Umbrellas and spirits were up and the ‘Rain Gods’ failed to dampen the fun and excitement at the 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING.

Umbrellas and spirits were up and the ‘Rain Gods’ failed to dampen the fun and excitement at the 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING.

It’s not surprising that folks with a passion for motorcycles are a pretty rugged and optimistic breed. Sure, rain was predicted to start falling at around 10 AM on May 4th, the Saturday that the 14th annual 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING would kick-start in beautiful Carmel, CA – on the manicured lawns of The Quail Golf Club. And rain it did, throughout most of the day. (The Seeley Polished Bike, right.)

But those rugged bikers and ardent fans still came – with their prepped and polished collector bikes, race bikes, art bikes, prototypes, and unbridled enthusiasm! Those who had them, erected space-frame show tents and invited those without shelter to pull their show bikes alongside theirs. Most of the 1,000 attendees I saw were smiling while sharing stories, tech tips and hot beverages. I had arrived a day early to grab photos and insights during the early arrival’s setup hours – and early again on Saturday morning, show day. By the time the rain began to fall I already had about 6 hours exploring the show field.

Gordon McCall and his hard-working Peninsula Signature Events team had promoted a 14th Gathering that would showcase four featured classes, ten traditional classes, special anniversaries and marques in motorcycling – and ultimately have over 300 bikes on display. With the sketchy weather, that count dropped to around 200 and attendance no doubt took a hit as well. But the fun and enthusiasm were never dampened by the rain. People got wet, but they also got stoked about participating in “The Gathering.” I grabbed shots of some fantastic bikes – like the 500cc ’55 McSquid’s Red Special Velocette featured as our report opener. I also ran into old friends and motorcycling celebrities – and developed new friendships and many more reasons to look forward to the next Gathering. If you haven’t attended yet, make sure it’s on your bucket list. You won’t be disappointed!

David Mathison, Ph.D., M. Div. is a Professor Emeritus at Loyola Marymount University. He’s also a classic motorcycle enthusiast, dog lover, and a consummate gentleman. Our conversation about his beautifully restored ’49 Vincent-HRD Rapide was interrupted often by his faithful four-legged companion White Shadow – who after a few investigatory sniffs of my camera decided I should be lavished with kisses and a sentinel post by my feet!

It was early Saturday morning, as storm clouds began covering the few remaining patches of blue sky, when I spotted eccentric bike builder and assemblage artist Keith Young riding his impossibly long and low Rat Bike onto the show field. His brassy Steampunk creation sports an air suspension and is powered by a Honda 550 Four. Keith returned to The Quail where last year his audacious machine took the Arlen Ness Memorial Award.

 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING.In 1969 Honda brought 4 pre-production CB750s to America. That same year 7,414 “Sandcast” CB750s were produced. In 1970 Honda built 650,000 “Diecast” CB750s. But it was 1968 when this bike, the very first CB750 Prototype was shipped to America for three reasons: to excite the U.S. and world market, to conduct a two-day test in the no-speed-limit Nevada desert, and to allow just one motorcycle magazine, Cycle World, to do an in-depth road test feature. And in 2024, Vic World of World Motorcycles completed his authentic to every component and detail restoration of this historic bike… and it took Best of Show at The Quail!

The beating heart within this fabulous metal craft masterpiece is a ’73 Norton 750 with a custom monocoque chassis. This polished metal head-turner is the ’73 Vintage Seeley Racing Chassis Custom and it took The Spirit of The Quail Award at The Gathering. It was fabricated by Evan Wilcox Metal Crafts and is owned by director, bike lover and TV personality Barry Weiss. Some of you may remember Barry from his flamboyant appearances on the hit TV series, Storage Wars.

After studying the details of this low and stretched ’47 Harley Davidson Knucklehead Chopper I believe I have uncovered the design influence for the controversial Tesla Cybertruck’s pyramid profile design. Check out the gas tank! I photographed this Chopper Class Award winner on Friday, before the rains came and while the yellow polishing clothes were still stuffed into the velocity stacks. This wicked chopper is owned by Richard Best.

Jason Mamoa is one of Hollywood’s go-to blockbuster actors. Better-known for his long hair and ripped Superhero body, he is less-known to the general public as an avid motorcycle rider and collector. His patina-rich ‘29 Brough Superior SS680 looks like it may have been used as a submerged prop in Jason’s movie, Aquaman. It was prepared and displayed at The Quail by acclaimed bike builder Max Hazan of Hazan Motoworks who also brought two more of Jason’s ‘Hazan’ bikes to the 14th Gathering. Jason’s ‘38 Hazan Motorworks JAP 1000 (JTOS) took 2nd Place in the Custom/Modified Class.

