57th Annual L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap

Can’t Be Around for This Long and not Undergo Some Changes

By Brian Brennan   –   Photography By the Author

The L.A. Roadsters Show, Roadster Show, Father’s Day, Los Angeles Roadsters Show & Swap, by whatever name you have come to call it, there is no denying this local show has national appeal. Hot rod owners from around the country and from oversees come each year to get a “feel” for SoCal rodding. This year’s 57th Annual L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap felt like it enjoyed a bit of a resurgence over the past five or so years.

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Just a sampling of the L.A. Roadsters club members parking area. With nearly 30 active members, Honorary Members (which includes the likes of Ed Iskenderian and his iconic Model T roadster), and Honorary Lifetime Members there were plenty of club-types on the grounds to aid anyone who needed it. 

After the 50th show (2007) there was a noticeable drop-off in show attendance, with the hiccups in the economy and the pandemic creating a downward spiral. But it seems as though there was a marked improvement this year as we could see 300-plus roadsters, over 700 specialty parking hot rods, and over 1,000 swap spaces reminding us of what the show could be. There was also the manufactures midway. The weather was a classic, thoroughly enjoyable SoCal mild summer day.

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Keith Reineke from Orange, CA, was present with his ’32 Ford highboy roadster featuring a Stanley Wanlass–designed and handmade by Dick Rodwell (Rodware) 2-inch chop, 37-degree rake, and curved glass windshield. It looks fast sitting still.

Formed in 1957, with the Father’s Day tradition beginning in 1960, the storied history began. This year saw the 57th presentation of the show and swap meet and the 41st year held at the venerable Pomona Fairplex in Pomona, California. What started as a single-day show has turned into a two-day affair, Friday and Saturday are the official show days with Sunday, Father’s Day, set aside for being with family.

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Roy and Tami Brizio of the Bay Area Roadsters were on hand with their “hot rod” red full-fendered ’32 Ford roadster. The Deuce has just the right look—what do you expect from Brizio?

Noticed we said the “… Friday and Saturday are the official show days …” as in the past the swappers could be seen setting up on Thursday night with plenty of parts swapping hands overnight and in the wee hours of the morning. Just like the old days! Another page taken from the “old days” are the open house celebrations that go on the day before, now on Thursday. In the morning we stopped by Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory in Upland, some 6 miles from the Fairplex. Another open house we visited later that day was at the newly opened facilities for SO-CAL Speed Shop now located in San Dimas about 4 miles from the Fairplex.

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Another Bay Area Roadsters member and AMBR-winning ’29 Ford highboy owned by Dennis Varni was on hand. Yes, Varni drives the roadster down from the Bay Area nearly (unless he drives one of his other hot rods) every year to be a part of the L.A. Roadsters Show.

As expected, Thursday night until early Friday morning saw lots of swap action going on while everyone was waiting in line. Once the doors opened on Friday the swap area was clearly “ground zero” and that’s where everyone wanted to be to check out what could be had for their next project. Clearly not everyone is ready to head out to the Fairplex on Friday for the show as the car count was down, but the swap spaces were at a max. Come Saturday the “sea” of roadsters appeared along with a large “wave” of Specialized Parking that included all makes, models, and years of closed hot rods. Once again it is obvious that ’60s on trucks are a hot commodity with plenty on site to be viewed. While Friday was cool it turned out that Saturday the weather was a perfect example of what a summer day can be.

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Down from Camarillo, CA, is this mild-mannered ’34 Ford phaeton belonging to David Bethards.

While the L.A. Roadsters have enjoyed great success with the show over the years it should be noted that they have taken the time and effort to share this good fortune with a handful of charities. Back in 1968 the Roadsters were chartered as a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation and now for four-plus decades they have given back. (Job well done.) Should you find yourself at the 2024 show, be on the lookout for those white pants and red shirts; some things never change, as one of the roadsters members is there to help. MR

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A class-winning, Grand National Roadster Show–winning ’29 Ford track nose roadster built by Moal Coachbuilders and belonging to Jeff Bates of Newport Beach (my neighbor) is on hand every year.
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In from Prescott, AZ, is this ’31 Ford roadster pickup belonging to Jeff Sheridan. It’s not often we see rpus with stock-length beds–a nice change.
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Al Von der Welt drove down from Fresno with his ’32 Ford roadster. Any hot rod that is powered by a blown Chrysler Hemi has just the right powerplant.
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This good-looking, full-fendered Model A roadster comes by way of Albuquerque, NM, and is owned by Jim Johnson. Gotta love the five-spoke Americans–it really says “hot rod.”
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Jamie Johnson also of Albuquerque brought out this ’28 Ford modified sans bed but equipped with a quick-change.
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In the swap meet area there are lots of parts, but also some great starting points, such as this ’39 Ford Standard with a ’59 AB Flathead and three-speed tranny at an asking price of $26,500.
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Want something a bit later model? How about this ’57 Ford Ranchero that’s a driver and was offered at $7,500.
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Parts … how about carb and intake systems, lots of vintage equipment, such as this Pontiac tri power (intake, carbs, and linkage … throw in an ignition coil) for an asking price of $850? Next door to the Pontiac tri power is a Chevy dual-four setup for $450. Note the Weiand cross-ram in the background topped with dual Holleys.
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Need an intake? Typical price for four-barrel setup was $70. Mickey Thompson, Edelbrock, Offenhauser, and factory intakes abound.
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You like Tri-Fives? How about this ’55 Chevy complete with rollbar and massive rear rubber. It has just the right look.
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More in the Specialty Parking is this ’33 Ford five-window coupe; simply amazing.
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More Specialty Parking action is this Ford closed-cab highboy pickup. We like the ode to Tommy The Greek with the three “chicken scratches” on the rearmost portion of the bed.
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These late-’30s Ford coupe and sedan are but two great examples of what one could see in the Specialty Parking.
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Along the manufacturers’ way you could find the likes of Brookville Roadster. They delivered multiple coupes, Model A roadsters, and Deuce roadster bodies for future hot rod projects.
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If your early hot rod tastes run more along the lines of a Model T Touring, how about this one mounted onto a Model A chassis with Stromberg 97–equipped Flathead, dropped Model A axle with Posies Super Slide spring, cast-iron drums, and 16- and 17-inch wires. The asking price was $15,500.
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Brian “The Mailman” Bauer, of Monrovia, CA, was on hand with his ’29 Ford highboy roadster. He was the late-Jim Ewing of Super Bell fame’s mailman, hence the nickname. Bauer would always stop by, and we would talk hot rod stuff.

Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory: Since the day the father-and-son team of Terry and David Stoker opted to open a hot rod business, they have hosted an open house—that was back in 2012. The shop and the open house are now staples in the SoCal rodding scene.

Both are and have been on the hot rod scene for decades, with David even working on the advertising staff of Street Rodder for years. Since the beginning they have built a continuing stream of great-looking traditional hot rods and have also competed for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster at the Grand National Roadster Show. Let’s not pigeonhole the shop, while they build great-looking early cars you will see some great-looking, potent street machines. Come by and watch their chassis dyno in action and you will see the Camaros, Novas, Chevelles, and Pontiacs, and even an early Cadillac.

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Should you find yourself on the West Coast for either the Grand National Roadster Show or the L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap, mark down in your calendar that the Thursday before each show there is an open house at Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory.

Get there early because they do serve coffee and doughnuts so you know where I will be!

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The Thursday before the Grand National Roadster Show and the L.A. Roadsters Father’s Day Show & Swap you can take part in the open house hosted by Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory.
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David (left) and Terry Stoker (right) started the open house tradition back in 2012, with this year marking the 12th year.
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David’s personal ride is this maroon ’37 Ford powered by a Flattie backed up to a five-speed, making for an ideal street cruiser.
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After driving this ’64 Chrysler for 20 years Terry and David decided it was time to stop in on a Friday and make an offer. Well, that weekend the two of them got it running and now they have a “shop” car.
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The Deuce highboy roadster features a 3-inch chop, runs a Flathead with a pair of brand-new Stromberg 97s, and was sold right after the show to an Arizona hot rodder who just had to have it.
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Stoker’s Hot Rod Factory does have a chassis dyno and as such there must be a record board somewhere. Here you can see that an LS-powered ’09 Pontiac G8 holds the record at 678.38 hp to the rear wheels.

SO-CAL Speed Shop: The history behind the SO-CAL Speed Shop is as storied as our industry has. The beginnings go back to 1946 and Alex Xydias. What he built and accomplished is amazing, to say the least, but then came the hiatus. In the early ’70s Pete Chapouris and Jim “Jake” Jacobs got Pete & Jake’s up and running and they enjoyed tremendous success before selling the company. A short time later Pete started a company called PC3g. It wouldn’t be long before he and Xydias would join forces for the modern-day regeneration of the old So-Cal Speed Shop brand into today’s SO-CAL Speed Shop.  (Note the spelling of “So-Cal” from the early days to the modern treatment of “SO-CAL.” After spending hours talking with Pete, as we would drive from one spot to another, I’ve always thought that was both Xydias’ and Pete’s way of making a subtle distinction with no difference, so to speak.)

The “torch” has now been passed onto Peter Chapouris, general manager of the business, who is carrying on with the new shop that was put together in a mere 2 ½ weeks before the show. The open house was filled with hot rodders spanning several generations. There were also plenty of hot rodders checking out the sales counter, making sure to get the latest in proper hot rod clothing. (That would be a double or triple X T-shirt with a big logo.)

SO-CAL Speed Shop still carries a significant line of hot rod parts to literally start from the ground and work your way up to a running hot rod. Should you find yourself in the area stop by—you will like the hot rod vibe.

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The new home for SO-CAL Speed Shop in San Dimas opened its doors literally the week the L.A. Roadsters Show began. It has a great walk-in area for hard parts and clothing and then the back shop.
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There is a lot of history in this photo … Carol Chapouris, the wife to Pete Chapouris who was instrumental in the revitalization of the hot rod industry in the ’70s. She is standing with Peter Chapouris, Carol’s and Pete’s son, who is now charged with carrying on the legacy that is SO-CAL Speed Shop—and he is making it happen!
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Speaking of history, here are two famous SO-CAL cars: foreground is “Limefire” and “Sirod.” (A great story for another day about the name “Sirod” and where it came from and what it means.)
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The open house complete with roll-up catering truck for food as well as lots of room for the house full crowd to visit and swap stories for hours.
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More history but did you know SO-CAL Speed Shop is also offering short- or long-term storage for your hot rod. Cars are kept in a secure building, on a battery tender, tire pressure checks, started on a predetermined schedule—and more.
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No shortage of Deuce hot rods at SO-CAL Speed Shop with these three examples: starting in back is the primered ’32 Tudor sedan, ’32 Ford three-window coupe, and the ’32 Ford roadster. What do they all have in common (other than a Deuce)? Apparently, fenders were optional, and no one wanted them!
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