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50th Annual LA Roadster Show and Swap Meet

by Dave on June 17, 2014

We wrapped up the build on Quint Meland’s roadster (I’ll post more photos soon) and made a last-minute decision to blast down to the L.A. Roadster show. Quint’s build had been a long thrash, so it was a treat to get out of the shop for a few days.

This year’s LARS was the 50th annual and the internet had been humming with photos of roadster caravans from all corners of the country on the road to Pomona. After our run to Neal’s Hot Rod Party a couple of weeks back I wasn’t up for another eight hours in my roadster pick-up, so we made the trek to Southern California in my brother Mike’s mohair-lined, sofa-seated, flathead-powered luxury liner:
Mike's Ply

We stayed in Monrovia and our first stop was at Ed Belknap’s little slice of paradise. Our friend John Oliver had just arrived from New Mexico in his recently completed three window. More on this cool car in a minute…
John's CoupeThe LARS Swap Meet is legendary and we were in line Friday morning for its opening. This five window was amongst the cars for sale. An older build, it had an Eastwood-Chapouris pedigree and sat just right. I’ve got a big itch right now to swap my roadster pick-up for a closed car and this coupe could’ve easily filled the bill.
LARS14_01For some reason there seemed to be a lot of ’33-’34 Fords at the event this year. Probably because their comfortable cabins better accommodate our older, fatter asses. This cocoa-colored coupe was immaculate and the green, 59A-B powered roadster was probably my favorite car of the entire weekend.
LARS14_02LARS14_03Like all old Fords, prices on these ’33-’34’s are skyrocketing. An extreme example was this pasture-fresh coupe. It had Saskatchewan plates, but I’m guessing the owner came from Colorado. At that price he had to be smokin’ something.
LARS14_04 LARS14_05 ForSaleSignBut while the prices may be astronomical, you can find just about anything you’re looking for. Asking price for this pockmarked-but-complete Deuce chassis was $9500. The Lincoln trans was going for $2000. And the drilled backing plates were a buck and a half. A couple of years back I bought a pair of these, with more precise drilling, for ten bucks. We didn’t notice a lot of people walking around with armloads of treasure.
LARS14_07 LARS14_09 LARS14_10There are lots of cool cars parked in the swap, here are few. This blown tudor had a great 60’s vibe:
LARS14_08I’m a fan of hot rods that are up off the ground – it ain’t a hiboy if you can’t sleep under it – and this Deuce was a great example. Small-block powered, the undropped axle allows it to run an unsplit wishbone:
LARS14_11Check the details on this ’29, the original builder had a real eye for style:
LARS14_12 LARS14_13At one time this roadster belonged to woodie collector and restorer Nick Alexander. It wears the only windshield frame Duke Hallock ever built for a Deuce. I had a two-second conversation with the current owner, apparently Nick’s aloha didn’t transfer along with the title.

Other landmark cars included Jack Foye and Doug Peterson’s radical roadster pick-up. Doug drove this car regularly as a kid – with the top on. It was the only car at the show that had also appeared at the first LARS. The yellow coupe has been buzzing around InstaGram recently, it’s currently undergoing restoration.
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There were lots of pick-ups and an unusually large number sedan deliveries this year. The ‘36 Chevy on the trailer was really rough, but really cute. I can’t imagine what a delivery this tiny delivered. Cotter pins? Scented candles?
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I love these ’57 Ranch Wagons. I drove one just like it in high school. Except mine was painted at Earl Scheib.

Let’s break for a little Comic Relief…

Another one of our favorites. This coupe was once a funky, candy-colored, billet-laden “street” rod. Here it is after a sympathetic de-restoration:

The flathead-powered Kent Fuller streamliner was on display in the Save the Salt booth. I’d contributed to their Kickstarter campaign and they invited me to climb inside. Hot, tight, and claustrophobic, control is via two hand levers and a twist-grip throttle. I can’t imagine piloting this thing at 300mph. I also can’t figure out how they fit their balls inside.
Steamliner2 300mph View

This Deuce five window could be yours for a cool $85K. I’m not a fan of the fungo bat wishbones on this A roadster, but the metalwork was first rate.
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The high point of the weekend for us every year is the barbecue up at Ed Belknap’s. A beautiful setting, great food, lots of old friends we don’t see often enough, and cool cars. Ed’s old three window runs an Anglia grille and a built Chevy six. It now resides in Arizona.
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John’s Santa Fe-based, Hemi-powered three-window is home-built and absolutely immaculate. The only thing we could make fun of was the oil filler tube.
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I admit I know nothing about Mopars and, at a glance, I thought this Charger was just decked out with decals. Man, was I wrong. It’s a 1000 horsepower, 9 second/140mph, fully-streetable rocket ship. The owner, who made the 100 mile round trip to Monrovia from Corona Del Mar, has run the car at over 200mph in the flying mile.
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