As the rain continued to saturate the grass at The Quail Golf Club, I continued to explore the display tents. That’s where I met restoration artist Greg Saule from San Diego who was displaying his beautiful ‘26 Moto Guzzi C2V racer. He described how he had intentionally left the crankcase and petrol tank empty for this show, having just finished his restoration. He apparently didn’t account for the combustive power of WD40 and when the judges asked him to crank the motor it fired-up, albeit just for a few seconds. Seems this surprise was enough to fire-up the judges, who awarded the Moto Guzzi the Antique 2nd Place Award.

2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERINGThere’s no doubt that The Quail Motorcycle Gathering is a big deal to bike enthusiasts, but the structure of its stature comes in all sizes. Take Josh Rogers’ ‘46 Vespa V98 for instance. This leaning scooter is The First Vespa! It is powered by a 98cc engine that delivers a whopping 3.2 horsepower at 4,500 rpm. It was produced for two years and yes, it did not have a kick or center stand. On the outer edges and underside of the floor pan a half-oval shaped bumper provided the separation of the scooter from the road. Apparently, the accepted parking technique of the time was to simply lean the scooter against a curb. Josh’s fabulous motor scooter won the Vespa – Decades of Scooter Fun! Award.

Malanca was an Italian moped and small motorcycle manufacturer that was founded in 1956 by Mario Malanca, who started his company building motorcycle parts. This sleek 1971 model is the Competizione that featured a small 50cc motor and the rear-positioned foot pegs that would later be found on the more successful Testa Rossa models. Malanca made its racing debut in 1968 winning six championships in the 50cc and 60cc classes. Mario’s son Marco took over the company in 1978, changed the company name to Malanca Motors SpA and focused production on the 125cc models. The company later struggled in the larger-engined bike market and eventually closed down in 1986.

Since we’re on the topic of small bikes, how about a really small, really cool Indian? I met big Robert Johnson early Saturday morning when a good portion of the show field was still empty. He had just finished placing his very small and very cool ‘69 Indian Mini Bambino in the center of a wide swath of manicured grass. Robert went on to tell me how his very first bike was exactly the same as this 49cc kid’s bike. When he found this one, he just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make it his.

For me, much of the joy I get from covering motorsports events like The Quail is the time I get to interact with the owners, drivers, mechanics, fabricators and custodians of these marvelous machines. Case in point is good-natured Tom Dressler, who trailered his beautiful ‘92 bimota DB2 all the way from Virginia. This effort was as much an homage to the bike’s previous owner, a close friend of Tom’s, as it is the DB2 itself. This iconic bike sports serial number 00100, a carbureted, 900cc, 4-stroke, 2-valves-per-cylinder 86 horsepower engine, and a full fairing.

Inevitably, transformation happens. If you love Triumph motorcycle engines but you’re seeking a change in your bike’s appearance and performance, you might set your sights and dreams to Tamarit Motorcycles in Spain. Boasting the best team of engine and bike ‘transformers’ on the planet, Tamarit promises to make what you’ve always dreamed of a reality. At the 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING, I grabbed this close-up of their ‘05 Tamarit Thruxton’s motor. Might this be the ultimate in motorcycle Eye Candy?

One of the sponsor displays at the 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING this year was Indian Motorcycle. I captured this shot of six shiny Indians lined-up alongside Indian’s merchandise and information tent. Perhaps like me, you’re drawn to the ‘Wall of Death’ Indian Scout. I’d absolutely love to ride this bike – along a scenic canyon road or coastal Highway 1. That ‘Wall of Death’ ride will have to wait!

If there’s a photo in this report that could convey the spirit of this year’s Gathering, it’s this candid shot of three happy participants checking in and getting ready to ride their vintage Bultaco TSS Racers on to the show field. I shot this fairly early on Saturday. The rain was still in the clouds and the enthusiasm was just revving up.

Not to be outdone by the guys, artist, bike fabricator and reluctant motorcycle model Lily Key didn’t just ride her art bike out of a trailer, but left Los Angeles in the wee hours and rode her two-wheeled draconic beast over 350 miles in the damp and dark cold to be a part of the 2024 QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING in Carmel. I encourage you to discover how much a true biker Lily is by checking out https://www.lkmotoart.com/

Lily Key video @ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzoPVEoF9gNpDDqeGQePYzw

And I encourage everyone to get out to the shows and on the road as often as you can. Thanks for riding along with us on this special CarGuyChronicles report!

