12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING

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!

12TH ANNUAL QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING

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

VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS

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!

VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS

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 – http://fireballtim.com/ – 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, https://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

For more information about VW BEETLES, BUSSES, VARIANTS & THINGS and the Ventura Vintage Volkswagens, please visit https://www.facebook.com/VVVolkswagens/

WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN’ NATIONALS

Classics and customs flaunt fins and flames at Santa Maria Fairpark for 40th annual WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN’ NATIONALS, one of the premier California carguy shows.

WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN' NATIONALSDespite a 2021 Covid-19 rescheduling of its popular Cruisin’ Nationals from May to October – and then a pending storm moving in on the Santa Maria Fairpark location – the resilient folks at West Coast Kustoms still managed to rev-up West Coast car enthusiasts and host their 40th Annual show with a flamboyant flash of fins, flames and customizing finesse. Car Guy Chronicle’s photojournalist Jim Palam caught the action.

The WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN’ NATIONALS is a three-day event that kicked-off on Friday night, October 22nd with a Show Car Cruise along Broadway in Santa Maria. Despite a sprinkle of rain and more of the parade taking place in the early darkness of Fall, some 300 cars participated and wowed the fans and families who lined the sidewalks along the route.

WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN' NATIONALS

While the number of car entries fell short from the 800 range from previous years, approximately 600 classics and customs filled the Fairpark’s outdoor and indoor display areas. In addition to the head-turning cars, there were vendors, a model car show, a Pin-Striping Party hosted by PPG, an automotive parts swap meet and live music by the Belmont Kings both Saturday and Sunday.

WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN' NATIONALS

A portion of the proceeds from the event support Alzheimer’s research and the Wounded Warrior Project. West Coast Kustom’s Penny Pichette let us know that the 2022 show will kick into gear as it traditionally has, over the Memorial Day Weekend. Mark your calendars!

WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN' NATIONALS

As I crisscrossed my way through the showgrounds, I met a number of Car Culture celebrities including legendary 94-year-old customizer and fabricator Gene Winfield, still manipulating metal and spraying paint in his Mojave Rod & Custom shop, and American Graffiti movie star, Candy Clark who graciously posed for a photo. As some movie-buffs will remember, Candy was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress award for her performance in this iconic 1973 American classic.

I apologize to Car Guy Chronicles fans for presenting this 2021 report in 2022, but as they say “Life Happens”– and as my mom use to say – you have to “Go with the flow.” So “streaming” here and now are some of the cars that grabbed my attention at the Fairpark – like Voodoo Larry’s audacious ’54 Kaiser Manhattan Voodoo Sahara. 

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

For more information about the sponsors of the WEST COAST KUSTOMS CRUISIN’ NATIONALS, please visit https://www.westcoastkustoms.com/

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival

There are times when even a serious car guy needs a little nudge to get up early and head out in the dark to cover a motorsports event. So, we’re happy to report that our Jim Palam saw the light, set his alarm and got the story for us! Here’s his coverage of the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival, where legendary cars, drivers and fans soaked up the sun and racing fuel at Laguna Seca!

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival

Velocity is a vector quantity that refers to “the rate at which an object changes its position.” Turns out, that’s a good thing because it was “Velocity” that made me change my mind at the last minute and agree to go cover Saturday events at the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. Even though I was looking forward to doing nothing that weekend, there I was at 5:30 AM riding shotgun in my neighbor John Adams’ ’16 Shelby GT350 Mustang heading north, in the dark, in the fog.

John races vintage sports cars in VARA events, so the road trip conversation was rapid, illuminating, and pretty much all about fast cars. Before I knew it, we were already in the paddock and talking to John’s friend Bob Kullas who was racing his Chevron B-16 later in the day. Bob’s Chevron, right, last of the 23-built, weighs about 1,300 pounds and gets 260 horsepower from its Cosworth 2 L YBM motor.

