50-Year car club tradition brings hot rods, classics, customs and cruisers to scenic Nojoqui Falls County Park in California for the NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022. Our man Jim Palam captures the fun for Car Guy Chronicles’ viewers.


 Nojoqui Falls was originally named for a Chumash village named Naxuwi, which means meadow. It is a Santa Barbara County Park located on Alisal Road, 2.6 miles southwest from Solvang, CA. An old legend has it that a Chumash Indian chief held an all-night prayer vigil asking the gods to help bring water to end a long period of drought. In the early morning, a beautiful woman appeared and led the chief to a fern-covered glen. The woman arose into the air, and as she disappeared, her flowing white dress turned into a beautiful waterfall. Nojoqui Falls was born, and the drought was broken.

A new legend – started by me for this report – is that the 190 Car Guys who brought their shiny hot rods, classics, customs and cruisers to the dusty, gopher-gobbled park meadow for the NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022 also prayed for rain to come after the show – to rinse their rides clean before parking them in their man caves. And lo, don’t you know it, it rained for two days after the show! OK, the only part of this new legend that’s true is the two days of much needed rain that did materialize here in California.

November 5th’s family-friendly NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022 marks the 50th year for this totally free to the public car show. It is sponsored by the Central Coast Street Rods Club of Lompoc, CA. Proceeds from donations and T-shirt sales go to local high school automotive programs. Participants receive free dash plaques and food tickets, and are eligible to win prizes and awards.

The weather for Sunday’s show started off overcast and chilly but quickly turned to ‘Autumn in California’ perfection. Most of the participants brought their cars from cities and towns in the Central Coast – like Paso Robles and Arroyo Grande up North and Camarillo and Ventura down South. There was of course a strong contingent of local cars from the Santa Ynez Valley, and a few Central Coast car clubs made the scene. Joe Gonzales of the Draggers brought his absolutely beautiful ’40 Chevy Special Deluxe coupe. That’s the coupe’s front end and grille in the inset shot above, right.

When editing my photos to pick the lead image I kept coming back to this ’69 Plymouth Road Runner, top. Over and over, I thought, “Hey… it’s a Road Runner… and this is a Fun Run.” Now that’s kismet kool! So, thanks to Pat for bringing his Road Runner – and thanks to all the club members, volunteers, participants and attendees for bringing your Car Guy love and magic back to Nojoqui Falls for the 50th time – for the always fabulous Fun Run!

Chevrolet built 25,537 Special DeLuxe 2-doors in 1940, but it took the creativity and skills of Joe Gonzales of the Dragger’s Car Club to turn one into this rolling showcase. Joe’s DeLuxe gets it power from a 216-cubic-inch straight-six Stovebolt, and he added disc brakes up front for modern stopping power. According to Joe, the Draggers are a 99.9% traditional car club with a mission to keep the old-school whitewalls and hubcaps look of the 1950s in the public eye. Show goers couldn’t keep their eyes off this stunning coupe, so mission-accomplished Joe!

The first time I photographed Bill Maropulos’ tasty ’23 Ford T roadster was back in 2019 at the Ventura Rods & Roses show. It wasn’t the beautiful deep Molten Red Pearl paint or the four-inch dropped front axle that initially drew me to it – it was the pro-built 604 horsepower LS2 engine. Crowned with three Holley 500-cfm carbs on a custom-machined Hogan’s Racing intake manifold, the engine also features ported heads and titanium valves under billet valve covers.

NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022First generation Ford Broncos were produced from 1966 through 1977 to compete with the Jeep CJ-5 and the International Harvester Scout. The original MSRP for a ’74 was around $4,394. Fast-forward to 2022 and if you’re looking to get in the saddle of a 4×4 Bronco like this brawny example, expect to pony-up the average retail price of between $55,000 and $140,000. Yee-haw!

My buddy Hank Carralejo of Santa Ynez has been actively participating in the street rod scene in the Central Coast since the 1960s. He has a penchant for Pro Street jaw-droppers with fat tires, wicked flames and whirring superchargers. In this shot we are nose-to-nose with his impressive ’41 Willys. It gets its brutish power from a blown Chevy 468 hooked to a Turbo 400 transmission. It gets its love from Hank and an endless parade of admirers!