Words & Photos ©Jim Palamhttps://www.jimpalam.com/

For more information about The Quail Motorcycle Gathering and The Peninsula Signature Events, please visit https://www.peninsula.com/en/signature-events


Vintage Japanese vehicles shine at the 35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSIC, held in the Danish capital of America!


35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSIC You could say that the 35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSIC organizers and participants have a cozy relationship with their host city, Solvang, CA. Allocated just one street in the heart of The Danish Capital of America, 75 vintage Datsun roadsters, sedans, coupes, trucks and Zs performed an early morning ballet of parking precision as they snugged-into their assigned spaces on First Street, right next to Solvang Park.

This popular two-day event attracts participants and fans from all over the world. The itinerary included a “Meet & Greet” dinner on April 28th at Mendenhall’s Museum of Gasoline Pumps and Petroliana in Buellton, the outdoor “Show & Shine” on Saturday the 29th in Solvang, and a post-show banquet held at the Solvang Veteran’s Hall. Part of the proceeds from the event are donated to the American Diabetes Association.

As in year’s past, the lion’s share of the entries in the show are not surprisingly Datsun Sports convertibles, which are now better known as Datsun Roadsters – like the three I photographed very early on Saturday morning for our report’s lead image. First released in the 1960s, the Japanese domestic market roadster was badged Fairlady and featured 1500 and then later, 1600cc motors. It was also exported to Australia. In 1967, before the 1968 emissions and design changes, Datsun unveiled one of today’s most sought-after collector models, the 2000 Roadster. In 1952 Datsun had produced a predecessor to the Fairlady, the 20 horsepower DC-3. Only 50 were ever built.

35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSICBeginning in 1969, Datsun unveiled its game-changer 240 Z Series. This 2-door, 2-seat, rear-drive, high-performance “economy” car sold over 160,000 units in the United States in just four years of production. I’m excited about presenting two 240’s here in the show report.

As you scroll down, you’ll discover engineer Rick Johnson standing by his gray ’73 240Z.35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSICThis car may look like a docile Datsun but one look under its hood reveals part of its street and drag strip, built-for-speed secret – a 350-inch, 410 horsepower Chevy small-block.Please enjoy this 35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSIC Gallery. Some of my favorites are the right-hand-drive ‘59 Datsun 1000 sedan sporting fat whitewalls that went on to win the “Pre-’63” category, Larry Knorr’s black ’67 ½ Datsun 2000, Steve Pharr’s time-capsule, custom ’73 Datsun 620 pickup with a ’73 Yamaha 175 Enduro in its bed, and Solvang UPS Store owner Christian Tokchia’s very rare, right-hand-drive ’71 Datsun 1600 SSS “Bluebird” Coupe. That’s Christian in the Datsun hat and sunglasses, standing next to his “I’m leaving everything as is…” pale-yellow Bluebird.




Words & Photos ©Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalam.com/

For more information about the 35TH ANNUAL SOLVANG DATSUN ROADSTER CLASSIC, please visit https://solvangroadstershow.wordpress.com/


Jim Palam moseys over to the Red River Ranch in Los Olivos, CA, and rustles up some tasty images from the CARS & COWBOYS’ BENEFIT FOR MEALS ON WHEELS.

CARS & COWBOYS’ BENEFIT FOR MEALS ON WHEELS.There are over 31,000 residents in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley, which includes the communities of Solvang, Buellton, Ballard, Santa Ynez and Los Olivos. It is also home to the Santa Ynez Chumash Indians’ reservation and casino.

If you’re out and about in the Valley you will inevitably encounter winemakers, farmers, equestrians, gamblers, and dusty-booted cowboys. In the 11 years that I’ve lived in the Valley, I’ve had the privilege of meeting a small but active community of local carguys who have tucked in behind their businesses, homes, and ranches, an exceptional collection of sports, classic, exotic, historic, rare and racy cars. So, I suppose it was just a matter of time before someone would connect the dots and bring together Cars & Cowboys for a major attraction that would benefit members of the community who need a helping hand.

Now you don’t throw a shindig like the Cars & Cowboys Extravaganza 2022 in The Valley without having fun as one of the goals. In addition to the show cars on display at Red River Ranch in Los Olivos, there was also numerous appetizer and tasting stations set up – along with two live bands, silent and live auctions, craft and clothing vendors, a bountiful, sit-down al fresco dinner and stagecoach rides – plus trick roping and horsemanship exhibitions. But the main goal of the event was to raise funds for the SYV Meals on Wheels program that serves seniors and veterans in the Santa Ynez Valley.

