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43rd Annual L.A.Roadsters Show
and Barbecue Dinner

Fathers Day Weekend
Pomona, California
June 16-17, 2007
Story by Richard Parks and Photographs by Roger Rohrdanz

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   This year marks the 43rd Annual L. A. Roadster Show and the 50th Anniversary of the famous roadster club. This event ranks high on the list for hot rodders to attend. The show boasts a large swap meet with over 650 spaces available and a vendor’s area that is top notch. Just about any type of part or merchandise imaginable is available for sale. Swap meet sellers find this event to be particularly profitable for them. Vendors and companies specializing in hot rod parts and services know that the L. A. Roadster Show is an event that they cannot miss. The vendor’s area provides everything from tools, car parts, bodies, souvenirs and more for the avid hot rodder. Antique and classic cars fill up the special parking area assigned by the club. The real show of course is the zone marked off for the roadsters. Hundreds and hundreds of unique and beautiful roadsters are on display. It cost nothing to register and show your roadster. In fact, roadster owners are given every incentive to attend. Registration is free. Vendors and sponsors provide a goodie bag of their products. A club pin, pewter mug and a delicious barbecue dinner are given out to the driver of the roadster being exhibited. Free admission is given to the exhibitor and a guest. No wonder that this show attracts roadsters from all over the country and some foreign lands. Added to this was the fact that the weather was near perfect and the crowds larger than they have ever been and this was a special weekend. This year we came specifically to see what the Barbecue dinner was like and we weren’t disappointed. The barbecue dinner was catered by Blake’s and the food was delicious. The site was located on a knoll overlooking the Los Angeles County Fairplex and was shaded by a forest of trees. The tables seated some 500 people at a time and roadster owners and their guests walked up the hill and into a fast moving line past the food servers. Hot rodders recognized old friends from past shows and formed excited groups.

  “We have 795 roadsters in the show as of Saturday afternoon,” said Mort Smith, “a record.” Mort is a long time club member and one of the friendliest and most helpful person you will find. “The weather was perfect and the crowds are much larger than last year,” Mort added. “All the souvenir booths are sold out of this year’s t-shirts, pins and hats. We had to bring in surplus from last year’s show,” Mort said. This is the 50th Anniversary of the L. A. Roadsters Club and the 43rd Show and interest was intense. Bob Barnes, a member for 40 years told us that the club buys 800 pewter mugs every year from a foundry in England and gives them out to every roadster owner who shows off his car at the Father’s day show. Mort introduced me to Dick Scritchfield, an original member of the club. “There were six or seven of us who founded the club back in 1957,” said Scritchfield. “We wanted to encourage guys to return to the original roots of hot rodding in roadsters. Guys were into the new cars back then. We wore slacks and shirts, instead of levis and t-shirts in order to give the club some class and increase the image of hot rodders. Our roadsters were used in movies and in magazines like Hot Rod. Tex Smith and Norm Grabowski were original members and we were all from the Hollywood and Glendale area. We had our Beach Runs, cruises and social activities,” said Scritchfield. Bob Goodwin has been an associate member for eight years. “There are only 30 full members and 15 associate members of the L. A. Roadster Club,” said Bob. The club accepts new members only when an old member resigns or dies. Associate members live farther than 200 miles from the area and are exempt from the rule that all full members must participate in monthly club meetings. Rich Boyd is the President of the L. A. Roadster Club and the editor of World of Rods Magazine

  Another active and hard working member is Jack Stewart, who wrote the book L. A. Roadsters, an introspective, with Dick Wells. “We sold out all our swap meet parking,” Stewart beamed. “We’ve never had so much success as we had this year,” he said. Roger Fulmer is a new member from Brea, California and brought his ’29 Ford fendered roadster. The show is run completely by members and volunteers, some sixty people in all. Jeff and Craig Huntoon, Bruce Riemersma and Mick Kiley were some of the hard working non-members wearing the orange ‘staff’ t-shirts. Joe Mitchell, a member since 2002, came with his ’32 HiBoy, cherry red Ford roadster. Blake’s Place Café Pit Smoked BBQ from Anaheim, California catered the feast. “Real barbecue at its best,” said the hard-working crew. The cole slaw was spicy and the beans were a meal by themselves, but the chicken and tri-tip were outstanding and the roadster owners and members of the club enjoyed the food. Wives of the club members work just as hard as their husbands. Carolyn Diebold (friend of Don Wilson member since ’75), Janet Simeone (Rick ’65) and Melinda Northcott (Bob ’03) helped to serve the food. David Kornell (member since1992) and his brother Tim, came all the way from Canada to attend. Bill Krebs told me that “roadster owners come all the way from Europe, Canada, Hawaii and Australia to show off their cars.” Jimmy Gacchina (1982) is the Show Chairman and Jeff Tann (1995) is his co-Chairman for the L. A. Roadster Show this year. Gacchina comes from Palm Desert, California and brought his family with him, including his grandson, Zacchary. “We worked on improving the lines of cars waiting to get into the show and we brought in groups in caravans into the parking lot rather than having them rush through the gates,” he told me. “Every year we have new problems to solve, but this year we had over 650 swap meet spaces and 2500 preferred parking spots sold.” Gacchina added, “we also have a large women’s crafts center.

