West Coast Kustoms 32nd Annual Cruisin’ Nationals

LEAD-ART-Cruisin

There are quite a few amazing events nationwide that we look forward to each and every year. Easily included in our “Top Ten” favorite shows of the year ranks this year’s 2013 Santa Maria West Coast Cruisin’ Nationals. While we enjoy all different types and styles of hot rod shows, Goodguys events, annual street rod shows, custom and rat rod shows and the like – the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals is the perfect blend of all of the above.

A nice drive up the Pacific Coast about an hour and a half north of Santa Barbara, the Santa Maria community is host to one of the West Coast’s best hidden gems. Formally known as the old “Paso Show” – this custom extravaganza outgrew it’s old small-town venue and had to move to the Santa Maria fairgrounds to house the over 1,200 customs that come from all over the west to take part in this event every year.

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A Little Something For Everyone

This isn’t one of those “guys only” events either. It’s one that you can bring the whole family out for a weekend in the park, grassy shade, covered buildings, and plenty-o-fun for all. Every year there is a Friday Night cruise that takes place around the fairgrounds for the registered show participants to show the crowds which cars left the trailers at home. This was one of our favorite parts, as seeing miles and miles of customs cruisin’ the boulevard like it was the ’50s and ’60s all over again is definitely a spectacular treat.

But of course the fun doesn’t stop there. Along with the famed “Show-N-Shine” that takes place Saturday and Sunday there is also a custom swap meet on the grounds on Sunday that rivals the Pomona Swap Meet and some of the smaller Goodguys swap meets with plenty of good scores if you can get there in time with the right amount of dough in hand to score the perfect missing piece to finish off that long overdue project sitting in the garage.

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Hosted by the original West Cost Kustoms car club, the weekend’s Show-N-Shine is open to pre-1961 American made vehicles only, with a few limited spots made available to others by invitation and approval only. Featuring a ton of vendors, model car show, live music, “Hall of Fame” ceremony and special guests including many of the great “Legends of Kustomizing” and a pinstriping panel jam party with charity auction, there was no shortage of action going on throughout the weekend.

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All sorts of car clubs were on hand to support this year’s West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nats.

Everywhere you turned, there was another bright and beautiful piece of automotive jewelry, so much so that we were running around like crazy all weekend long trying to capture all of the greatness for you to see and making sure that we didn’t miss a thing. 

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Featuring a TCI Engineering chassis, Project Flat Out is in good hands at Image Street Rods and well on its way to being a contender – stay tuned!

This year was also a special treat for us because we had the chance to debut the start of our Rod Authority Project Flat Out build in the Image Street Rods booth. So we were able to talk with some of our readers about the start of the project and our plans for the build.

It was fun to see the beginning phases of our build taking shape and get some valued input on the project from those on hand. Talking shop and doing a bit of bench building at the show was definitely one of our highlights and we’re looking forward to showing the progress of our build throughout the different build phases both right here and at shows near and far.

Cruising through the expansive show grounds we were able to track down a few of our favorite rides from this year’s show. Bright, crazy mods, subtle, clean, full custom, and more – we had our work cut out trying to weed through the massive amounts of amazing rides that came out to compete from all over the west and further in some cases.

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Tons of cool vendors were on hand to quench that custom thirst - and hey, the sign said it was okay, so we listened!

In no particular order, here are just a few of the badass rides on hand that caught our eye and had us itching to see and know more!

Rod Authority’s Top Picks

Steve Wertheimer brought his 1936 Ford custom out all the way from Austin, Texas. Featuring a completely custom exterior with molded headlights, and chopped and capped windows making it a permanent roadster, this is definitely one cool summer cruiser!

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This full custom sports a heavily modified exterior with molded headlights, and chopped and capped windows making it a permanent roadster.

This killer ’49 Chevy owned by Brett Cowan came down from Sacramento and this mild custom build is nosed/decked and features molded headlights and custom frenched tails to name just a few of the classy and subtle mods that help this ’49 stand out from the rest.