I had to wait until I was 18 to get my license to drive in New York City where I grew up. The car I would drive was my parents Plain Jane ’62 Chevy Biscayne. I was thrilled to drive, but honestly the Biscayne was no Chick Magnet. Now, had I been lucky enough to drive a head-turner like Michael & Yvon Frazier’s rare, silver blue ’62 Belair Bubbletop, I’m sure Raquel Welch would have been snuggled-up close to me as we cruised the mean streets of Astoria, Queens!

This beautiful Jade Green ’68 350 Camaro started its life as a 6-cylinder, 3-On-The-Tree grocery getter. After an inspired year of restoration and modification by Lynn and Keith Raphael, the Camaro is now getting admiring looks and kudos from the enthusiast community. It’s not unusual to find both Lynne’s Camaro and Keith’s eye-poppin’ supercharged Chevy 350 powered ’61 MGA roadster pleasing the crowds at shows up and down the California coast.

If you grew up in rural America in the 1940s -1950s, there’s a good chance you headed to your little red schoolhouse in a little yellow school bus – like this ’49 Chevrolet Model 3100, 8-passenger short bus. The interior of this restored people hauler, with an “as you found it paint job” is somewhat sparse, but that’s how it would have been during its many years of service. No entertainment screens, no Bluetooth or USB outlets. Oh, the horror!

The Studebaker Commander was the South Bend, IN company’s mainstream model. It made its debut in 1927, and with the exception of production years 1936 and 1959 to 1963, it continued until 1964. If you’re like me you have a soft spot in your heart for the Raymond Loewy Associates designed Studebakers – like this beautifully restored and upgraded Bullet Nose ’51. The ’50 Champion was Studebaker’s all-time highest production model. Studebaker unfortunately shut down production of all models in 1966.

NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022Did I mention the gopher-gobbled fields at Nojoqui? This ’71 TVR Vixen 2500 was parked no less than 6 inches from what could be described as a gopher sinkhole. Fortunately, the car’s owner Chuck Huber is an accomplished aerospace engineer and expert driver; there was no repeat of the Corvette Museum debacle! TVR Vixen 2500s were built between 1971 and 1972 and powered by Triumph 2.5L inline-sixes. Chuck’s engine is fed its fuel through triple Webers.

This is a test: Stare at this blue truck for 10 seconds. Are you smiling? You should be. Studies have shown that early Ford pickup trucks finished in soft baby blue paint transmit smile inducers through the retina’s (hot) rods and (ice cream) cones to the brain. Test subjects have often been heard whispering phrases like “Oh yeah baby”, “I love this” and “I’m painting the Tesla baby blue when I get home” during observation!

From 1961 through 1963, Ford broke away from its Squarebird (Thunderbird) designs by releasing the restyled Bullet Birds. In addition to the fabulous jet engine tail lights, the new ’61, 2-door Coupes offered 390-inch V8s with 330, 375 and 401 horsepower options. These beautiful Thunderbirds – like this pristine red example featured here – were not all that light, weighing-in with a curb weight of 3,958 pounds, and not that affordable, with sticker prices in the upper $4K to mid $5K range.

If you remember riding in a ‘53 Ford Crestline Country Squire station wagon, there’s a good chance there’s some gray in your hair and perhaps a few aches in your bones – unless of course you’re a younger vintage car enthusiast or a lucky owner like Scotty Cramolini. This model was top of the wagon line for Ford in 1953. This was also the year where midway through Ford stopped using real wood for the signature trim and began using wood-grained fiberglass trim – and the last year for the venerable flathead V8.

One of the emotions that’s ever-present in the enthusiast community is love. We don’t just like cars, we love-love-love cars. And it was ‘love’ that brought the owners of this backyard-restored GTO together. When Lorin and Louisa Cuthbert first started dating it was in Lorin’s GTO, the same car they eventually honeymooned in. Decades later Louisa found a project Goat and, thanks to some free time during the Covid sheltering-in phase, this backyard restoration now propels them to car events all over California. You gotta love it!

NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022OK, just hold on to your saddle horns; yes, I am featuring another Bronco. When you live and play on the terrain of California’s Central Coast, you develop a relationship with trucks and off-road vehicles. There were at least two-more tricked-out Broncos at the NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022. Some of these reimagined Broncos can cost well over $200,000, but that hasn’t slowed the Bronco market down a bit. Perhaps you’ve got a dusty Bronco in an old barn somewhere?