   A familiar face belonged to Jerry Cogswell, member since 1970. “I made the first fiberglass roadster body in 1959,” he said. Cogswell was a familiar driver in B-altered dragracing in the AHRA. Red polo shirt wearing members in the food line included Dick Anderson (‘98), Larry Ready (‘81), Larry Gimenez (’89), David Kiley (associate ’98), John Kiley (’98), Steve/Gina Murdough, Troy Hyde (associate 2005), Don Thomas (’71) and Wayne Pendola (2000). Doyle Gammell (’62) explained how much work the members and volunteers do to create this unique show. “I spot all the outside commercial fence lines, mark the parking and swap meet spaces, set up the tents and assists the vendors on move-in day,” he said. “We start our day at 6am and end at 6pm. Friday evening is our orientation meeting and dinner where we discuss plans and member assignments. Every member must work. We assign job details based on our member’s health and capacity. It our wives are integral to our success,” Gammell said. “A barbecue is the style of our club and we used to do the barbecuing for the show registrants, but it got to be too much for us. Bring your roadster and show it off at the show and we’ll give you a package that you can’t beat anywhere. Meguiar’s and Surf City Garage provide prizes and the goodie bag is full of coupons and gifts. The barbecue, pin, pewter mug and two free passes make this an $80 value,” added Gammell. 

   One of the last hot rodders to leave was John Pickle of Ramona who has been bringing his roadster to the L. A. Roadsters Show for the last eight years. “This is the best of the best when it comes to hot rod roadster shows,” said Pickle. “I’m amazed at how many cars there are. When I got here there were only 10 spaces left, but I got in,” he said. Pickle and Tom Stirkle started the Over the Hill Gang group of car clubs nearly thirty-five years ago. His shop in Ramona, California is called ‘The Toy Store’ and he builds half a dozen custom hot rods a year. John and Linda Paxton were another couple at the barbecue. The came from Livermore, California to display their ’29 Ford Roadster and have been attending the show for the last ten years. The barbecue was over and the members loaded up six huge trays of barbecue chicken and tri-tip steak and took it over to the swap meet vendors who were staying all night in the parking lot. We talked to John Benadom of Huntington Beach, California and his friend Barry Brogan. “The L. A. Roadster Club people are the most gracious people in all of hot rodding and very generous to me and to others,” said Benadom. “This is my first time selling my things at their swap meet and I have been very successful, but then I saw this car that I had to have and bought it,” he said. “I haven’t told my wife yet,” said Benadom with a sheepish look. “I’ve exhibited my roadsters here at the show for years,” he added. On Sunday the exhibitors slowly left the show, vowing to be back next year and waving their pewter mug in the air.

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The 43rd L.A.Roadster Show logo.

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From Northville, MI comes Ken Yanez and his ’32 Roadster with the Chevy grille and hood sides, the rest of the body is Ford.

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Driving all the way from Chesapeake, Virginia is Harry Hennis with his “Caution Yellow” very nostalgia looking ’32 Ford Roadster. Oh ya, on his way by he picked up his brother Bill in Union Port, Ohio!! There is no “chase car” with these guys. “The Florida 7”

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Al Washburn’s beige ’32 Ford Roadster with cool Moon discs from Sebastion, FL.

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Tom Pesula’s orange ’32 Ford Roadster with nostalgic Moon tank and lots of hood louvers from Port St. Lucie, FL.

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Bob Simons’ black ’32 Ford Roadster with injected Boss 302 Ford power, from Port St. Lucie, FL. It didn’t look this way when Bob built it 54 years ago!!

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A nice example of a blown HEMI powered ‘36 Ford full fendered Roadster built by Brizio.

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Two of the “Florida 7” plates

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From Santa Rosa, CA comes “Joker” club member Keith Christopherson with his ’32 Ford High Boy Roadster

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