Bakersfield was unusually cool last weekend. Roughly two hours northeast of Los Angeles, the city has an interesting backstory, including a pioneering force in country music and the largest oil producing region in the country.
According to Wiki, “Bakersfield is the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield’s population is approximately 365,000,making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation.
The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of approximately 464,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States.
For the last 42 years, it’s also been the home of NSRA’s Western Street Rod Nationals, held at the quaint Kern County Fairgrounds. Rod Authority was on the ground for the 2018 installment of this hot rod hoedown and a good time was had by all.
We got there bright and early on Friday morning and got rock star parking for our RV onsite, right next to the action. We grabbed our gear and headed out to suss out the sights, smells and sounds. Here’s are some ramblings–in no particular order–on this important, west coast hot rod show.
There’s A Lot Of Hot Rods In Central California
We were amazed at how many great cars there were at the show. A good turn out of Tri-Fives, Early Fords and trucks was a given, but we saw a lot of Mopars, orphan cars–AMCs, Packards, Bricklins etc–and later cars as well. NSRA just raised eligibility all the way to 1988 too. The caliber of car was pretty high with many seasoned showgoers well skilled in honing their car to look good on the grass.
A Lot Of Out-Of-Work Barbers
There seems to be a new addition to the obligatory car show outfit of cargo shorts, Tevas and Hawaiian shirts. We saw many gents with pony tails down to their belt. Don’t know where this is coming from but it seems to be a trend. You author isn’t immune from a ribbing either. As an avid Corvette owner, a colleague of mine recently asked me when I would dust off my “Jorts,” aka jean shorts for springtime ‘Vette shows…Everyone’s a wiseguy these days…
“Party On Wayne!”
Folks here were having a good time. Kids running around, folks grilling and congregating. Car shows are the great equalizer for young, old, blue collar and white collar folks. What a great family event, the kids can hang out together and the guys can crack a beer and get all the news of their buddy’s build. The wives can set up shop and let get the wine and beer flow.
Older Builds Were Out In Full Force
Remember “Eliminator,” the ’33 Roadster in the ZZ Top video? Kind of like that. Think salmon colored customs with pink and baby blue zig-zag stripes down the side and enough grey tweed upholstery to sink a ship.
How about a rod with a yellow and purple color scheme, 15″ wheels and tall blackwall tires? We dig all eras of rods but the turnout was remarkable. We saw all sorts of Miami Vice, Billetmobiles and it was good fun! Only a matter of time before they’re cool again.
I would say ten percent of the cars at the show were for sale. We predict with graying demographics of the hot rod world, there will be a glut of cool customs and hot rods on the auction block. This is a great time to buy a restored car, custom or hot rod.
NSRA Knows How To Throw A Party
The event was run very smoothly, with attractions for all age groups and genders. There was the swap meet, crafts building and many vendors as well. We really dug the free safety inspection that was offered to entrants as well. All of us at Rod Authority wanted to thank the National Street Rod Association for their hospitality and a great show! See you next year!!