The CARS & COWBOYS’ BENEFIT FOR MEALS ON WHEELS Extravaganza drew in over 350 attendees. It wouldn’t have happened without the tireless efforts of a lot of amazing volunteers, sponsors, donors, community members, and businesses. Special thanks have to go to Al & Denise Frink who opened up their beautiful Red River Ranch for the event, C&C committee co-chairs Pam Gnekow and Kathi Heringer, Pete Thomsen who wrangled the show cars, and the support of the SYV Community Outreach Program that helps subsidize the cost for the Meals on Wheels operations.

Car Guy Chronicles is honored to bring attention to this special event. Word is already out that there will be another C&C shindig next year, so stay tuned. If you weren’t able to attend, here are some tasty event images rustled up by our contributor Jim Palam for you guys to enjoy. The original Elvis shirt was one of the unique auction items on display.




Words & Photos © Jim Palam, https://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

For more information about the organization and CARS & COWBOYS’ BENEFIT FOR MEALS ON WHEELS, please visit https://carsandcowboys.com/

To learn more about the SYV Meals On Wheels program, check out https://syvcommunityoutreach.org/meals-on-wheels


We asked CGC West Coast contributor Jim Palam to scoot up to the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, CA and bring back a special two-wheel report for the 12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING, the return of two-wheel splendor to the grass of Carmel Valley. Mission accomplished!


It was Friday-the-13th when I drove past Valhalla Drive in Solvang. I was on my way North to cover the 12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING in Carmel, after the show was put on-hold for a two-year hiatus thanks to Covid. For a moment I couldn’t escape the irony that according to folklore, Valhalla was where the 13 Norse gods were having a death-arrow dinner party and the superstition of Friday-the-13th originated.

This harbinger of bad luck quickly faded when I reached Carmel Valley Road, turned into the bucolic setting of the Quail Lodge and headed onto the manicured show area where they were beginning to set up for Saturday’s much anticipated event. I thought how good my fortunes actually were as I watched some of the best bikes in motorcycling history being carefully rolled off their trailers and moved onto the beautiful show field. This was going to be special.

By noon on Saturday some 3,200 motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world had gathered to enjoy The Quail’s events – which included the display of 250 iconic motorcycles from the last 100 years, appearances by icons of motorcycling history and design, vendor tents, a silent auction – and tasty offerings of unique foods and beverages. Judged motorcycle classes included British, Italian, Other European, Japanese, Competition On-Road, Competition Off-Road, Antique, Custom/Modified and Choppers.

Special thanks as always to Gordon McCall, Director of Motorsports for The Peninsula Signature Events, the hard-working event crews, presenter GEICO Motorcycle – and of course all the owners, builders and restoration experts who put endless hours and resources into making The Quail Motorcycle Gathering one of the best, two-wheel show events in the world. I’m already looking forward to 2023!

Mat Hazan ‘s stiletto-shape, custom ‘51 Vincent Rapide took not only the “Best of Show” honors, but also the “Design & Style” award. Now many would argue that the Rapide – or any Vincent for that matter – is already a fully-realized and strikingly-beautiful motorcycle, and that altering it in any way is sacrilegious. But Mat’s fabrication skills and customization visions are quite possibly heaven-sent and arguably beyond reproach.

This spectacular ‘15 Henderson “Long Tank” may look like a stretch of the imagination, but it was actually shortened six inches during its restoration. In its unmolested configuration this Henderson would have had a 65-inch (axle-to-axle) wheelbase. I was lucky to grab photos of this Machine Age classic on set-up day, because it didn’t take long for the Henderson to fade from view thanks to an ever-present wall of admires on show day. The Long Tank was on the judges short list, as it earned 2nd Place honors in the Antique class.

12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERINGThe ‘06 Ducati Fuse from Revival Cycles of Austin Texas and designer Ed Boyd burned its way into the hearts of the judges, winning AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Heritage Award. The Fuse started as a Ducati Monster with an 1,100cc motor. There are few parts, if any, that weren’t custom made by the artisans at Revival. I regret not dragging a ladder along to grab a bird’s eye view of this tapered red rocket. It’s from above that its unique shape truly astounds.

There was intense competition in the Japanese Class as there was an impressive turnout from the Honda collectors and enthusiasts – in addition to a strong showing of Suzukis, Kawasakis and Yamahas. Perhaps it was because my very first motorcycle was a ’73 inline-four CB500 that this ’82 Honda CBX Super Sport from Scott Steel’s collection got my heart pumping and my camera clicking. With six cylinders, six carburetors, 24 valves, two overhead camshafts, 100 horsepower and two upswept-3-stacks of chromed exhausts blasting chasers from behind, the CBX in its 1982 configuration was an unfortunately short-lived and pricey Sport-Touring experiment. It sold for $5,600 before taxes and fees.

