Cars of Cruisefest 2022

(Scroll down for more exciting cruisers!)

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The most British Mini

I wish I had a great story about my Mini but the truth is I just saw it on the Mini used car lot and snapped it up. It was only one year old and the previous owner had the wrap done, and then apparently got tired of it.

 

A bit of background may help. I’ve been driving British sports cars since 1961 when I bought a new Triumph Spitfire. Even before that I subscribed to British car magazine as a teenagers back in the 1950’s. I’ve belonged to, and been active in, British car clubs, currently the United British Sports Car Club. I like those quirky vehicles.

 

When I saw this one with the British flag splayed all over it, I was smitten. And yes, I know Mini is basically a BMW creation these days, but it’s nominally a British car (the club allows it) and its German underpinnings just means there are no oil spots on my driveway.

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442 W-30

I realized a 40 year old dream when I acquired my full numbers matching Sequoia Green Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 on August 27, 2021. I was fortunate to locate her in the beautiful small town of Wabasha, Minnesota as she is one of only 659 hardtop coupes produced in 1972 with the famed W-30 option. The provenance of this 442 is established by the "X" code in her VIN, which identifies and validates her as a factory optioned W-30 442. Unfortunately, in 1972 the W-30 optioned 442s were not available for sale in California due to the ever-increasing vehicle emissions restrictions. As a result of increasing insurance costs and the horsepower robbing governmentally mandated emission standards, this Oldsmobile 442 represents the waning days of the 60s/early 70s muscle car era. 

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Apex  Cricket EV

My son and I have had a blast building, road testing, and racing with our Apex Cricket EV and have been searching for places and events that we can either strap on our helmets and race or set up a display to show it off.

 

I have been building street and race cars since I was about fourteen and have enjoyed having my son Phil become my partner, teammate and biggest competitor on the racetrack.

 

Apex Design Group is the overall business entity that includes my utility design consulting firm and our car design, construction and racing efforts.  The Apex Cricket EV is the prototype of a vehicle that we hope to eventually be able to sell as an owner-built component kit car.

 

This project came to life during the COVID-19 shutdown when it became apparent that I wasn't going to be going to any of our grandson's baseball or water polo games for a while.  I had begun sourcing the materials I would need about three months before everything went into lock down and was able to take advantage of the time to fabricate a second frame and set it up as an electric vehicle.  

Radio Fiyer

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Marisol

My wife and I purchased this 1950 Chevy Fleetline Deluxe from Mike and Betty of Paradise, California and named her Marisol.  Thankfully, she already wore her gorgeous Royal Purple paintjob.  Since owning the car for a little under a year, it has gone through some minor and major changes ranging from minor mechanical repairs to a custom air ride suspension.  We had a lot of help to get her to where she is at now.  Hunting down and finding the missing pieces has been a challenge but I am getting closer to finding them all.  All of the car enthusiasts, from the lowriding scene to custom rods, to weekend mechanics, to big shops, have helped piece her together by finding parts and sharing knowledge. Big thank yous go out to:

 

Jon Gilbreath- @Bazuuka_Tooth (artist and painter)

Jason Miller- Haute-Miller (Custom Fabricator)

Bob Picking (mechanical)

Todd Billman of Waverly, Iowa (parts)

Gabe Juvera of Co. Springs, CO (parts)

Curt Lerner-Get Lit Creative Imaging (photographer)

 

My wife and I like to cruise around and show her off.  It’s great to see people’s reactions. Some people even stop to tell us stories, but for us, it brings us back to being kids and cruising the streets of Frisco in the 80s.  Now we can cruise Sacramento, go to local shows, and make new friends.

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Radio Fiyer

Featured on the Discovery Channel's "Monster Nation", Jay Leno’s Garage, and Tool Time, The Radio Fiyer was built in 1996, transformed from a 1923 Ford T-bucket by Art Baker, his cousin Bob Castaneda, and some friends for $4000.

 

At the time, my cousin Bob and I decided that we wanted to build a hot rod so we had to find someone's unfinished project that they wanted to get rid of. After about 2 years of searching, we finally found a T-Bucket roadster that a guy was willing to part with for next to nothing.

