This Year’s Temecula Rod Run Draws The West’s Best Hot Rods

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Photos By: Mike Alexander | Story By: Sal Alaimo Jr.

Southern California’s Wine Country has a little something for everyone. Whether it be wine tasting itself, great food and a little gambling at the Pechanga Casino, or simply taking in the sights and sounds of the Southern Riverside country area. Temecula and its surrounding beauty offers a little taste of heaven for nearly anyone who’s interested in a little R&R.

For the rod and custom enthusiast, however, the true “Mecca” of the Wine Country is the annual Temecula Rod Run, which was held this year March 8th and 9th in the middle of Temecula’s Old Town down on Front Street. The boulevard was packed over the weekend with the West Coast’s best in home-town hot rodding excellence.

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John Cowell’s Smokn’ ’35 Ford Coupe was the star of the show – people gathered in masses all weekend long to take in this beautiful piece of history mixed with subtle custom touches throughout.

The two-day event offers free public parking in the town’s Civic Center, and is divided between a Friday night cruise from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. and a Saturday “Show & Shine” from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Both events close down Front Street from one end to the next as the city of Temecula is in full cooperation, but Saturday’s Show & Shine offers car nuts the chance to get up close and personal with the rides themselves.

IMG_1729The Temecula Rod Run accepts entries from 1970 and earlier, and over 500 entries are taken-in each year. People come from all over California and the entire west coast to shine up their pride and joy for all to see. Some of this year’s event trophy winners include Mike Bacher with his ’49 Studebaker pickup and R. J. Tantardini with his ’69 Chevelle wagon also capturing the crowd’s attention along with the judges. Other entries included Bill and Jan Klumpp’s ’69 Olds 442, as well as the killer ’40 Ford pickup of Jerry Tucker who was excited to be in attendance.

James and Sheryl Dana entered their ’38 Plymouth 5-window coupe to win the seventh trophy handed-out at the Wine Country event, and Julio Tydingco and his ’51 Chevy truck made their appearance at this year’s Rod Run as well. Needless to say, there was plenty of old iron to be represented at the Southern California rodding venue.

Less than 60 miles north of San Diego and 90 miles southeast of Los Angeles, Temecula offers one of Southern California’s most beautiful and laid back spots for both a hot rod show and sunny So-Cal living. And with the casino nearby, along with other favorite tourist attractions and conveniences, Temecula is by far a perfect place to hold this award-winning cruise and show.

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There was an array of art-deco hood ornaments and factory emblems alike that we just had to aim the camera toward.

Aside from being one of the West Coast’s best custom hang outs, the Temecula Rod Run is also a charitable event. On March 7th and the 8th at the nearby Hampton Inn, the Rod Run committee held their Silent Auction, with proceeds going out to some of the Wine Country’s most prominent charities.

If it’s not enough that Temecula’s Front Street is a car-crazed boulevard filled to the brim chock full of old iron and good times, Old Town’s Temecula Museum paid tribute just a few weeks earlier on February 27th to the “father” of the Corvette marquee, none other than Harley Earl.

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Other cool customs and sweet rides to take home trophies from the Rod Run include the ’56 T-Bird belonging to Paul and Evelyn Parque, along with the ’39 Ford Cab Over Engine belonging to Brian Farris. Chevy’s full-size lineup was also represented, thanks, of course to Jesse Marron’s ’59 Impala, as well as the ’57 Bel Air belonging to Mark Pilch.

Riverside County’s own, Southwest Riverside News Network was proud to sponsor this year’s Temecula Rod Run, and SWRNN promises to always be the area’s network for everything news, fun, culture and overall lifestyle. Also proud to sponsor this year’s event are the City of Temecula and Infinity Arts.

One of the most crucial sponsors to the rodding event was none other than the P&R Foundation. Established in April of 2003 as a not-for-profit, 501 c3 corporation, P&R is dedicated to sponsoring the best events, and has donated money to the likes of the American Cancer Society, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boy Scouts of America and The Progeria Foundation, just to name a few.

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James Dana has mixed the perfect combination of show AND go! He hits the road every chance he gets with his '38 Plymouth, yet you would never notice because it polishes up nicely for every show it attends.

Hampton Inn & Suites was also very happy to sponsor this year’s Front Street Run. Located just a few minutes north of the Wine Country, the location offers among the area’s most comfortable hotel arrangements around. Conveniently located near the hot air baloon rides, golf courses and other attractions unique to the region, it was good to have a nice place to stay that was close to all of the action!

Getting up close and personal with hot rods of this caliber, but also having mostly DRIVERS adorn the streets is one of our favorite parts of this local home-town show. Seeing families gather, clean, and sit back and enjoy each other’s rides is what a hot rodders dream weekend is made of.

IMG_1801In our humble opinion, Saturday’s Show & Shine was definitely one of the best to date. All of the event’s featured rides parked and sat stationary, so enthusiasts of all walks and ages had the opportunity to look under the hoods and take a peek at the sweet mills powering these cool rides.

All-in-all, this year’s Temecula Rod Run was a two-day event that brought out some of Southern California’s best in the rod and custom scene, and it’s one that enthusiasts will be looking forward to next year. If next year’s Rod Run turns-out to be as promising as this year’s installment, then we have no doubts that the event will continue to be a Temecula, motoring favorite for years to come.

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Not only this, but with the annual celebration of everything rod and custom, the Rod Run promises to keep the Wine Country’s hot rod culture very much alive and well. Who knows, the Temecula rodding legacy may even extend itself to more of the younger generations of gearheads and open up the event, stay tuned!

Check out our exclusive Rod Authority 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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