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.