling cars, and keeping the women in our lives happy.

I cruised the vendor area looking for parts that I might use and ran into Ron from San Diego. I haven't seen him for awhile and I asked about his Packard. He said he sold it two years ago. He asked me about my '70 Pontiac Formula 400 restoration. I sold the Pontiac Formula 400 in 1993 and that means we haven't talked since 1993. Or, maybe, we have talked but just about other subjects. Ron found a 1939 Packard 120 4-door in a garage in L.A. with less than 10,000 miles on the car. I had found the Pontiac Formula 400 in Pearblossom with 50,000 miles on it.

We talked about restorations, selling cars, and keeping the women in our lives happy.

As things normally go, I ran into another guy in the VW section that does steering wheel repairs. He was talking about his latest bug restoration. About a year ago, he did a repair on my '63 Plymouth steering wheel. He came over and looked at the Plymouth and met Walter and Ron (remember my neighbors with the '72 Chevelle?). Ron was looking for someone to redo the steering wheel on his '58 Pontiac and a contact was made.

Between the four of us, the conversation went the normal way: cars restored, selling cars, and taking care of the women in our lives.

As you can see, even with the limited groups, the discussions are about cars and our loved ones. We car guys are a social bunch and we don't hole up in our garages all the time.

Being social has many levels, depending on what your interests are. The perception of the car guys as anti-social garage trolls is simply in error. We don't have our outings at The Peninsula Hotel in Beverly Hills. We have them next to the drag strip in Pomona.

The thing that made this trip to Pomona different was realizing what social animals we all are, regardless of our interests. I think I will go earlier to the next car event. I can start socializing (drinking beer) earlier and that always leads to great conversations with someone.

Originally published in the October 2002 Automotive Booster Magazine.
Copyright October 2002 by KAL Publications Inc.

Covering the California auto parts aftermarket since 1928.