 

We couldn't tell what kind of shape anything was in but when he said we could have everything that was there for a thousand dollars, we jumped on it.

 

When building the T, we designed it so it could work with interchangeable bodies which meant that all of the electronics went in the floor to make it adaptable to whatever concept we wanted.

 

We settled on the classic little red wagon concept that we call the Radio Fiyer. (as in FIRE, not Flyer) In 1997, which marked Radio Flyer’s 100-year anniversary, we wrote three letters to their corporate office to ask for permission to use their name. We never got any response, so, to be safe we changed the name and logo…slightly.

 

We showed it to the producers of “Tool Time” and their lawyers couldn’t get an answer from Radio Flyer either. Tool Time put another name, “Little Red Wagon”, over our logo and it ended up being driven by Tim Allen on the set of their Christmas special with a pile of toys in the back.

 

The body is made of plywood, built to scale from the original Radio Flyer wagon, times eleven. It has a 305 Chevy small block engine and a two-speed power glide automatic transmission and a Dana rear end. It’s not aerodynamic, so the top speed would be 55 to 60. Anything over that and it wants to grow wings and fly!

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Tribute Team Graffiti

Fans of George Lucas’ hit film American Graffiti, which depicted the cruising scene in the central valley, may recognize these two cars.

They are owned by Jeff Zastrow of El Dorado Hills, who has participated in CruiseFest on Fulton Avenue a handful of times in the past.

They are clones of the yellow ’32 Ford Coupe and the black ’55 Chevy driven in the movie by Paul LeMat and Harrison Ford, respectively. The ’55 was built by Jeff and his son. The ’32 was built by Dave Archeson.  Look for them at this year’s Cruise.

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Heavy Chevy

My 1964 Chevy C10 Panel is a dream come true with House of Kolor candy flake and flames to really set it off. Under the hood is 396 big block with a comp magnum cam, dual Flexa Lite fan, 700r4 transmission, air ride, and 411 true lock rear-end. It’s all tubbed with a 18 x 29 x 15 rear tire size for that deep old school look, disc brakes all around, and air ride. The interior is simulated ostrich for the headliner, black vinyl accents, inlaid polished aluminum on the speaker boxes and throughout the amp box. The steering wheel is a Billit Specialties Eagle series that match the rims.

 

I want this vehicle to be an inspiration to all who see it. Keep your dreams alive, no matter what the naysayers have to say.  Through all the ups and downs, and there were a lot of downs, keep pushing hard and your dreams will come true. Special thanks to Sue, my wife, for letting me spend all those countless hours working on it and especially all the kitchen towels she donated to the cause.

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The Phoenix

The build started in Santa Rosa in 1993 with the 60-year-old car and a crate motor. The builder/owner had many thoughts and visions in his head, but life happened along with many revisions to the car. It was eventually completed in 2013 and sold the following year.

The second owner was from Lake of the Pines, and he pampered and drove the car for the next 7 years. I later acquired the car from him and thus became its third owner. We have all added our own touches to it and as much as I would love to take the credit for the build, it wasn't my handiwork.

 

This car drives incredibly well and sounds amazing. I would not be hesitant to drive this car to Los Angeles, Reno or anywhere else for that matter. It handles great for being almost 90 years old, the paint looks great, and the interior is clean. This Phoenix is a one-of-a-kind build and we have never parked next to another 1933 Chrysler in all the years she has been to shows. She doesn’t purr like a kitten; she roars like a Lion.

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Ram-Skellington

Nate was born into a family where the saying, "Mopar or no car" runs deep. He has fond memories of going to car shows as a kid with his Uncle Jeff in Western, Pennsylvania. As he walked the blacktop in amazement at the sea of classics, the voices of Little Richard, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis singing Great Balls of Fire could be heard playing on the loudspeakers. Even today Nate can recall sitting on his living room floor playing with Hot Wheels, ears perked, listening for the rumble of his uncle’s 1969 Charger coming down the street. He’d jump up in excitement knowing just where they were headed.

