WALKING through the doors of the hallowed NHRA museum I quickly realised I was on holy land. After a brief wander among some of hot rodding’s most historical and pioneering machines, I stepped out into a sea of cars.
Flat paint, candy paint, wire wheels, billet wheels, anything and everything you wished you could see, laid right out in front of you. Rock and roll blared through the PA system and cheap draught beer at every corner meant you could settle into a day of strolling around, soaking it all in – both cars and booze.
Held at the Fairplex in Pomona, Los Angeles, every Father’s Day weekend in June (American Father’s Day, that is), the LA Roadster Show takes up the enormous amount of space behind the NHRA museum and spills out through the exhibition halls and surrounding car park areas.
It’s one of California’s biggest annual events for both punters and the industry, and is put on by the LA Roadsters Car Club; a club which has been going strong since 1957. This year marked the 51st running of the event.
As a pasty former-Melbournite, I was totally overwhelmed by the show. The blaring sun was a welcome change to Victoria’s frigid climate, but that soon turned into scrambling for sunscreen and a straw hat.
The show stretched on as far as the eye could see – and a little bit further – as it faded away into the blurred lines of a heat haze on the scorching tarmac. Palm trees, pretty girls and jaw-dropping cars were around every turn.
Before I knew it, I was lost somewhere among hordes of chrome bumpers and patina’d panels. Another refreshing beverage under some shade and I was ready to tackle the next section.
Show ’n’ shine areas seemed to go on forever and covered all kinds of different cars. There was an area for roadsters, coupes, gassers, classic cruisers and even a small congregation of HAMBsters and drag cars.
A few of the drag-racing beasts put on a Cacklefest during the day and turned out huge crowds of partially-deafened punters. Considering they could be heard from a kilometre away over in the swap meet area, they surely pricked up a few ears.
Much like many Australian shows, the trade hall showcased all the latest in shiny, fresh engineering, but the real gem was the swap meet area.
Hidden among the lots were even more well-built cars. I went from stall to stall checking out all kinds of shiny vintage speed equipment that was either bolted to killer hot rods, or laid out on folding tables.
Almost comparable in size to the Ballarat Swap, countless rows of traders showcased their wares at prices almost unseen by Aussies. Sure, there was the occasional cash-grabber trying to flog an ‘authentic, good condition’ grille for a ridiculous price, but anyone on the hunt for a particular part would be sure to find it for a great price.
If you’re interested in checking out hundreds of well-built cars, or finding those rare speed parts at next year’s show, then stay tuned to www.laroadsters.com for dates and details.