Now this is BIG! Originally presented in 1961 as an attraction at Honda’s Tama Tech amusement park in Hino, Japan, this tiny bike quickly garnered praise and press – so in 1963 Honda began mass production of a street-legal Honda CZ100 Mark I Minibike. It was outfitted with a 49cc motor, a 3-speed semi-automatic transmission, 5 inch wheels, a white and chrome tank and bright red frame. The CZ100 was only available in European and Asian countries. Thanks to Joe Carrillo for bringing this rare icon to The Quail.

It’s been over ten years now since ARCH Motorcycle Company co-founders Keanu Reeves and Gard Hollinger took their shared dream of building a sleek and powerful bespoke motorcycle of unbeatable quality from idle chatter to high-revving, head-snappin’ actuality. I had the pleasure of spending a little time with Gard– pictured here on the right – and his company’s Client & Communication Manager Jordan Mastagni as they indulged my set-up day questions and showed me two of the company’s latest offerings. My ARCH pick for The Quail show was the bike in front of them – the ARCH 1s high-performance Sport Cruiser. The fit and finish of each ARCH motorcycle is carefully tailored to its owner.

Speaking of partnerships, in the world of motorcycle collecting and show circuit competition it is more often than not, a partnership of a discerning and motivated collector with a master level restoration shop or craftsman. Leather-clad collector Eric Meithke is pictured here with Tony Digati, his – and I’m quoting Eric – “Michelangelo of Motorcycle Restoration.” Before them is just one of their many projects, a spectacular ‘68 Suzuki Cobra 500. It features a duplex cradle frame, has a 492-cc two-stroke twin, does the quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds and has a top speed of 105 miles per hour!

12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERINGEach time I’ve seen Clay Baker at The Quail Motorsports Gathering he’s brought with him impeccable, show-winning Honda motorcycles – like this very special ‘67 450D Super Sport. There are only 35 known 450 “D” bikes in the 450D registry. This one was made even more rare by the orange paint “D-Kit” conversion. The 53-part kit was a dealer option to help sell off their 4-speed black bombers by converting them to 450 Scramblers with components like a revised gas tank and side covers, braced handlebars, shorter seat, Scrambler exhausts and bright colors.

Aesthetics has always played an important role in the marketing and sales of motorcycles. When Honda executives took notice of the bizarre colors and styles of the psychedelic era, they figured they could boost their American and European market sales by offering special paint kits to their dealers. Swirling paint for Honda tanks and side covers were offered as kits under the name Flying Dragon. This close-up of Steve Adler’s pristine ’73 Honda CL350 K5 Flying Dragon shows the gold and purple color scheme, one of three different combos available.

There’s always a point when I’m covering motorsports shows that I either want to jump in or on the machine I’m photographing to see what she can do. That was my first inclination when I spotted this limited-edition Diavel 1260 Lamborghini Ducati. One of only 630 units produced in 2021, this Diavel represents a fusion of Italian design and performance excellence. It’s chiseled, fighter jet lines are inspired by the Lamborghini Sian FKP 37. The Diavel’s thoroughbred sports engine produces 157 horsepower and 95 pound-feet of torque. It has a dry weight of 485 pounds and a 2021 price tag of $31,995.

Crocker Motorcycles were manufactured in Los Angeles from 1936 through 1942, at which point the plant was reconfigured to support the war effort and motorcycle production ceased. During that short period of time less than 100 Crockers were produced. Back in those days a Crocker had a top speed of 140 mph. This rare ‘39 “Small Tank” Crocker is from Mike Madden’s collection. Its 61 cubic inch motor produced about 50% more horsepower than the Harleys and Indians of the era. In fact, they were faster than almost every production automobile on the road in the 1930s!

This is one of the reasons I love hanging out with car and motorcycle enthusiasts: they are passionate about their vehicles, they are skilled, and they are often lovers of art. When Ron Wilcox replaced the ‘85 Yamaha RZV500R engine in his project bike he didn’t just hide it away in a dark storage area, he built a sturdy tripod for it so it could be displayed in all its “Heart of the Beast” artistic glory. Thanks for hefting this art to The Quail, Ron!

12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERINGIt pleases me to no end that there is still a Chopper class at The Quail Motorcycle Gathering. I’m from the Easy Rider era and most bikes I saw on the streets and highways back then were home-garage-fabricated Harley Bobbers and Choppers. If there was one bike on the field at The Quail that could transport me back to the Harley Heydays it would be Big Danny Marquis’ drop-dead gorgeous ’37 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead. Every inch of this bike is perfection.