There were only two motorcycles at the NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022. I found three more and Paul MacLaren out in a parking lot. Paul is affable, sturdy and 83 years young. He built his Corvair powered Harley trike, which he rode 70 miles in 40-degree, overcast weather to get to the show. Meeting ageless motorheads like Paul is one of the big draws for me to attend car shows and motorsports events. No matter our age or backgrounds, we all share a love for style and engineering – and the freedom our cherished rides give us to cruise, race, and escape the mundane. Vroom-vroom!

Words & Photos ©Jim Palam

For more information about the Central Coast Street Rods Club, sponsor of the NOJOQUI FALLS FUN RUN 2022, please visit


Jim Palam headed to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL with a craving. Discovers he’s just one among 15,000 with a ‘Need for Speed.’


It is like your favorite piece of pie. You will make sacrifices just so you can enjoy it again and again. I had my first Velocity slice a year ago and what a treat to be back to enjoy the VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL again in 2022!

For those of you still waiting to take a bite of Velocity I’d say “Definitely go!” Remember that piece of pie? What makes it a treat is that all of the ingredients are right – and it’s been prepared and presented by people skilled and passionate about what they do. In the Velocity Pie mix are the rare and expensive automotive festival ingredients that impress: Iconic American and imported vintage and historic racecars. Modern Formula One cars. Actual pedal-to-the-metal racing. Cutting-edge prototypes of the next-gen Hypercars. The Mighty Minis! Gourmet food and beverages at the show’s Sip & Savor Pavilion. And – drum-roll please – Mario Andretti running spirited exhibition laps behind the wheel of the ‘13 McLaren MP4/28A Formula 1 car, courtesy of Zach Brown, CEO of McLaren Racing!

From its inception the VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL was designed to be a family affair. “Velocity Invitational was introduced with a vision of revitalizing the motorsports experience for all generations of enthusiasts and their families to enjoy,” said event founder Jeff O’Neill. As I explored the paddock areas I spoke with families from points near and far including California, New Jersey, Kansas and Japan. Some were spectators and others racers. All were having an excellent time!

This year’s 3-Day Velocity event attracted over 15,000 attendees from Friday, October 14 through Sunday the 16th. It was also live-streamed with over 600,000 followers across YouTube (syndicated by Goodwood Road & Racing) and other streaming platforms. I had hoped to cover at least two days of the event but thanks to some anti-car guy who did a hit and run smash on my parked pickup I had to hitch a ride up on Saturday with local race car driver John Adams. He was more than happy to be my driver and even happier that he got a personal photo with racing legend Mario Andretti in the McLaren Garage. The good news is that I had a ball and shot over 800 photos on Saturday. I’m excited about presenting some of my favorite images – including the 3D printed Czinger C21 Hypercar, above right. Enjoy!

Group 6 cars lined up on the Pre-Grid Lane included this red ’67 427 Corvette, followed by the silver GT40 and the blue Shelby FIA Cobra. The Group 6 cars include 1963 – 1969 Sports & GT cars. They were wonderfully noisy and sometimes nasty as they muscled their way around the 11-turn, 2.238-mile WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway.

Sitting right below the gray Media Center building were the Juan Gonzalez Formula One Pole Position Collection cars, most recently on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Juan, a racer and motorsports enthusiast, is the CEO of Mission Foods which is the #1 tortilla company in the U.S. Mission Foods is also a McLaren team sponsor.

I discovered this beautiful Aston Martin DP215 sitting poised and proper along the primary paddock lane when I first arrived at Laguna Seca early Saturday morning. A single example was built for GT racing in 1963. The DP215 was sold at RM Sotheby’s 2018 Monterey auction for $21,455,000 including buyer’s fee!

VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVALImpossible to ignore on the green sod of the Pre-Grid display area was the McLaren P1 HDK (High Downforce Kit) orange sizzler from Lanzante Limited and O’Gara. It follows in the same footsteps as the High Downforce Kit that was available to McLaren F1 owners who wanted to give their cars added performance and a unique aesthetic. The McLaren/Lazante P1 HDK is a privately owned, fully bespoke commission.

