14 February 2011
Just two weeks after GNRS Pomona comes the Sacramento Autorama, or as I like to call it, "Sac-O-Rama". This show is usually one of the classier Northern California shows, and with the falling of the San Francisco Rod & Custom Show, it's the biggest indoor Hot Rod and Custom show in Northern California, at least that I've attended.
For us, normally this show is a good excuse to get a nice hotel room and stay up in Sacramento, a city that, aside from shows, I've never really gotten to know very well. Sacramento is like Northern California's LA, except for without the industry and money. In years past we've stayed in a hotel right down the street, and there's nothing quite like waking up, strolling down to the lobby, and grabbing a cup of coffee while George Barris is eating oatmeal in a track suit at the table next to you. This year, however, with the tight economy, and the added stress of having two shops open, we didn't get the hotel room, and I was stuck doing the show by myself.
Vending solo is not just tough work, but emotionally exhausting. I'm lucky enough to work with people that I love, specifically my wife and Mother-in-law, and without them along, vending is just work. I'm still fortunate that it's work with a beautiful backdrop, but it's work nonetheless.
I headed out on Thursday after class in San Francisco, and made the boring two hour drive up I-80 towards Sacramento. The radio in my Mother-in-law's truck picked up only static, so to add to my solitude I drove in silence. Driving alone makes me strangely introspective; I always find myself recounting my life's history, talking aloud to the car about the people I've met that have come and gone, places I've worked, and the strange things that I've seen.
I got to Sacramento around noon, and cars were still rolling into the Suede room. I set up solo, trying to remember how Josie would do things, constantly second guessing myself. After a few hours, I had a decent looking booth, so I walked around the suede room and got a few pictures. The Suede room in Sacramento, I have to say, was a little more up my alley than the one in Pomona; there were a lot more in-progress customs, and a lot fewer period hot rods. Period correct high-boy roadsters and pre-war builds might be fun to drive, but they don't do much for me sitting still on the show floor under fluorescent lights. I think I liked Sacramento's suede room better, but you can decide for yourself:
I really appreciate the amount of work it takes to clean up a 55 Dodge, it looks great:
This is going to be a good one to watch, dig the custom work on this sweet Olds four-door hardtop:
I'm a sucker for quad lights:
This car was pretty good. A few missteps for me, but all in all more was right than wrong:
The paint was really well executed:
I finished setting up, and I made a quick run through the rest of the show. The show seemed significantly smaller than in years past, and there didn't seem to be too many big budget customs. John D and Zocchi's cars were in the same spot they always were, and looked great, but were a little underwhelming for me, as a fan of the radical 60's and 70's style customs that I've come to expect.
I dug the hell out of this safe, in a vendor booth (I didn't get a name, I was practically running through the show!):
John D'Agostino and Richard Zocchi's entries this year. The paint on both was absolutely beautiful.
Yes, it was still set-up day.
Skoty Chops' car is coming along really well. I dig the brown suede:
After set up, and a few problems checking in, I headed back to Livermore, and switched cars. I took the 57 over to the car wash; if I'm driving into a show, even if it's just in a daily driver, it needs to be clean.
The car looked pretty good, but I couldn't help but notice that the spots where the primer is wearing thin are getting a little bigger. Someday I'd love to have a place to park under a roof, I'm sure the car would be grateful. I headed home to Oakland, and slept for a few hours.
The next day the car fired right up, and I filled up in Emeryville before making the trek up 80 again. Stopping on the West side of the freeway makes it hard to leave the Bay, the still waters of the bay and the open sky made me think twice about going to the show, I have to admit.
I hopped on a surprisingly empty freeway, and pulled on to Sacramento. The 57 doesn't have any form of a sound system aside from the glasspacks, rattles, and wind, so I drove up nursing a coffee whistling to myself the iPod playlist in my head. I got to Sacramento about a half hour before they opened the gate, so I sat in line and rolled through the HAMB on my phone, trying to see if anything new was going on around the show. Nothing was, and I pulled in at 11:00, parked alone on the side of the Suede Room and opened the booth. I got a few more shots of cars in the Suede room in the morning:
Another of Alex Gambino's chevy, it deserves it. I love the new paintjob and overall finished-ness of the car:
A shot of the rear of that custom Oldsmobile. Check out the roof scoop:
Friday was pretty slow. I never understood why they open these things at noon on Fridays; this is very much a blue collar crowd, and no one seems to show up until after 5 anyways. I took a few more pictures after closing, and headed home, alone. I drove like hell knowing that my wife would be waiting for me at home, and I made the drive in record time.
Saturday was the actual "drive-in" day, so when I rolled in at 8:30am I was both surprised and excited to see such a huge line to get in. I sat in a crowd of mostly street rods and what appeared to be the local "tri-five" chapter. My wife's 57, one of two running cars that we own, is definitely not a show car, and it's sure as hell not a rat-rod; it's a mild custom daily driver with a tip of the hat towards the late sixties, plain and simple. I felt a little out of place, and kept getting awkward looks from the other cars. I get the impression that a lot of people don't get having a daily driver; it's not here because I want to show it, I'm driving it because otherwise I'd be walking. Of course, it feels a lot better to participate in the show than to drive there then park across the street, and even if the car isn't a show car I still take pride in it. Once the line got moving, I parked in the same spot next to the suede room, glad that the car didn't boil over in the slow movement of the drive-in line. I only took a few pictures of the Drive-in because once I got there, it was time to throw it together and work.
Some cars rolling in:
I think there are more Edsel Taillights rolling around on customs than there ever were on stock Edsels. I love it.
The front of that Ranchero:
The show went pretty well, this car world that we live in is full of some of the best people on the planet; they'd make you feel at home on the moon if there were a car show there. I had a good time, and thank you to everyone who stopped by and said "Hello", it really breaks the monotony of being on your feet all day working. I took a few more shots at the end of the show, and headed out. The drive home was pretty uneventful, but I had a lot of time to myself to reflect.
Blessed Mother Protect Us:
This weekend made me come to a few conclusions: I really enjoy indoor car shows. There is a feeling of purpose and place in history, and I really appreciate it when people take the time to set up a display. I could care less about awards, but I love that they date and stamp our world with who did what which year; without awards we might forget truly amazing cars from years past. The show really seemed down this year, but I suppose anything would after GNRS. At the same time, I was inspired by the cars that did show up, and I'm afraid if there isn't more people willing to show their cars up North that we might lose what is one of the last great Northern California indoor car shows. Northern California's indoor show history is long and rich, but it's not stable. We've already lost so many great shows up here, I would hate to see this one go the way of the Rod & Custom Show.
Also, I learned the 5-Hour Energy drink's claims are widely exaggerated. Why on earth would you not only quantify your claims as a product, but make said claim a part of the name of your product? It's so fallible; they should just follow Rockstar and Monster's examples and make only strange and nebulous promises of product performance. I also realized how lucky I am to be able to work with my wife, who I love more than anything in the world; without her I'm only half a person. And I am so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing, hard-working, and downright "cool" Mother-in-Law. Also I'm glad that I don't have to commute regularly to Sacramento, that drive really sucks the life out of you.
I had the day off on Sunday, well sort of off; my Mother-in-Law and her brother drove up to finish the show while Josie and I held down the Berkeley store. I didn't see who won what award, but to be honest, I don't really care.
Thanks for reading, and thank you so much to everyone who put on the show, and an extra thanks to everyone who came out and put a car in the show, without your participation there is no Sacramento Autorama. Thanks.
Can anyone tell it's raining?