Labor Day on the Coast – 2008 Primer Nationals

Written by: Erock805 (Erick’s Garage) –Primer National Show Pictures also by Erock

2008 Primer National Show picsNot sure if there’s a better way of spending a Labor Day weekend then in Ventura, California at the Primer Nationals. Why is that you say? Well first of all, Ventura breathes blue collar. Nestled between the grime, glitz and plastic of LA and the pure money and luxury of the uber-rich Santa Barbara lies a little beach town ripe with local color. Ventura has resisted the flow of dough from its northern and southern brethren. Urban sprawl has yet to conquer its pockets of agriculture, manufacturing, and overall laid back attitude. It remains the sleepy beach town, where both free time and surfing are worked into one’s daily schedule. Sure you can find a restrauntuer who supplies the finest wine and a $30 dollar steak or fufu lorange, but I will stick to a great burger, an amazing shake and unrefurbished bowling alley. Old Town Ventura is still a real old down town that has yet to be bombarded with food and clothing chains. Stroll around to a few of the antique shops and you will find everything from an Oscar Meyer Wiener peddle car to a real live working Commodore 64. Not to mention the wife will have a ball spending your money at some of the many clothing boutiques.

2008 Primer National Show picsWhile Ventura is kool…the real reason to roll down on one of our few hollowed weekends is the Primer Nationals. The wife and I have been traveling to this event consecutively for three years now and I must say we have yet to be disappointed. The event itself has been around since 2003. The car show spans over both Saturday and Sunday so you can cruise home or heal up on Monday if you want to. Be warned….this event is different than your local weekend cruise and shine. It is far different than the high dollar celebrity Goodguy’s events. The Primer Nationals caters to cars and trucks pre 1965. Further, it maintains its blue jean, status by laying forth the following rules:

• 1965 & Earlier AMERICAN CARS / TRUCKS Only
• No Billet ANYTHING
• No digital dashes
• This is an old school hot rod show NO STREET RODS, FOREIGN CARS OR ART CARS allowed.
• All cars must be driven in.
• All Cars and Bikes that pre-register MUST send a photo with each entry regardless of past attendance.
• No trailored cars allowed. There is no room for RV or Trailer Parking at the Fairgrounds, please make other arrangements before coming.
• 1969 and Earlier AMERICAN and BRITISH motorcycles only. ABSOLUTELY NO EVO HEADS will be admitted
While the rules look strict…the show is laid back in typical Ventura flair. Your wheels don’t have to be perfect. Bring what you’ve got as long as it’s cool and fits in. Although I didn’t count, I heard there were as many as 1,200 cars. Every year it seems to get bigger. As you can see there is everything from home built customs to period perfect coupes. Saturday has the largest turnout of cars, but Sunday has its merits.

2008 Primer National Show picsBring some dough to the Primer Nationals. Unique gifts and art that you can’t pick up in your local strip mall is plentiful from an assortment of wild vendors. This year I picked up a tiki mug, two vintage shirts, and signed and numbered prints from Weesner and Max Grundy (you can also look at Max’s car art garage). Live bands playing the best of surf rock, punk and rockabilly help the beer go down and jump start the creative juices. Something about the light, ocean air, sun, cars and environment gets you jonezin to get back in the garage and build your dreams.

Even as the show winds down on Saturday, you know the fun doesn’t stop there. The wife and I felt the best way to finish our blue collar day was to grab a quick burger and shake at the Habit then head on over past the show grounds to the Seaside Park dirt track ( and catch the roundy-rounds. On Saturday night of the Primer Nationals, Ventura Raceway hosts modifieds, midgets and dwarfs on a little dirt track on Seaside Beach. Bring your jacket; the nights cool down even though the racing gets heated.

If you only desire true luxury, frilly sheets, and polished billet wheels, this may not be the event for you…yet, if love all that is old and traditional with a side of funk, and you feel that Miller High Life is truly the champagne of beers, you owe it to yourself to take in the sun, sea mist and amazing cars on Labor Day weekend in Ventura.

If these are the kind of cars you’re into, then head over to the car picture gallery. Erock took some great pictures and was kind enough to donate those to Check it out! Primer National Show Pictures