2018 Sacra­mento Autorama

The 68th Sacra­mento Autorama

Street Rodder - - Contents -

Cap­i­tal C is for Cus­tom

W hileit’s kind of hard to dis­pute that hot rod­ding was born and raised on the streets and dried up lakebeds of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, the same can’t re­ally be said for cus­toms. How­ever, when it comes to Sacra­mento laying claim that it’s the Cus­tom Cap­i­tal, I can’t and won’t ar­gue that. With a lin­eage dat­ing back to one of the ear­li­est rec­og­nized cus­tomiz­ers, Harry Wester­gard—who helped light the lead torch flame of Dick Ber­tolucci and Ge­orge Bar­ris—that still con­tin­ues to this day with Paul Gar­land (Gar­land’s Sacra­mento) and Scott Mug­ford (Blue Col­lar Cus­toms), among oth­ers, they’re not say­ing it just be­cause it’s the state’s cap­i­tal as well. And for the last six decades, the venue in which this has been show­cased— and now highly hon­ored—is the one and only Sacra­mento Autorama, where cus­tom car own­ers and builders go for the gold … or ster­ling sil­ver, which­ever the gor­geous awards are made out of.

Re­gard­less of the com­pe­ti­tion it was up against at the 68th An­nual Sacra­mento Autorama, the '41 Buick Sedanette—Dillinger—crafted by Mar­cos Gar­cia and his crew at Lucky 7 Cus­toms for Clif­ford Mat­tis was, in my eyes, the clear win­ner from the get go … and the judges seemed to agree, bestowing it not only the 2018 H.A. Bag­dasar­ian Memo­rial World’s Most Beau­ti­ful Cus­tom award, but the cher­ished Cus­tom D’El­e­gance award. Now, I may be a bit bi­ased, what hav­ing per­son­ally known Gar­cia for the bet­ter part of the past 25 years, but I also know a drop-dead gor­geous cus­tom when I see it—and Dillinger is it, hands down. From ev­ery as­pect, Lucky 7 nailed it: from the ex­te­rior makeover (chopped with a sec­tioned deck, frenched '41 Chevy head­lights, nar­rowed 1941 Cad bumpers, flush­fit skirts, and Gar­cia’s sig­na­ture stun­ning paint­work,

in this case a tri-stage pearl olive) to the in­te­rior (leather and print fab­ric up­hol­stery by Gabe’s with a mix of pe­riod touches, such as a re­duced-di­am­e­ter '46 Buick steer­ing wheel, '51 Merc speaker grille in­te­grated into the pack­age tray) and es­pe­cially the stance (modern IFS with air-as­sist and one-off 16-inch Buick-in­spired wheels carved by EVOD and wrapped in Fire­stone bias-ply rub­ber). In other words, they served up a full-course cus­tom which, in turn, quite de­servedly earned it top hon­ors this week­end in Sacra­mento.

Be­yond the top hon­ors, what re­ally made this year’s show rich with cus­tom her­itage was a not-solit­tle dis­play de­voted to the one or­ga­ni­za­tion and its mem­bers solely re­spon­si­ble for keep­ing cus­toms and cruis­ing alive and well in all of Cal­i­for­nia since 1992: Rich and Penny Pichette’s West Coast

Kus­toms. WCK’s Cruisin’ Na­tion­als, a name which at one time was syn­ony­mous with Paso Robles, Cal­i­for­nia, is un­ques­tion­ably the na­tion’s largest gath­er­ing of cus­tom cars from its peak years in Paso clear to this day, where it’s now held just south in Santa Maria.

This year’s Autorama hon­or­ably paid trib­ute to Penny et al who’ve made the or­ga­ni­za­tion what it is to­day with the West Coast Kus­toms Gath­er­ing—a 30-car dis­play fea­tur­ing WCK mem­bers’ cars from up and down the coast on the floor of Cal Expo Build­ing C. Thank you, Penny, for con­tin­u­ing to do what you do for the past 35-plus years—and thank you John Buck/ Rod Shows for ac­knowl­edg­ing those tire­less ef­forts ac­cord­ingly. (In 2014, Penny was in­ducted into the GNRS Hall of Fame; Rich was in­ducted back in 1995.)

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