A ’67 Porsche 910-004 sits low and ready-to-go on the Pre-Grid. Only 980-mm high, its fender height is about the same as the knee height of the mechanic standing at-the-ready next to the driver. Only 29 910s were built from 1966 to 1967; 10 remain worldwide. Specs: 2000-cc 6-cylinder, 225 horsepower, top speed 155 mph. The 910 was only raced for about one year by the factory. Class rivals Ferrari Dino 206P and Ford GT40 proved too powerful for the 910.

We featured an exterior shot of this silver Scuderia Bear GT40 P/1029 for our Monterey Car Week 2022 race report back in August. It was great to see her back out on the track for the VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL. This time I thought you would enjoy a driver’s view of the interior – just before blasting away for the Group 6 Qualifying Race.

McLaren had a strong and active presence at Velocity. Much more than a partner and sponsor of this Luxury motorsports event, they were also fully engaged with the velocity/speed side of things – offering up track rides in their modern production cars and racecars to burn-up Laguna Seca’s asphalt. Pictured is the MP4-27 designed by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for the 2012 Formula One season punching it out on the Corkscrew.

When he zipped by me, I was impressed by this gentleman’s deft handling of his electric mobility scooter in the paddock garage area. When he parked it behind this iconic ‘61 Cooper Monaco Mk. III curiosity got the better of me, so I struck up a friendly conversation. Turns out this is Jeffrey Heller, the founding principal of Heller Manus Architects of San Francisco, and the proud owner the Cooper. This impeccably restored icon has a wonderful race history that includes ownership by Briggs Cunningham and victories in the early 1960s at Bridgehampton and Watkins Glen. It later won its class with Spencer Trenery behind the wheel.

Stunt driver, drift champion and TV host Tanner Foust was one of the celebrity racecar drivers entertaining the crowds. I grabbed this shot of him in the Gulf Racing ‘96 McLaren F1 GT-12R as it blasted away from the infamous Corkscrew. Racing enthusiast and pharmaceuticals magnate Ray Bellm along with co-driver James Weaver drove this car to four wins on their way to becoming the 1996 BPR GT champions.

This head turner was on the display grass. From a distance I thought, “Hey, it’s a Ferrari 250 SWB!” When I got up close, I realized that this red V-12 gem is a revival build from famed Ferrari restoration shop GTO Engineering. It has been meticulously hand built to the same 1962 factory specs as the original and this example was brought to Laguna Seca by the folks at the O’Gara Collective. GTO Engineering will build just 60 replicated 250 SWBs.

As impressive as it is to see and hear the modern F1 cars scream around Laguna Seca, it’s a special treat to see vintage racers like this lightweight and aerodynamic, 210 horsepower, ‘38 Talbot-Lago T-26 SS aggressively run the course on skinny tires and fervid resolve. The T-26 SS was designed for Le Mans competition but unfortunately would never see a victory at the famed 24-hour race. Brian Mullin was the driver of the Talbot-Lago in this Group 1 Qualifying Race.

VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVALIf you head to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca to catch a vintage automobile race it’s a good bet you are going to see the Ragtime Racers and their impressive collection of pre-1920 racecars from the “Heroic Age.” One of my favorite cars from the collection is the mighty 1917 Hall-Scott owned by Dick DeLuna. Built on a vintage REO steel chassis, this reconstructed racer is powered by a truly massive 9,900-cc, 4-cylinder, overhead cam WW I aircraft motor!

The Next Generation: I met these three 19-year-old guys in the Ragtime Racers open garage space in the paddock. They volunteer for the Ragtimers and are happy to get hands-on experience wrenching on these vintage machines. They are pictured with a 1911 National Racer which is restored to the same specs as it raced in the first Indy 500 back in 1911!

Throughout my day at the VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL, I asked attendees and participants if they were enjoying the event. No one I talked to had anything negative to say. Perhaps the best response I received was from the driver of a stunning Bizzarrini 5300 GT Strada that was staged for a qualifying race. When I asked him if he was having a good time, he shot his thumb up and said, “Inside the helmet I’m smiling!”