That it took 1st Place in the British Bike class is really no surprise, because Phil Lane’s ‘72 Dunstall Norton 810 MK 2 is an icon. In 1972 it was hailed as the fastest standard motorcycle ever produced and that’s the year Phil bought this bike. Dunstall Nortons were designed and built by Paul Dunstall, a specialist tuner with a knack for building fast, race-winning motorcycles. Dunstall also built BSAs and Triumphs, and would later move on to Japanese marques before leaving the motorcycle world for a career in property development.

Gard Hollinger of ARCH Motorcycles checks out some of the tantalizing detail in Brian Fuller’s ‘51 Fuller-Vincent Black Flash. This bike received the Art Center Award at The Quail in the Custom class. As some of you know, Brian Fuller has been appearing on television for years now on car shows where his assured demeanor matches his skills in automobile and motorcycle building and fabrication. He currently appears on MotorTrend TV’s show Car Fix with co-host Jeremy Bumpas. To see more of Brian’s fabrication magic, visit his website at https://fullermoto.com/

Allan Christie’s sublime ‘14 Yale 37 took 1st Place in the Antique class at the 12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING. This award was presented by Bonhams. Yale motorcycles were manufactured by the Consolidated Manufacturing Company of Toledo, OH. They had acquired the rights to the California motorcycle which was the first internal combustion vehicle to cross the American continent in 1903. The Yale 37 sported a V2, four-stroke 1000-cc motor capable of propelling this Sport bike to a top speed of 71.5 mph.

I wanted to end my coverage of the 12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING where it all began – with this simple image of this simply wonderful Bultaco that was the first photo I took on the set-up day. The crowds and celebrities had yet to arrive and the show field was almost bare, but most certainly beckoning. There was nobody polishing or prepping this bike, nobody guarding it. It was all I would have needed to make an escape – from the daily routines and our complicated world. It’s estimated that there are over 200 million motorcycles, mopeds and scooters on our planet right now. Perhaps I’m not the only one looking to escape!

Words & Photos © Jim Palamhttps://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

For more information about The Quail Motorcycle Gathering and other Peninsula Signature Events, please visit https://www.peninsula.com/en/signature-events/events/motorcycle


Who doesn’t love a special deal? Perhaps it’s CGC’s Jim Palam’s years in advertising that was behind his idea to give our readers two-reports-in-one, combining two of the Central Coast’s popular car shows – The Solvang Fall Classic & The Montecito Motor Classic – into one feature. It’s a great idea, so here’s CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKEND.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKENDCovid changed the 2020 Car Show scene significantly – pretty much eliminating many if not all of the popular gatherings not only in America, but around the world. It was a year to ponder our priorities and for many a time to get back in the garage and finish projects that were in the works or on-hold. What was a bummer in 2020 turned out to be something of a bonanza in 2021 with many of these unseen or improved projects making their way to re-launched car shows, races and auctions.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKEND started early on Saturday morning in the heart of Solvang, CA with The 2021 Solvang Fall Classic Car Show. By 9 AM there were over 200 pre-1990 classics, hot rods, sports cars, customs and motorcycles. The show was free to spectators and thousands of car enthusiasts, tourists and locals strolled through the show-car-lined streets of “The Danish Capital of America.” Proceeds from the show benefitted local charities including The Rona Barrett Foundation, The Vikings Kids Christmas and The Veggie Rescue Program. In years past this show was held during the summer and promoted as The Wheels & Windmills Car Show. As hoped for, there were many cars there I hadn’t seen before and the cooler October weather was perfect. My vote is to keep holding the show in the Fall.

I started the second day of my “Wheeling Weekend” zipping down Highway 101 along the Pacific Coast in my 914 to the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club for The 2021 Montecito Motor Classic. This was the second year the MMC was held at the Polo Club’s panoramic Carpinteria foothill’s location. This was also the 9th year that the Presenting Sponsor for the MMC was the Armand Hammer Foundation which meant that dedicated Car Guy Michael Armand Hammer would be involved, and that we’d see an exciting mix of exotics, hot rods, customs, classics, concept cars and even famous TV cars – like the first “car” I encountered – the George Barris built Munsters Koach, left. This hopped-up hearse was featured on the iconic 1960’s TV series, The Munsters.

One row over from the Munster Koach I spotted the Backdraft Racing Indigo Blue 427 Cobra, top, that had been wheeling down the 101 next to me on the way to the show. The affable owner is an aerospace executive whose passenger was a large Teddy Bear. Once on the show field he donned a Propeller Beanie Cap and shared his infectious effervescence with showgoers enjoying the perfect weather and exceptional cars on the expansive Polo Field.

