Every year as winter starts to melt away, the streets of Old Town Temecula, California, are closed down for a classic car cruise on Friday night, and then starting on Saturday and ending on Sunday, is an amazing display of hot rods. The event transforms Front Street in Old Town Temecula back in time thanks to hundreds of classic cars lining the streets and filling the surrounding parking lots.


Everything from ’50s-style T-buckets and roadsters to Studebaker pickup trucks and early musclecars were on display for attendees. Car clubs are able to park together to show off their restored or customized classic cars. Like previous years, the 2017 Rod Run sold out of spaces early, due to growing popularity of the event.


For those who enjoy suicide door Lincoln’s, the Suicide Lincoln’s car club had some beautiful examples on display. From 1961 to 1969 Lincoln Continentals were some of the most stunning luxury cars on the road.

Suicide Lincoln’s Club

One of the largest car club displays at the show was the Suicide Lincoln’s club that was parked near the Wine and Beer Garden. Seeing the amazing collection of 1961-1969 Lincoln Continentals was a glorious sight to behold. From rag tops to bubbled hardtops, if it had suicide doors, it was represented in the Suicide Lincoln’s lineup. Along with the classic Continentals, there were a few Cadillacs to satisfy the General Motors fans.

With everything from wagons to sedans, fans of Tri-Five Chevrolets were in for a treat at the Temecula Rod Run.

Annual car shows, especially remote shows like this, attract routine and familiar faces, along with familiar cars year after year – but there are always some vehicles that stand out from the crowd. Even though cars make routine appearances, it is easy for something spectacular to get lost in the sea of brightly colored vehicles. For example, Brent Rothweiler displayed his customized 1954 Buick convertible. Rothweiler’s Buick features subtle pin striping to accent the bodywork and classic lines of his beautiful ride. Parked in a lot just off of the main drag, this beauty could have been easily missed.

Brent Rothweiler brought out his customized 1954 Buick. Everything on this looker sparkled, from the exterior to the sparkly white interior. Even the car show judges agreed that this Buick was something special, which resulted in Rothweiler receiving a Temecula Award of Excellence.

George The Truck

Vehicle styles ranged from flashy to original, but a simple family project stood out from the rest. The 1949 Studebaker 2R-10 3/4 ton long bed truck named George, started off as a father-daughter collaboration, but quickly became a family project. Matthew and Emily Belle named the truck after Emily’s grandfather, George.

“George” had been sitting in a field for close to thirty years before the Belle family came to the rescue. The weathered paint is not a fancy faux patina, this is the real deal, thanks to decades of exposure to mother nature; the Belle’s opted to preserve the originality by spraying the truck with a clearcoat.

This '49 Studebaker truck was named George after Emily Belle's grandfather. The original patina was achieved after spending decades sitting in a field, so the Belle's opted to treat George to a clearcoat finish to preserve the weathered look.

Not everyone in the Belle household was excited about the jalopy. Emily’s older sister showed more interest in the scrap metal value of the Studebaker than bringing it back to life. Fortunately, she changed her mind after a holiday parade and student car show. Everyone in the family made a contribution to bringing life back into the classic truck. Emily’s mother made the shift and brake lever boots, and Matthew Belle tirelessly worked on the original engine to revive it from its period of hibernation.

The original 170 CID flathead six "Champion" engine still powers this pickup, thanks to the efforts of Matthew Belle.

On the other end of the spectrum was a 1948 Packard belonging to Craig and Susan Sherman of Castaic, California. With all the styling of iconic lead sleds, the Sherman’s ’48 is named the “Merc Eater.” Near the driver’s side rear of the Packard was a display board with pictures documenting the progress of the vehicle from inception to completion.

The design and building responsibilities were handled by Victor Cacho of Cacho Customs and Ian Roussel of Full Custom Garage. The project required many hours of shaping, fabrication, and body work to achieve the blemish free look required before the dark hue was applied by R & L Auto Body in Sylmar, California.

Who needs a Mercury when you can have the Sherman's 1948 Packard dubbed the "Merc Eater"?

Louie Galindo’s Truck

From the timeless classics showcased to the recent adaptation of customization known as rat rodding, there were plenty of cars to satiate one’s appetite for customs. Louie Galindo brought his 1946 Chevrolet Truck out for the show. This little blue truck is a blend of styles, ranging from traditional to rat rod. With the addition of an Irish whiskey bottle as an overflow and the customized bomber style seats, Galindo’s truck has some refined rat rod elements. The ’46 features pin striping, body work, and a suspension that lends itself to the traditional styles found in classic hot rods.

Louis Galindo's 1946 Chevrolet Truck is a blend of traditional and modern hot rod elements.

A “cruise only” option was a new feature for this year, and hopefully it will be repeated next year. On Friday night, cruise-only participants as well as full event participants drove up and down Front Street, delighting those in attendance. Unlike previous years, people were given the opportunity to purchase tickets exclusively for Friday night’s cruise. Based on participation, it appeared that it was a success.

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Over the course of two days, attendees were treated to amazing cars, loads of fun, and anticipation for next year’s event. For those looking for a weekend getaway, you need to look into attending the 2018 Temecula Rod Run as a participant or spectator. With displays, vendors, restaurants, live music, and classic cars, this is great opportunity to cruise your classic on Friday and show it off Saturday. Just make sure to check out the city of Temecula’s website for registration information because this event sells out quickly.

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