Words & Photos © Jim Palam,

“If you can’t see it, smell it and hear it, it’s not a racecar.” – Jeff O’Neill. Founder of the Velocity Invitational, on why he encourages participants to race their vintage and historic cars at VELOCITY INVITATIONAL MOTORSPORTS FESTIVAL. For more details, please visit

For the latest information on events at Laguna Seca, check out


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,

For more information about the organization and CARS & COWBOYS’ BENEFIT FOR MEALS ON WHEELS, please visit

To learn more about the SYV Meals On Wheels program, check out


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

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 Palam

For more information about The Quail Motorcycle Gathering and other Peninsula Signature Events, please visit


Ventura Vintage Volkswagens’ Beach Day showcases BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS at the Ventura (CA) Pier. Our own Jim Palam rarely passes up a great day with cool cars at the beach!


Its mission is clear and simple: Create VW Fun! Ventura Vintage Volkswagens (VVV) is a charter club of the Vintage Volkswagen Club of America. They meet wherever and whenever they can to not only show off the diverse collection of unique VWs in the member ranks, but to also go camping, help each other with their VW projects, throw a barbecue, attend a parade and, of course, go cruising in their VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS.

It was by sheer luck that I clicked on an email from Malibu car guy “Fireball Tim” and learned from his blog – – that there would be a gathering of cool VWs at the Ventura Pier on February 26th. The meet-up was not heavily promoted as it was not billed as an official “Car Show” – ostensibly to avoid the sometimes laborious and often costly logistics, permitting and insurance requirements.

(Remember VVV just wants to Create VW Fun.) So I noted the date and on the 26th headed down from Solvang to the parking lots by the pier in Ventura, CA where the event took place. It was a clear, crisp morning offering a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands from the soft sand and bike lanes at Ventura City Beach. The two parking lots beyond the parking kiosk were filling up quickly with participant VWs as I parked near the exit, grabbed my camera and went looking for the promised VW fun. I found plenty of it!

You can see from our lead report photo and now this under-the-trunk shot that there are no picnic baskets in Chris Escobar’s nice ‘n nasty ’65 VW Beetle. What you will find in this ready-to-race Bionic Bug is a fuel-injected, 2,180-cc motor fitted with a Garrett “Quick-Boost” turbocharger that delivers 350 horsepower to the rear wheels. Keeping the 2,100-pound Bug behaved on the road and on the track are custom front and rear suspension components from Sway-A-Way.

Variety is the ‘Spice of Life’ and one of the factors that makes Car Guy gatherings like the VVV Beach Day tons of fun. I mean seriously, how often are you going to encounter an 11-Window, Type 2, heavily patinated Split-Window VW bus in the clutches of a giant blue octopus?

VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGSA Family Affair: Many of the vehicles at VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS were examples of the love and enthusiasm for the brand shared by multiple generations of one family. When Christopher Ramos was growing up, he watched his airplane mechanic Dad Joel build seven show-winning Karmann Ghias. So it wasn’t a surprise when Joel gifted not only this ’70 Ghia to Chris, but also the bright orange Beetle parked next to it. Both of these lovingly-restored by Joel VWs are finished in PPG “Jet-Glow” airplane paint. The Ghia’s interior is finished in supple tan Porsche leather.

His & Hers: “She” is the proud owner of this blush-tone, Type 3 Slant-Nose VW Squareback. Known in some circles as a Variant it is to many the perfect little “Surfwagon” – with its fold-down rear seat creating a convenient nap or short-board stow area. “He” loves his wife and his two-tone Type 2 Microbus. Depending on body type, VW buses have been known as Transporters, Kombis or Microbusses, or, informally, as The Bus in the US, The Camper in the UK – and more deliciously as a Po de Forma (Loaf of Bread) in Portugal!

Some Things are better than others. Frank Walling’s all-original “Acapulco Thing” is an example of this rather rare, Type 181 limited edition. Approximately 400 “Resort Cruisers” were assembled in Puebla, Mexico in 1974 and delivered to two legendary Acapulco resorts to shuttle their jet-setting clientele from the airport to these oceanfront get-aways. They would typically have been outfitted with striped blue and white surrey tops. The original Type 181 was developed to provide NATO members with a light-duty patrol vehicle.