There were also a number of side attractions at the MMC including the Avenue of Chalets vendor area and a tribute to show honoree and automotive designer, Mark Stehrenberger. Now I must apologize that I kept my camera focused mostly on the 200-plus cars on the show field and I missed the Fashion Hat Competition sponsored by Silverhorn Jewelers!

A trophy winner at The Solvang Fall Classic Car Show and a standout at any show it’s entered in was Keith & Lynne Raphael’s jaw-dropping ’61 MGA Roadster. This ‘lil beast sports a supercharged Chevy 350 tucked neatly into the radically-modified, all-steel MGA body that sits snugly on an altered ’78 Corvette chassis. This red racer is no Trailer Queen and gets driven often for joy-rides and to shows by Keith and Lynne.

This man is not only on the step-up to his “La Bestioni No. 8 ~ Beast of Turin” but on a mission to wow and entertain as many people as he, and his oversize creations, can. Some of you may recognize Gary Wales from his many appearances on Jay Leno’s Garage. Gary’s “Beasts” (he has built 8 so far) are tributes to the original Beast of Turin, a 1911 Fiat S76 that was powered by a massive 28-liter inline-4 engine. To create his “Beasts” he starts with pre-1930s American La France fire trucks and from there let’s his creativity flow. Many of the mechanical chores – such as rebuilding the 14-liter Simplex motor – are handled by his ace mechanic, Andres Aranda. It was one of the most popular exhibits of CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKEND.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKENDIn conspicuous contrast to Gary’s “Beast” is Don Nichos’ ‘56 Messerschmitt KR200 Kabineroller (Cabin Scooter) which buzzed into the Solvang show with a BMW Isetta in hot pursuit. This head-turning 3-wheel microcar was designed by Fritz Fend for German aircraft manufacturer Messerschmitt. While spotting one of these on the road is about as rare as spotting Warren Buffet at the 7-11, they actually manufactured approximately 40,000 of them between 1955 and 1964. Capable of reaching a top speed of 56 mph, the 507-pound KR200 is powered by a 191 cc Fichtel & Sachs 2-stroke engine. If you close your eyes as one passes by you might think you’re hearing a classic Vespa scooter!

It was the very first car I spotted at The Solvang Fall Classic Car Show and I knew immediately that it was special. While over 21 million Volkswagen Beetles were manufactured between 1938 and 2003, this little, unpretentious Pastel Green Bug was one of the last split-window Zwitter Beetles manufactured in 1952. And here it sat, like an obedient and patient Dachshund, perhaps waiting for its owner to come out of one of the Danish pastries shops on Copenhagen Drive. This iconic, concours condition ’52 VW is proudly owned by Randy Maskell of Burbank who purchased it over 35 years ago. Everything works in this all-original survivor including the dash clock that you wind-up by reaching into the right-side glove compartment, and the delicate, flip-out style semaphore turn signals. Open the front trunk and you’ll find all the original tools.

What a difference a day makes! In striking contrast to Saturday’s Solvang show’s humble ’52 Zwitter Bug was this brutish Baja Bug on display at Sunday’s Montecito Motor Classic. Sitting mean and nasty on meaty BFGoodrich Baja T/As, this desert destroyer is powered by a high-revving, deep-breathing 700 horsepower LS7 Chevy. Configuration and Fabrication of the car’s complex suspension and chassis was handled by Bradley Nipper. The Bug’s concept was by Stephan Sutton and the assembly by EWR Racing. Oh, by the way, the car is air-conditioned!

Hi-yo, Silver! OK, I know this ’59 Corvette is painted Roman Red, but that’s Dawn Moore holding a photo of her father, Clayton Moore. If you’re a Boomer like me you probably watched Clayton on TV in his role as The Lone Ranger. He bought this Vette new in 1959 and it’s been in the Moore family ever since. Dawn is the latest family caretaker; she brought this classic up from Beverly Hills to proudly show it at The Montecito Motor Classic.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKENDThere are some bad ideas that are fabulous – like John Lynch’s awesome ’51 Kaiser Henry J Gasser! So, the story goes that when John told his buddies that he was going to stuff a blown 392-inch Chrysler Hemi into his diminutive Henry J, they all agreed – that was a really bad idea. When John completed the build – which included details like the Ford 9-inch rear, ladder-bar suspension and Turbo 400 transmission, his friends were speechless. This glowing example of a classic 1960s period Gasser is finished in John’s home-brewed “Evil Orange” paint, with its name Bad Idea boldly displayed on both doors!

