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200 Pictures of the Wonderful, Wacky, and Weird from the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals

HOT ROD logo HOT ROD 6/7/2018 Hot Rod Network Staff

In 1981 Rich and Penny Pichette started a little car club in Southern California hoping for 30 members at the max. The club began with a once a month cruise at their restaurant called the Jet Drive-In, but after gaining more than a few members they decided to host their first major show, calling it the Cruisin' Nationals. With the idea of hosting the event in a location halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Rich reached out to small towns that fit the bill and only heard back from one, Paso Robles. After hammering out the details the date was set for September 18-19, 1982, and about 80 cars ended up attending the two-day event. Gene Winfield and other hot rodding icons of the day were in attendance which was a huge deal for Rich, and apparently a young Chip Foose even attended the show despite his father telling him not to drive his car out of town. Over the years the show continued to grow and eventually found its home in Santa Maria. This year marks the 37th annual Cruisin' Nationals. Many of the same guys are still bringing their cars out, but now hundreds more show up, making this one of the best shows in California each year.

119-west-coast-kustoms-pre-war-hot-rods.jpg© Hot Rod Network Staff 119-west-coast-kustoms-pre-war-hot-rods.jpg

The variety of pre-1961 cars that were brought out to the Fairpark in Santa Maria California for the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals this year. There were over-the-top kustoms, beautiful lead sleds, meticulously-painted low riders, race-ready gassers, tastefully-modded hot rods, some interesting creations that don't really fit into any particular category. Sure, shows dedicated to one type of vehicle are cool, but there is something to be said about the mish-mash of vehicles one finds at a show like this.

So take a look through this massive gallery and see for yourself why this show is so special! There's a little bit of something for everyone.

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