Norcal’s Best Hot Rods & Custom Car Shows 1st Half

2012 Norcal Car Show “Year in Review”

Words & pictures by: Nick Koljian (About Nick)
(click on any picture to see it full size… you really should!)

Part I

As 2012 passes by in the side mirror, 2013 is jumping up on us like a dog in heat. And with the passing of 2012 we saw some pretty amazing shows. Some big, some small, but all good. For 2013, I’m looking forward to bigger and better shows for Northern California. I’m looking forward to shows I’ve been to year-in and year-out and, of course, some of the newer shows that are making a name for themselves in the car show season. The bay area never ceases to amaze me with its bold paint, fine lines and outstanding collection of customs and classic rides.

So let’s throw it in reverse and take a look back 2012.

February 2012 The Sacramento Autorama norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

Baseball has it’s opening day, here in Northern California our car show season starts with the Sacramento Autorama at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramento, CA. This show is a circus of custom rides beyond anyone’s imagination. Inside, you walk down the halls of the Pavilion only to see names like Goran Lassell, Gene Winfield, Bryan Loder, Anthony DeFreitas, Doug Beattie, Mario Colalillo, John D’Agostino and of course the man that walked away with 4 of the 8 Custom d’Elegance Awards, James Hetfield with his 1937 Zephyr. Outside in the Suede Pavilion, you had Masterson Customs, Sacramento Customs and Gambino Customs lighting it up. Speaking of lighting up, you also had Wild Thang, a 1931 Chevy Coupe that breathed 20 foot flames. I’ll remember this year to bring a pack of hot dogs. So if you like customs, customs and more customs. This is the show for you: Sacramento Autorama Stories and Pictures

norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

April 2012 Booze, Broads & Hot Rods norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

If you have ever been to Burlingame in April you know it can get a bit windy but if you don’t mind a little ocean breeze and like rods and rockabilly then pass GO and collect your 200 smackaroos. The BBHR’s show is held at the Embassy Suites in Burlingame,CA and is a weekend affair. The Bombshells have been doing this for the past 14 years and this show has gotten bigger every year. This years show also had a list of rockabilly performances. So if you want to check out some of South City’s finest rides in the day and then at night fall have a few cocktails and dance the night away to the sounds of some old fashion rockabilly without the worry of the red and blues flashing in your rearview mirror. Just grab a room at the Embassy Suites and party like it was 1999. The only worry you would have is that hang over the next morning. This show gets the Fonzie thumbs up. Booze, Broads and Hot Rods Car Show

norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

July 2012 Norcal Knockout norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

There are shows you look forward to during the year, then there shows you just can’t sleep the night before because you are so excited that it’s finally here. This is that show for me. July is when the flood gates open for Norcal summer shows and this show in my opinion sets the bar for the summer. This is Norcal Knockout Round 3 held at the Vallejo Fairgrounds in Vallejo, CA. NCKO has reached super show status in 3 short years. I personally have been to all 3 and every year Korena Goldstien and Henrik Forss have out did themselves. This show hands down, is a “mark your calendar” show. This year, like every year they have a great collection of hot rod fun. Even with 2 other major shows going on the same day, NCKO pulled in over 400 cars, trucks, bikes and even a couple of dragsters. With stiff competition from all the other shows this show gets my vote for Best Show of the Year: 2012 Norcal KnockoutAll Stories from NorCal Knockout 
norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

July 2012 Nite of the Hot Rods

norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

On a hot summer day what else would quench your thirst like a nice tall glass of kool-aid. And who better to drink that kool-aid with… the Dragoons Car Cult. Yet another one of my fav shows of the year, the 6th Annual Nite of the Hot Rods on the pier of the Riverview Lodge in Antioch, CA. This show is considered the biggest small show of the year. It’s like hanging out with a lovable dysfunctional family. With that said, I don’t mean that in a negative form by any stretch of the imagination. These guys, meaning the Dragoons Car Cult, is like Disney’s version of the Manson Family. This show is fun from start to finish. You never know what is going to happen at a Dragoons show. That’s what makes it so interesting. Nite of the Hot Rods is a must see show with a top shelf fun. This show is my runner-up for Best Show of the Year…easy. 2012 Nite of the Hot RodsAll Stories from Nite of the Hot Rods

norcal car shows, hot rod and custom car show pictures

Well this concludes part 1 of 2 of my 2012 Year in Review. In Part 2 we will check out Skoty Chops Shootout, The Sinners Tiki Car Hop and Billetproof. Also I asked fellow hot rodders what they thought was the best show of the year and you might be surprised to hear what they said.

Till next time, if you ain’t in front, you’re in dust. -N/K

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