Speaking of big motors in small cars – Jeff Jones of RatRod Jeff Fabrications brought customer Roger Regen’s wild & wicked ’29 Model A Tudor Ratrod to the manicured Polo field to tear up not divots, but perceptions of what a show-worthy automotive head-turner could be. Jeff’s intricate tube chassis connects all the rod’s components, serving as a sturdy base for the massive 540-inch, 850 horsepower Mooneyham-blown Hemi, Turbo 350 trans, and also a roll cage in the smashed, 32-inch to the roofline Tudor body. This attention getter drew in many admirers including this lovely lady from Ojai and her taller-than-the-car Great Dane. That’s Jeff enjoying the canine and lovely chapeaued company.

I met British motorcycle and car restoration expert Phil Honer years ago while I still owned my ’74 Triumph TR6. I never knew he owned this stunning Jaguar E-Type Coupe and was excited to see him and his meticulously-restored Opalescent Blue ’67 XKE on Copenhagen Drive for The 2021 Solvang Fall Classic Car Show. I grabbed this photo early on Saturday morning as the first arrivals were positioning their show cars in their assigned display areas. A native of Birmingham, England, Phil boosted his E-Type’s performance with high-lift cams, an aluminum flywheel, improved brakes and an improved cooling system.

Green: The color of money and envy! If you’re planning on putting a plug-in e-hybrid 918 Porsche Spyder in your garage, get ready for a considerable investment of time and money as they are near impossible to find. Touted as one of Porsche’s most advanced models when introduced in 2013, this hybrid features a 608 horsepower 4.6-Liter gas powered engine, paired with a 129 horsepower front electric motor and a 156 horsepower rear electric motor, fueled by a 6.8-kWh lithium-ion battery. Doing the power-curve math reveals a jaw-dropping 0 to 60 sprint in 2.5 seconds! Priced around $845,000 for a base model in 2013 you can expect asking prices from $1.3 million and way-way up today.

There’s nothing like a classic Tri-Five Chevy to bring us back down to earth and to Solvang, after our lofty visit with the 918 Spyder. GM produced over 1.5 million Chevys in 1957 and the odds of finding one at your local car show are very high. I was surprised to learn that even with these impressive sales numbers it was in 1957 that Ford outsold Chevy for the first time since 1935. Chevrolet recovered quickly and Ford spent the 1960s unsuccessfully trying to make a comeback!

Introduced back in 1946, Dodge’s Power Wagon was essentially a civilian version of the Dodge WC Series 4×4 military truck. Many were put to hard work as utility vehicles on farms and work sites and if serious mechanical problems were encountered far too many were left to slowly rust right where they quit running. Over the last 10 years Power Wagon aficionados have resurrected and restored the ones they could find and specialized restoration facilities, like Legacy Classic Trucks, have created growing businesses building Power Wagon conversions that feature high-performance drivetrains and custom interiors. This big orange wagon on the Polo Field was a favorite of the many kids who attended the show with their families.

Another early arrival in Solvang was this 5th generation Plum Crazy ’73 Dodge Dart 340 Sport. Its Chrysler small-block V-8 produced approximately 240 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. With a curb weight of just over 3,200 pounds these cars offered above-average performance. Plum Crazy paint wasn’t actually offered in 1973, but this Dart looked ready to command the intersection outside the Solvang Shoe Store!

Although both the 2021 Solvang Fall Classic and the Montecito Motor Classic’s advertised motorcycles in the mix of show vehicles over my Wheeling Weekend adventure, I only saw two motorcycles on the Polo Field and less than a dozen on the grass at Solvang Park. Even though there was a nicely restored Brough Superior at the MMC, the bike that caught my eye and camera lens was Ron Curtis’ quintessential 1960’s chopper, a beautifully scalloped ’64 BSA. It of course had radically extended forks, “ape hanger” handlebars and a tall “sissy-bar” seat. What it didn’t have was a hardtail frame, the builder opting to retain its original coil spring set.

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKENDOne of the fun things about these local shows is you will often discover interesting vehicles parked within the vicinity of the show. One such giddy discovery was this authentic Japanese firetruck. To navigate the narrow and twisting streets in Japan smaller vehicles are often chosen as utility and emergency vehicles – such as Bear Erickson and Adriana Ortiz’s red-and-ready Nissan Safari firetruck. I happen to know Bear and Adriana and they have always walked to the beat of their own drummer. Instead of an engagement ring Adriana asked if Bear would get her the firetruck – for no other reason than it would put a smile on her face!

Words & Photos © Jim Palamhttps://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

For more information, please visit the CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKEND show websites: https://wheelsnwindmills.com/ https://montecitomotorclassic.com/