Around Pleasanton: Car club members reunite, reminisce
By Susan GroshansCorrespondent
Posted: 08/25/2009 09:22:36 PM PDT
THE 32ND GOODGUYS car show last weekend brought hundreds of channeled, sectioned and chopped hot rods to the Alameda County Fairgrounds in Pleasanton.
Thanks to Pleasanton resident Tony Gomes and two historic 16 mm film clips, the show also hosted original members of the Rod and Wheelers Car Club for a 50th anniversary reunion.
Joe Crisafulli started the club in San Jose with six members in 1954. By 1959, it had grown to 25 full custom cars and was named international "Car Club of the Year," with a Swedish car club coming in second.
Now in their 60s and 70s, members of the Rod and Wheelers who attended the reunion were Dennis Gomes, Phil Maccharilla, Lenny Maccharilla, Joe Cardoza, Tony Delmonico, Jerry Devito, and Jack Stanley. Many hadn't seen each other for 50 years and they all credited Tony Gomes, Dennis' son, for the opportunity to reunite.
Tony owns Tri-Valley Auto Glass in town, specializing in contemporary auto glass replacement and fabricating glass for cars from the 1930s through 1970s.
As a second generation hot rod enthusiast, Tony is also a member of The Sidewinders Car Club, which was started in the 1950s by Dave Houston Sr. In recent years, his sons Dave Jr. and Darren Houston resurrected the club which now boasts 17 members, including Tony Gomes, the Houston brothers, Erek Eberstein, Danny Angel, Brian Butler, Ken Harris, Ed Duclair, Mike Simmy and Dave Bond. As the two generations
of hot rod enthusiasts talked on the tree-shaded lawn surrounded by a vibrant selection of full custom cars, Tony recalled finding the film that brought the older men back together.
"My dad's been into cars since the 1950s," Tony Gomes said. "Ever since I could remember, he had a roll of 16 millimeter film in his sock drawer. I took it last year and put it on video. It had footage of an old drag strip in San Jose and club members hanging around."
After posting the video on a hot rod forum, Tony fielded hundreds of responses, including one from Lenny, who lives in Southern California. Lenny contacted Dennis Gomes, now of Angels Camp, Calaveras County, to plan the reunion. Then Lenny convinced his brother, Phil, to bring his newest hot rod down from Reno: The Phantom Zephyr.
The car's design is inspired by The Phantom cartoon character. The body is a 1937 Lincoln Zephyr, but you'd never recognize it now. The two-tone customized version rides low to the ground, is painted with a deep purple body and a black top, and has a back window shaped like a mask. It's definitely a car you'd expect The Phantom to drive.
Memorabilia passed back and forth, including magazines from the 1960s featuring club members, and prompted a flood of memories. Dennis talked about his first car, a 1948 Mercury convertible with a chop Carson top and 1953 Studebaker hubcaps. They told tales of drag racing on the old air strip in San Jose and cruising First Street in Phil's 1950 Plymouth — back when you could go out for an evening on the town with 75 cents in your pocket and come home with change.
There was also the time Charles Manson's bus broke down and his followers camped out for days while Tony Delmonico, who owned the first mag wheel distribution shop in San Jose, fixed the engine — weeks before the group went to L.A. and killed Sharon Tate.
"We didn't know who they were," Lenny recalled. "They just seemed like a bunch of mellow hippies."
The memories bridged a half-century gap and laid a foundation for future get-togethers.
Click on the link above, for the film that got the ball rolling...
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Here is a job that I just finished, before and after. This is a easy extra step to making your bike look "right". Although the newer Cal motorcycle plates are a bit smaller than the 60's Cal motorcycle plates, once on the bike, you are hard pressed to tell. I have done alot of these color changes over the years, and it always makes the car/motorcycle look more vintage and "right". And what cop knows the difference anyhow? If your interested in having your plate(s) painted, just contact me...
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Monday, August 24, 2009
This was a great show, I think that I was 16. Living close to San Francisco in the 1980's was great. Got to see alot of great bands, and go to some great clubs. Found this old flyer, took me back... Bitchin!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Saturday, August 22, 2009
So today, my daughter and I went to this little car show at the Atascadero lake park. This is one of those shows that you go to without any expectations of seeing any one stand-out car. Your usual mix of muscle cars and 55-57 Chevys. A nice Saturday morning walk though. As we were getting ready to leave, we caught a glimpse of a radical kustom 40 Ford tucked away beside the hot dog vender's. This is not the kind of car that one would expect to see in Atascadero. The car turned out to be The Matador II. After a little look through, I asked around and found the owners wife, she knew a little bit about the car, but not much. I guess this car was built in the late 1970's, to the specs of the original car, with the help of Bill Cushenbery, who built the first car (that car burned in the 50's). The car went around the show circuit, was covered in some magazines and put away. Five years ago, a family from Atascadero bought it and that's how it made it's way to the Central Coast. The car is showing it's age a bit, the candy brandy wine lacquer is crazed, but what a piece of kustom art. This area of California blows me away. With guys that worked for Watson & Barris living in Paso, to Valley Customs cars found in local backyards, to this crazy car in Atascadero. All when you least expect it. I guess this has been a retirement area for L.A. for many years though, and that how it comes to be.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Danny Angel of A&H Customs in Livermore Ca. and fellow Sidewinders C.C. member and good friend forever, has just built a new roof for his Model A roadster pickup. As we speak, the top is getting covered in white tuck-n-roll to match the bench seat. The top is made out of maple, and transforms the truck almost into a woodie? It's hard to say what it does, as I have never seen anything like it before, (stationwagon)?
Can't wait to see this top finished. This truck is turning heads wherever it goes. Nice job...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Do you ever wonder why every old frame that you find is cracked? Back before men fired up thier Harleys, and rode 3/4 of a mile to the local coffee house, to spend half the day looking at each others new store bought foot pegs, there were real bikers. Men who rode hard and daily, rain or shine, country road or cow trail. Have you ever tried to explain to a kid what a real biker is? it's like trying to explain acid rock, or an 8-track player. By the way, Martin Lawrence in Wild Hawgs is not what I'm talking about. Every so often, you can still see a true biker, but it is rare. Now I'm not talking about outlaws, I'm talking about the guy you rides for the love of it, because it's in his soul. I just met this last week, a man in his 70's who just got off of a 7,000 mile trip around the U.S and Canada on a Suzuki 400 enduro, fitted with a solo saddle and artillery boxes. Is this guy a real biker? My vote is yes.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Mister Les Paul, who made it possible for modern popular music to exist. Passed away today at the age of 94. Whether your into jazz, blues, rock & roll or pop, his electric guitar is responsible. I have always enjoyed listening to the Les Paul / Mary Ford music. His contribution on this earth was huge and lasting. Not to mention; he made one hell of a punk rock guitar. R.I.P
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Ran across an add in the Hemmings Motor News for this auction house. Looked them up on line and was blown away by the famous cars that were to be sold. Along with what is my personal all time favorite 1940 Ford by Valley Customs, there are Ed Roth cars, Tommy Ivo's Wagon Master, The Deora, ect.
If you look in their other auctions, the cars are just as impressive.
I know this is a rich guys world, and the lamest car will bring BIG dollars, but it is cool to see them. It's cool to see the kind of cars that I like up for auction, and not a bunch of muscle cars going for insane money as on the TV in Arizona.