The Wolfsburgs Finest VW Car Club not only brought us our featured car for this report, but also these custom Beetles. On the left is Tim Beatty’s eye-poppin’ ’63 Bug. Finished in Tangerine Orange Flake, it sits low on a hydraulic “Juiced” suspension and rolls on chrome EMPI 5-Spoke wheels. On the right is Javier Simental’s skirted ’66 that gets its low stance thanks to 2″ dropped spindles. This Low-Rider is finished in a soft sand paint with clever and tasty blue accents – including a blue striped Racoon tail!

VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGSWhile you’ll no doubt find most classic VWs heading to highways, beaches, markets, campgrounds and car shows, there are a handful that head off-road to the torturous terrain of the Mexican desert. While the top section of this Type 3 slant-nose Squareback looks like a tame grocery-getter, the modified bottom section is signaling, “I’m ready for some high-riding Baja fun!” Might want to add some Baja bumpers before heading out…

In 1968 American soul singer Jerry Butler released his hit song Only The Strong Survive. Eleven years earlier, in 1957, VW was 19 years into its production cycle of the Type 1 Beetle. Fast-forward to 2022 and the sand-kissed parking lots at the Ventura Pier where I discovered Chemo Ordaz’s still strong and still sexy ’57 Beetle Cabriolet. Its 1,100-cc H4 motor produces a whopping 36 horsepower, enough oomph to propel Chemo and his family to fun destinations in Ventura County. The Foxcraft metal skirts are original to this Almond Green survivor.

VW’s Type 3 was introduced in 1961 at the Frankfort Motor Show. One of the improvements made over the Type 1 Beetle was a front suspension that now incorporated transverse round torsion bars, as opposed to the Type 1’s torsion leaves. The Type 3 was available in three styles – the Squareback, the Fastback, and as shown in this wonderful example on display at VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS, the very proper 2-door Notchback.

I discovered a number of sharp looking Karmann Ghias at Beach Day, but it was this ’71’s beautifully detailed motor swap that really impressed me. Here are the specs: A Porsche 914 2-liter was modified to 2.8 liters at Powerhaus in Torrance, CA. The lipstick red motor is outfitted with Italian 48 IDA Webers, plus a 911 fan and alternator. The 9.5:1 compression engine breathes-out through a 1 5/8-inch A1 Sidewinder exhaust system and produces 184 (SAE) horsepower and 186 (SAE) pound-feet torque.

How To Sell Insurance: Buy a vintage VW. Restore it, slam it and shine it. Then drive it all over Ventura County making appearances at car shows and community events. In other words, “Build it, and they will call.” Such is the case with Stephanie and Chad Sipe whose State Farm Insurance business has seen an uptick in business since Chad put the finishing touches and their company phone number on their impressive, impossibly low, Tornado Red ’62 Beetle.

The license plate on his beloved VW reads “N D N JOE”. Standing guard in front of this metallic slate-blue Beetle was a big Rottweiler and a little white pig; fortunately, they were made of plaster! I introduced myself to Joe and went on to have a great conversation about fun-inducing German cars, Native Americans, and the California lifestyle. His dad, a Sioux Tribe member, moved the family from South Dakota to Oxnard, CA years ago to create a more promising future for the family.

As I was getting ready to leave this enjoyable VW Beach Day, I heard an amplified rumble of horizontal cylinders. I turned around to catch a colorful caravan of Meyers Manxes rolling into the VVV event area. These were the show-boaters, the hooligans, the desert racers of the larger VW family. This particular Red Manx is a “Manxster” which has a 14.5-inch longer wheelbase than the original Manx and can seat up to four passengers. It is more stable and rigid than its smaller brother – especially at higher speeds – thanks to the carefully-angled roll cage that’s bolted to the body in six places. Bruce Meyers, who designed the original Manx kits to bolt to shortened VW Beetle chassis, passed away a little over a year ago at the age of 94. Like so many in the VW and car enthusiast communities, he was someone who knew how to have fun. Carpe diem!

Many thanks to Heather and Reed Cowan for their tireless efforts in getting the Ventura Vintage Volkswagens events rockin’ & rollin’ – and to Chemo Ordaz and his fellow club members at Wolfsburgs Finest VW Club for giving me all the time I wanted to get the scoop on their wicked rides.

Words & Photos © Jim Palam,

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