It was now 9:00 AM, the weather couldn’t have been any nicer and the entirety of the raceway was beginning to fire-up. Attendance was strong but not as packed as the bigger Laguna Seca events, so there was easier access to festival offerings like wine tastings, supercar demonstration rides and panel discussions – but Bob & I were here for the cars – the fast cars. Since I was on-assignment and headed trackside, we went off on our own adventures for the day. We would re-connect later in the day with big grins on our faces and new stories to tell.

Kudos to the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival event organizer Jeff O’Neill and his hard-working team for making this three-day motorsport festival a world-class event that would please both drivers and spectators. There were 9 race groups, a Ragtime Racers special exhibition group and a special night race pitting 20 spunky Minis up against six mighty Mustangs. If they launch this festival again in 2022 be sure to vector your velocity and set the direction to Laguna Seca.

One of Saturday’s highlights for me was spending some time with the Porsche 917 when the Canepa Team fired it up in the Porsche exhibition area. I then made it over to the Cooper Tire bridge and positioned myself trackside for this shot of Car # 2, lead photo, top, as it accelerated hard coming out of turn No. 4. So, does its powerful Flat-12 motor sing? Just think Metallica meets Pavarotti: it’s loud and delicious ear candy!

One of many spectacular cars I discovered at this awesome event was the Czinger 21C, arguably one of the most technologically-advanced Hypercars produced. Designed and built in Los Angeles by human and AI systems, its flat-plane crank V8 and e-motors deliver a peak output of 1,250 horsepower. To learn more, go to https://www.czinger.com

“At this time there is nothing in the world any quicker, any better handling, any more advanced technically, or any more fun to drive. It is, to me, the perfect race car,” said Mark Donohue, discussing the integrated perfection of the Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder in 1973. The car was so powerful and dominant that it forced officials to change the rules for the Can-Am Series back in the 1970s. Here’s the blue and yellow legend charging through Turn 4 during one of the many Velocity exhibition races.

One of the big draws to the Velocity Invitational was the promise of special exhibitions from famous race teams, like McLaren Racing and its Formula 1 racecars. I made the mistake of stopping by their tidy and well-appointed garage to grab this shot of the ear-splitting McLaren MP4/13. This is the car that Mika Häkkinen, The Flying Finn, piloted to win the Australian Grand Prix in 1998. My mistake was not wearing ear plugs!

Another legendary McLaren on display and on the track at the was the Lewis Hamilton driven, slope-nosed McLaren MP4-27. I caught it roaring out of Turn 3 on Saturday morning. MP4-27 was also driven by Jenson Button and made its racing debut at the 2012 Australian Grand Prix.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalI had just positioned myself behind the Start/Finish line K-rail at Laguna Seca when I caught a flash of red coming up behind me on pit row. It’s not often you see a Concours quality Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta on the race course – particularly one without a racing number. If you crash your 250 GT, you’ll be looking at $9M and up to replace it – if you’re lucky enough to find one. Part of the beauty of the Invitational was the inclusion of historically significant race cars and priceless collector cars like this perfect 250 GT.

Not to be outdone by McLaren, Porsche also made a big splash with a large and impressive presentation of some of its iconic racecars – including the L&M ‘72 Porsche 917/10-003, driven by George Follmer to win the 1972 Can-Am championship. In this twin-turbo 12 cylinder Can-Am screamer, George won at Road Atlanta, Mid-Ohio and Laguna Seca. One of the goals of this car was to promote Porsche Audi dealerships in North America.

This beautiful ’57 Porsche 356A raced Southern California & Arizona SCCA E/Production in the late-1960s and through the 1980s. It also competed in the Benson Arizona Hill Climb and numerous rallies. The car was restored for vintage racing by Mike McNally in 2003 and later sold to Paul Frame in 2008 who continues to crank the car’s 1,620-cc, 4-cylinder motor to high revs in Western States vintage racing events.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIf you just looked at the curved nose, or should we say “beak” of this iconic Indy car you might be able to guess that it’s a vintage Eagle. Indy fans would recognize that this is Dan Gurney’s famous 1966 Indianapolis Eagle. This was his first Eagle (chassis #20), originally fitted with a 255-inch Ford V8 and was an AAR (All American Racers) entry at the 1966 Indy 500.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about 190 mph Superbikes on America’s greatest racing courses? If you’re thinking tall and thin Supermodels holding big umbrellas you’d be partially right! MotoAmerica brought their leggy showmanship plus eight of their top riders to the Velocity Invitational to put on exhibitions of racing skills and paddock area panache. Its racers blasted the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca course on powerful Superbikes and high-performance V-Twin Baggers.