 

In 1994 when the redesigned second-generation Dodge Rams made their debut, Nate remembers his Opa taking him to a nearby dealership to check them out. On Christmas Day and in four feet of snow, the two made the icy drive just for the chance to get an up-close and personal look at the new beauties on the showroom floor. With colors like Delmonico Red and Hydro Blue, Nate was in awe. It was then that the dream took root of one day owning a Ram truck.

 

Fast forward to 2017, when that dream became a reality. Nate and his wife, Andrea, purchased a Black Ram 1500. Although not defined as a classic, this young truck has gone through two transformations. Initially named Ramblin Dixie, a nod to Nate’s childhood, their daughter, Rileigh also chose the blue and black color scheme. In 2020 during heightened pandemic life, the California Ram Club (CRC) was newly established, and Nate quickly became the NorCal Vice President.

 

What started out as a means of getting out of the house during the days of quarantines and worldly shutdowns became a ride they had no idea they were embarking on. The Ram Club has become a major part of their lives, or as they refer to it as their Ramily. It wasn’t until joining the club that mods on the truck started coming to fruition. The club has introduced them to so many great people with difference expertise, ideas, and visions for their own trucks. Members bounce ideas off one another, share referrals, and their messes and successes with their own mods. Over time the truck transformed into what you see today with a Nightmare Before Christmas theme and a new name Ram-Skellington.


Owning this truck has given Nate a reason to join the car/truck show scene. In 2021 the CRC club attended the Bayside Father’s Day Car Show, and Ram-Skellington took home its first award, Best 2010 and Newer.

 

“The best part about attending shows with a themed truck is seeing the smiles on kids' faces, asking to take pictures with the Jack truck,” Nate comments. Although, their truck isn’t in the classic category, the same passion for having a unique, one-of-a- kind build is the same.

 

Ram-Skellington has taken Nate and his family on so many adventures from off-roading in the snow and mud, pulling their camper, car shows, charity drives, parades, memorial cruises, and other club meets. Nate is now the President of the California Ram Club, and his family continues to organize fun and meaningful family-friendly events to help create lasting memories for their next generation of kids.

 

Being at car shows again has inspired Nate and Andrea to buy a classic of their own; a 1972 Dodge Dart Swinger. The sounds and smells of the Dart transports Nate right back to his childhood with engine rumble and Johnny B. Good playing on the speakers.

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The Stubby

I love working on and building unique cars. The first car I ever worked on was a '41 Willys Pro Gas back in 1977 and have been hooked ever since. I have several other vehicles, some of which I have bought and sold over the years but this 1957 Chevy Stubby has to be one of my favorites.

 

I found this car while attending a wedding in Washington (That will make my wife think twice about making me go to one of her friend’s weddings again). I was sitting in the bar at the local hotel checking out Craigslist when I saw an advertisement for this car. I called and found out the owner had passed away and a friend was selling the car for the widow. I drove an hour into the back country of Oregon and was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the car and the amount of work that was put into it. After performing a thorough inspection, 2 ½ hours, and a test drive I made an offer. The widow stated she could tell I was a real car person, much like her husband, and accepted my offer.

 

I have since performed numerous upgrades with more to come and really look forward to working on, showing, and driving this vehicle.

 

We call this vehicle SHORT 'N NASTY because it is. The short wheelbase makes the front leave the ground very easily. The car was originally a 1957 Chevrolet 150 2-door wagon. Actual picture included. The wheelbase was shortened from 115” to 91”. The car is powered by a 355 all-roller motor and Littlefield 8-71 Blower on 2 Edelbrock 650 CFM carburetors. The transmission is a race-built Turbo 400 manual valve body, and it is pushing a 12-bolt rear end with 456 gears. The paint is House of Colors Emerald Green with ground glass (not metal flake).

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This street rod was commissioned and built in 2007 (my best guess) by Oze Rods Shop in Marion, Illinois. The fiberglass body and frame are custom built in-house and is a one-off custom build. In 2007 it was brought to California by the original owner and was sold a few years later. This hot rod was stored for a number of years.  In 2021, I located this vehicle for sale and purchased it with only 851 miles on the odometer. The car was cleaned up, minor wiring issues and repairs were made from sitting so long.   It is my desire and intent to drive and show this beautiful custom vehicle.