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Another killer custom brought down from Nor Cal – the Laselle Merc is a 1948 Mercury Coupe built by Sacramento Kustoms for owner Goran Lassell. Given a nice stance and wheel combo with AccuAir suspension and painted by Rebel Design, this off-year Merc wowed the crowds all weekend long.

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John D’Agostino, owner of Celebrity Kustoms, brought out a few of his masterpieces including Sophia and Ruby. The 1951 Lincoln, affectionally known as Ruby, has plenty of the infamous D’Agostino custom touches throughout. Featuring a Ridetech suspension, Coker tires, Divine Custom interior and deep Ruby red paint laid down by Lucky 7 Customs – this eye scorcher was definitely one of the main stars of this year’s show.

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Kyle Gann, owner and crazy painter extraordinaire at K-Daddyz Kustomz, went fully radical with his 1961 Pontiac to top all of his previous builds combined and had specatotors picking their jaws up off the ground all weekend long – stay tuned for a full feature coming your way right here on Rod Authority!

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We even got a chance to catch up with Gene Winfield and chat with him for a bit about his recent tour. The man is still going, and after chopping nine different cars in nine different cities he still has time to put in some work on his special new project that he’s starting – we can’t reveal all of the secrets just yet, but click on that link above to see some video action with Gene and find out what he’s got cooking.

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Winfield caught up with his long time friends John and Jake Babcock from Powermaster Performance and we were there to capture the moment.

A weekend full of beautiful customs with perfect weather and an amazing venue – what more could you ask for? Not much, right! Check out all of the honored award winners below and make sure to scroll all of the way down for our full RA Gallery chock full of featured photos from the show. We’ll see you all there next year!

2013 Cruisin’ Nationals Award Winners 

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Gene Winfield’s Pick went to Matt Egen from Austrailia with his full custom 1954 Ford that’s been making quite the splash this year.

  • 2013 Rich Pichette Memorial Award – Andy Rodrique
  • Gene Winfield’s Pick: Matt (Australia Vic) Egan – 1954 Ford
  • George Barris Pick: John D’Agostino – 1940 Cadillac
  • Bill Hines Pick: Andy Lang 1963 Buick Riviera
  • 2013 Larry Watson Memorial Award: Richie Valles – 1950 Chevy
  • KKOA Lifetime Achievement Award – George & Sam Barris
  • “The Heart Break Hotel” Award Winner – Sponsored by Santa Maria Inn: K. Daddy – 1960 Pontiac

Top 5 Wild Kustom Winners

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John D’Agostino took home a Top 5 Wild Kustom award with Sophia – his latest 1940 Cadillac build.

  • Richard Zocchi – 1962 Chrysler 300
  • Steve Pierce – 1953 Buick
  • John D’Agostino – 1940 Cadillac
  • Barry Weiss – 1955 Ford Bubble Top
  • Mark & Kelly Skipper – 1951 Ford

Top 5 Mild Kustom Winners

  • Stan Espinoza Jr. – 1954 Chevy
  • Chris Rubio – 1950 Mercury
  • Arnold Garza – 1961 Olds
  • Eunice Ibarra – 1955 Ford
  • Rob Collins – 1957 Chevy

Top 3 Early Kustom Winners

  • Erik Lind – 1950 Chevy
  • Brian Nieri – 1940 Cadillac
  • Garner / D’Agostino – 1951 Lincoln

IMG_1528Top 3 Early Hot Rod Winners

  • Jose Heredia III – 1931 Ford Coupe
  • Anthony Granata – 1927 Ford
  • Lance & Toni Morris – 1936 Ford

Top 2 Under Construction Winners

  • Chopit Kustoms – 1927 Ford
  • John DeFreitas – 1951 Mercury

Top 2 Street Rod Winners

  • Lee Galindo – 1933 Ford 3 Window
  • Doug & Sharon Mason – 1937 Ford

IMG_1369For our exclusive Rod Authority shots, check out the GALLERY below:

About the author

Mike Alexander

With over a decade of automotive print and editorial experience, Mike Alexander enjoys shooting and writing about cars, and has several projects cars in his stable.
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