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Neal’s Hot Rod Party

by Dave on June 5, 2014

Neal Jenning’s Hot Rod Party started back in the days when the big, Memorial Day West Coast Kustoms event was staged in the park in Paso Robles. Held at Neal’s shady spread in Atascadero, it was always a welcome break from the heat and hordes in downtown Paso. Small and low key, the party seemed to always feature the coolest cars, friendly folks, and enticing projects in Neal’s well-equipped shop.

When the WCK moved south to Santa Maria, the NHRP kept going – this was its 14th year — with an added twist: a lengthy run through the rural back roads of San Luis Obispo County. This year included a couple of stops, the first at craftsman David Wheeler’s shop in Atascadero, the second at a collector’s ranch east, far east, of Santa Margarita.

Below: Neal hands out detailed navigational instructions. You need ‘em. One wrong turn and you could end up in Bakersfield.
NHRP 14_1

Local  Santa Cruz fabricator Clay Slaughter and his wife Alicia check out the scene from his ’29 roadster. Santa Cruz was well represented, as were flathead motors.
NHRP 14_2


NHRP 14_3A midget under restoration at David Wheeler’s. Check the metal floorboard work in his own T roadster.
NHRP 14_4 NHRP 14_5 NHRP 14_6

At the end of a long dirt road, somewhere off Highway 58, we visited what Neal described as “Greg Propochuk’s Collection of Interesting Stuff.” That was definitely an understatement.
NHRP 14_7 NHRP 14_11Banger Heads NHRP 14_12

Among the farm implements, vintage speed equipment, and even a couple of Hawaiian Elephant Gun big wave boards, sat this ’32 Chevy woodie.
NHRP 14_10

Tom and Diane Branch drove all the way up from Los Angeles on Saturday morning in their gold, channeled, Studebaker-powered roadster, then back home after the barbecue on Saturday afternoon. Talk about a power couple. Mark Morton’s perfectly-proportioned full-fendered roadster looked elegant, even under a quarter inch of trail dust.
Tom Branch's DeuceMark Morton's DeuceNHRP 14_8

The long road in, and out, of Greg’s ranch. Neal’s not bullshitting when he talks about back country roads.
NHRP 14_13I decided to spend the night, avoid the buzz-kill afternoon headwinds through the Salinas Valley and get an oh-dawn-thirty start back to Santa Cruz the next morning. I was rewarded with bitchin weather, a wide open highway, and a full-dose weekend of roadster therapy.'28 RPU Drivin' Home

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