With temperatures at sixty-three degrees in Long Beach, California, it was a cool day for hot rods. Hot rods and cool cars were on display at the 21st annual Belmont Shore Car Show on Sunday, September 12, 2010. Also known as street cars, hot rods are vehicles modified to maximize speed and acceleration.
East Second Street in the Belmont Shore section of Long Beach is closed to traffic for the popular yearly event. The trendy main street shopping district is a much used direct route for people traveling to nearby Seal Beach and points south. Restored vehicles manufactured before 1975 were displayed on both sides of the four lane street and along the median. More vehicles were displayed on side streets that intersect E. Second Street. They were parked as far down the fourteen blocks as the alley and parking lots that run behind the stores, restaurants, and taverns.
The Belmont Shore Car Show was hosted from 9AM until 3PM. Promptly at three, owners started heading out. Built for speed, the vehicles threaded their way very slowly through the crowds. The sports bars were as crowded as the streets. Football was showing on the multiple big screen televisions in most of them.
I was disappointed that there were very few sandwich board signs in front of vehicles and a rare plaque card displayed on windowsills. I do not know model years and have depended upon those signs in previous years. Looking at a beautiful sky blue ’59 Impala, I was awed by the size of it. Did I actually drive one of those? My first time behind a wheel was in an Impala. My brother had two, one with fins, one without. I thought one was a 1962 model, but did not look like the 1962 Impala whose year I obtained from owner sitting behind the wheel.
1971 Harley-Davidson Service Car complete with police scanner, which I am sure was a tape playing, complete with static.
1923 Long Beach Paddy Wagon owned by the Long Beach Historic Society.
1967 Road Runner photo album showed car straight from junk yard, all rusty metal, car seat stuffing looking like rats’ nests and through process of restoration to final transformation.
Hearse loading a coffin onto sidewalk. Open lid showing brown skull bones. A man had his photo taken sitting on bus bench near coffin, with arm over shoulder of mannequin. The dummy lady was sitting head down, dressed early 1900s mourning style, including hosiery with runs, veiled hat and lots of jewelry.
A pick up truck had a coffin in its bed, half lid open, Michael Jackson at rest, complete with silver glove.
Owner of 1932 Ford Hot Rod had a story board posted next to his pride and joy. He had the car since he was 16, entered races and drove it to California. The story board included photocopies of news clippings featuring his ’32 car.
Yes there was a little, red Corvette on display and yellow, blue, maroon ones, too. Actually the little, red 1959 Corvette, sported white side wings and a white convertible top.
A young man climbed in the Indy Formula One race car to his photograph taken. Although there was a lack of information cards, signs proclaiming “Look Inside But Do Not Touch” were plentiful. Representatives from Long Beach’s Grand Prix at table next to the Indy car did not object to the photo shoot.
Monster trucks, some racing stripes and awesome graphics seemed too modern for the old vehicles sporting them. Chances are car enthusiasts saw their favorite car, but I did not see a 1962 Mercury Monterey, which was my first. If I thought the 1959 Impala was long and wide, the Cadillac’s were even longer and wider. The car show sported BelAirs, Dodge Challengers, Chargers, Falcons, T-birds, woodies sans surfboards and many more.
Although it was a cool day for hot rods, the Belmont Shore Car Show, sponsored by Bay City Rodders classic car club, was a blast from the past. Leaning to look inside an unrestored Ford truck, I got a whiff of sun-baked vinyl, that smelled exactly like my father’s trucks did, in the 1950s.
See more photos using these links:
Kroq Photo Gallery
Gazette Newspapers Photos
LB Post Photos