Four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes is on the outside on P1 as he leads MotoAmerica teammates Bobby Fong on P2 and David Anthony on P3 in a knee-scraping charge coming out of Turn 10 during Saturday’s exhibition race.

This extremely rare ‘51 Lancia B20-GT Competition ‘low-roof’ racecar was driven by Felice Bonetto in the 1951 and 1952 La Carrera Panamericana, which had the unfortunate distinction as the most dangerous and deadly race in the world. I’m guessing the hub caps would have been removed from Car No. 91 for racing, but they added just the right touch of sparkle as it motored politely through the paddock area Saturday morning.

This McLaren Senna GTR in custom Gulf livery was just one of the audacious cars one could discover at Velocity. Its Neon Orange wheels are reminiscent of the McLaren Special Operations team’s Super Series 675LT livery. Early Velocity Invitational marketing efforts hinted at lots of flamboyance from event partner McLaren – including their historic McLaren F1 race cars and a chance for some lucky fans to strap in and experience the ‘98 MP4/98T two-seat Formula 1 demonstration car for a thrilling ride around the circuit.

The Shelby Daytona Coupe was the brainchild of designer Peter Brock and only six were ever built. It’s not only their rarity but their place in American racing history that makes the chance of owning one slim to none – unless you’re the son of Walmart founder, Sam Walton. This is Rob Walton’s ‘65 Shelby Daytona Coupe, the same $15-million racecar he crashed in 2012. Deep pockets and a love of racing has kept this Weber-carbed, 289-powered icon on the track and in the public eye for years.

I captured this resting shot of a genuine, factory-built 914/6 GT early Saturday morning before the paddock area began to buzz with activity. One of only 16 customer cars for 1970, this racing legend was sold new to French-Canadian automotive journalist and racing driver, Jacques Duval. It was first raced at the 24 Hours of Daytona by Duval and co-drivers Bob Bailey and George Nicholas. In 2020 this racing “Teener” sold for $1M at the Gooding Auction and it’s still being raced.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIt has seating for three, electrochromatic glass that darkens at the touch of a button, a carbon fiber monocoque chassis, a 4.0-liter V8 Twin-Turbo with electric motor, and a claimed top-speed of 250.4 mph. It’s the drop-dead gorgeous McLaren Speedtail that was introduced in 2018 in a very limited edition of just over 100 cars. Ironically, it is not street legal in the United States due in part to its lack of side mirrors and no side-mounted airbags. And yet, 35% of the Speedtails built were sold to U.S. customers!

The “Ragtime Racers” are an exhibition group for pre-1920 race cars. They travel to various events across the U.S. and Canada. While they may not have been the fastest cars at the Velocity Invitational, they certainly were among the most popular. Fans in the paddock area applauded as the well-rehearsed, white-coverall-clad pit crews climbed in and around, over and under their behemoth speed machines prior-to and after races.

Velocity: Invitational Motorsports FestivalIt was approximately 1:30 PM on Saturday and I was tucked behind the K-Rails near Turn 4 waiting for the Porsche 914 Exhibition Laps when I heard what sounded like a whining lawn mower heading my way. That’s when I spotted them, go-kart size single-seaters that had been hand-made to look like 1920s and 1930s racecars. I was up-close and trackside for the Cyclekart Grand Prix! I couldn’t stop smiling as I grabbed some action shots and realized that while Velocity is the rate at which an object changes its position, that motion can sometimes be relaxed – and a whole bunch of fun!

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

For more information about the Velocity: Invitational Motorsports Festival, please visit https://velocityinvitational.com/

CALIFORNIA DREAMIN’: CENTRAL COAST WHEELING WEEKEND

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/

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