We had a pleasant afternoon at the Vista Rod Run today. California car culture turns on the fact that we don’t use road salt here, so we don’t lose our vehicles to rust. A little Bondo, a little metal flake paint, and some chrome electroplating and I could probably make that RAV4 out in the driveway look pretty cool. Well, maybe not.
An observation: All the kids from Tom Wolfe’s “Kandy-Kolored Tangerine Flake Streamlined Baby,” the girls with the bouffant hair-dos and the skinny guys in jeans with a pack of Camels rolled in the sleeve of their t-shirt have aged enormously. Enormously is actually right on point. The California car culture is boomer dominated, and too many of us are carrying a little too much weight.
Fifties Chevys seem to continue to dominate the custom restoration market. I noticed this in Escondido a year or so ago. One of the fanciest cars we saw today was a restored 1936 Auburn boat tailed speedster. It’s the one parked next to the Cobra in the short slide-show above. The show today was visually rich… stunning enamel paint jobs, fancy upholstery, chromed and sculpted metal. It was also rich in cultural referents… surfing vehicles, an honest to goodness little deuce coupe with a powerful engine under the hood. And countless one-of-a-kind custom cars, from an old Willys to a right hand drive MG that had seen service in the post WW2 Lancashire constabulary. Lots of sixties era VWs, some more Nazified than others… low-rider culture was well represented… I hope we visit again next year.