Chuck Lombardo Hosts His Annual Car Show For The 26th Year


All images courtesy of Back to the '50s Weekend.

There are certain things you just don’t do, and messing with tradition is one of them. For over the last 25 years, legendary rod builder Chuck Lombardo has been putting on a weekend-long car show in the sleepy little town of New Castle, Pennsylvania at the city’s Cascade Park.

For those of you who somehow have never heard of Chuck, let me first share with you our readers a brief history lesson…

Being credited for building cars for people like Tom Petty, members of ZZ Top, and even the GM Design Studios, Mr. Lombardo is widely known to all of the old-school rodders for putting together some of the coolest rides ever assembled. In fact, he has been doing so since 1970 when he first operated out of a tiny shop in Anaheim, California.

If California Street Rods (no website) rings a bell, it should, because it’s his operation and he still keeps himself busy today with the aid of his son, Chuckie Jr., out of their current Huntington Beach facility. But he still manages to remember his hometown roots though, and continues to fly out to The Keystone State on a regular basis where he visits with family members and old friends.

That doesn’t mean Chuck puts cars on the back burner while he’s home. Nope, in fact, he even manages a second operation in New Castle which is mainly a garage for some of his personal toys –mostly classic rods from the ‘40s and ‘50s.

So while Lombardo Sr. can’t stay away from his hometown for too long, he isn’t crazy about the idea of leaving his gearhead lifestyle on the West Coast. Hence, he put together the Back to the ‘50s Weekend cruise, originally centered on classic hot rods.

Overtime however, the show has welcomed all of the passing and mainstream automotive trends alike. It’s just as common to see classic and modern muscle cars, customized pickup trucks, and even the occasional tuner car sitting alongside the traditional hot rod at the event, and the show has been packing the park with over 1,000 cars, and close to 40,000 spectators since 1985.

The best part about the show, is that the vast majority of the proceeds from spectator ticket sales, entrant fees, and sponsorships, including 100% of the parking fees all go to numerous charities from St. Jude’s Hospital to the Alzheimer’s Foundation.

Some of the biggest names in the industry have already stepped up to sponsor this year’s show, including Summit Racing, Wyotech, Jegs, Coker Tire, Beta Tools, and even Don Garlits and Paulie Jr. have donated to the cause.

To top it off, the Back to the Fifties Weekend will feature live entertainment, and they will also be raffling off a 350cui. SBC crate motor donated by the boys over at Pace Performance. Not to be outdone, Lombardo himself has outfitted a ’55 Ford Custom Line 2-door sedan with a T-bird spec Y-block 312 for the raffle as well.

The show takes place during the weekend of July 5th-8th, and tickets are already on sale on the Back to the Fifties website for $5/person on Thursday, and $10/person throughout the rest of the weekend. Children 12 and under are free.

So if you will be in the Northwest Pennsylvania area that weekend, and you’re interested in either attending as a spectator or reserving a spot, there are still tickets and spaces left, but they’re going quickly.

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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