It’s the Little Things
By Brian Brennan – Photography By the Author
You “play around” with cars long enough and you develop personal favorites. You have your favorite hot rod, favorite weekend drive, favorite place to go eat, favorite place to hang out, favorite club activity, favorite buddy’s garage, favorite event, and, my favorite favorite “extra.” One of my all-time favorite events is the L.A. Roadsters Father’s Day Show & Swap Meet, having attended it since the mid ’70s.
There is a little something you receive and it’s my favorite “extra.” It is a pewter mug that the L.A. Roadsters (begun in 1957 by longtime and well-known hot rodder Dick Scritchfield) hand out to each rodder who brings his roadster–and sticks around until leaving time to pick it up.
While I’ve been to a staggering number of these events, I haven’t always had a roadster at my disposal to drive to the event and take home a pewter mug. But I have a bunch of times. All the early L.A. Roadsters shows were at the Hollywood Bowl parking lot until 1969 when the event was moved over to the Great Western Exhibit Center where my “up-close and personal” relationship with the show and pewter mugs began.
It would also turn out that 1967 would be a watershed year as it was the first year that the show was officially named the “L.A. Roadster Exhibition and Swap Meet” and it was the first time it was held on Father’s Day. The later to become a SoCal tradition. Now the show is held on two days, Friday and Saturday, leaving Father’s Day set aside for rodders to keep for their family use.
I mentioned earlier that my favorite “favorite” is the pewter mug that the club hands out to roadster drivers who attend the show and stick around to pick them up just before the show’s closing. The pewter mugs were first handed out in 1960 and 1961 and then not until 1967. From 1968 until 1979 the Father’s Day show was held at the Great Western and the mugs were handed out each year. It was here I picked up my first mug. Next up came the Pomona Fairplex from 1980 until this year and the mugs have been handed out each year. The show in 1980 was a single-day event and it should also be noted that the event became a two-day event beginning in 1981. (I was the club secretary then and it was our then treasurer Chuck Dunmead who recommended that we go to a two-day event. He told us that the fairground management were charging us for a weekend anyway so why not use it?) Next up in 1998 the roadster profile was first engraved on the mug. Also, but not exactly sure, it was within the last two years that the year of the event wasn’t engraved on the mug. (Would like to see that tradition brought back.)
One more milestone was reached while at the Pomona Fairplex and that occurred in 2000 when 800-plus roadsters attended, a record. It should be noted that the Preferred Parking area has also grown to a sizable gathering of all manner of hot rods that aren’t roadsters. Come this summer 2023 will be the 57th show and the 41st time the event has been held at the Pomona Fairplex.
It may not seem like much but taking home that pewter mug each year really is something special. I suppose I will always own a roadster just because I will always want my chance to “get” one more mug. MR
(For more info on this summer’s L.A. Roadsters Show & Swap Meet on Father’s Day weekend you can visit laroadsters.com or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.)