 

Since owning, I have attended 3 shows and won the following awards at each of the shows:

 

  • 10th Annual Fulton Avenue CruiseFest – Sponsor’s Best of Show award

  • 71th Annual Sacramento Autorama – Best in Class award, Best Individual Display award

  • 21st Annual Woodland Street Cruisers show and shine – Best of Show award, Best Paint award

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The Mystery Machine

24KT Rod

The "Mystery Machine" is a 1972 Ford Econoline 100 "Shorty" Van.  It has a rebuilt 302 engine and C-4 automatic transmission. It has a custom interior that has many 70's era touches. It also has a TV/DVD player combo that plays episodes of the Scooby Doo" Cartoons. 

 

The van was originally intended to be a root beer brown "Boogie" van which was part of the 70's Hippie era. My wife and I had a family friend that moved to California from Texas with her sister to teach ballet as well as self-esteem classes to young girls. One of their 15-year-old students, Larriah Jackson was a contestant on TVs "The Voice" in 2021.  Natalia was the sister that taught ballet. Natalia was a Prima Ballerina and was one of the famed choreographers Debbie Allen’s dancers. We met them at a parade in Sacramento approximately 13 years ago. I had a 1972 Ford Mustang convertible at the time and allowed their young girls (approx 30 of them) to take pictures in and around the car.

 

I purchased the van from a guy in Berkeley in early 2021. It had been sitting outside for several years.  It had a partial engine in it and quarter panel damage as well. During the restoration months, Natalia and her sister would come over for visits. They had no California family so we became their “Cali-parents.” We spent many holidays together over the years. During the restoration of the van, Natalia would always refer to the van as the "Scooby Van.” I asked her why she called it that and her reply was always the same, "Because it reminds me of the cartoon.” 

 

May 1, 2021, was my wife’s and my 24th wedding anniversary. Natalia and her sister, Kandice came over to visit. We took pictures of the van that day. Natalia gave me a "Scooby Doo'' air freshener and a "Van Journal” so that I could document the restoration. Although not yet completed, the engine and other mechanical parts had been installed so the van had been driven from the backyard into our garage.

 

Natalia and I took what would be our last photos together sitting on the back of the van that day. On May 7th, just 6 days after that photo, Natalia had a seizure and passed away. My wife and I were devastated. My wife flew to Texas with Natalia's sister Kandice to take Natalia's body home. My wife told me that a flag was draped over her casket on the airport tarmac as they were putting her body on it. The pilot paused and rested his hand on the casket before boarding the airplane. 

 

My wife stayed in Texas to help with the funeral arrangements and to attend the services. Choreographer Debbie Allen wrote a very touching tribute to Natalia in her honor.

 

Upon my wife’s return, it was decided to finish the van as a tribute to Natalia's memory. I had a shadowbox made that contains our last photo together, a pair of her dancing shoes, photos of some of her performances, a newspaper article from a Texas newspaper honoring her, and The Scooby-Doo air freshener that she gave me on the last day.

 

Natalia made lots of kids and parents smile during her short 37 years with us. I especially remember the NutCracker Christmas plays that she would put on each year using community children as the main characters. Thus The "Mystery Machine" was born.

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MSSLED  

Back in 86, Sylvester Stallone used the '50 Merc in the movie “ Cobra." This stuck with me for years as the car, the movie, and the character was so powerful. I think it was the start of a brewing passion that didn't come out until 2006 when I decided I would jump in and make that passion come true and start the search. In 2018, I found Mssled in the back of a local roofer's yard, covered with an old blue tarp!

 

That was the start of it all. Since then, I have not stopped obsessing over car builds. I have built the 1950 Mercury coupe (MSSLED), 1946 GMC Rat Rod, 1942 Willys Jeep,1957 Chevy 3100 PU (The Transformer), and am currently working on a 1936 Plymouth Coupe Rat Rod. The next build waiting in the garage is a 1969 VW V8 front engine bug.

 

I have taught myself most everything through trial and error, accessing Youtube, and asking questions from other car enthusiasts, and have recently started my own small business (Rat Rod Garage Sacramento) to continue what I love to do for years to come!