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History So Cal back in the day...

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 1stGrumpy, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,058

    from Colorado

    I was born in Reno and one of my early memories was going to Lake Tahoe. The two things I always remember was being car sick and my dad having to pull over several times due to the car over heating. Went to a wedding in Tahoe City last summer and I drove the motorhome and my wife drove her Porsche. We lucked out and got a spot at the state campground and had million dollar views for $9 a night!
    lbcd likes this.
  2. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    Hey LBCD,
    Even as small as the actual Lake Tahoe is compared to the big So Cal metropolis areas, I remember many hot rods driving around, back in those days. It might be because it is on the border of Nevada and California. The south shore draws a lot of people from both sides of the Stateline. The massive amounts of pine tree lined streets made for many photographic opportunities.

    From the 60's to the 70's, the same style of hot rods were all over the place. Plus it is only a 200 mile drive from the SF Bay Area and only 120 miles from Sacramento. A days drive at the least, draws the whole bay area hot rod contingent to this pristine area. For all of us in So Cal, a long, 9 hour+ drive does it every time.

    Animals, 1965 said it best:
    "We gotta get out of this place
    If it's the last thing we ever do.
    We gotta get out of this place,
    'Cause girl, there's a better life for me and you."
    Ron Funkhouser, Mark Hinds and LBCD like this.
  3. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    upload_2017-7-15_4-20-25.png 1963

    In doing some research on the 1963 version of the famed, Chizzler, I ran across this cool photo taken in Palos Verdes. We had filmed the original Chizzler at Riverside in 1959. It was a visiting FED from Chicago and a record setter back then…

    This newer version with a different chassis was just as powerful and sleek, still using the famous up swept exhaust pipes. The backdrop for the photo was an interesting So Cal event.

    Back in 1961, the freighter, Dominator, ran aground on the West Coast, right in the middle of Palos Verdes. At Lunada Bay, the freighter created So Cal’s next tourist site. The cliffs were inundated with people from all over the world.
    upload_2017-7-15_4-23-30.png Lunada Bay

    From the Lunada Bay Association archives:

    Photo By Robert J. Boser EditorASC (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

    The Greek freighter S.S. Dominator ran aground near Lunada Bay (just below Rocky Point) in 1961. It was carrying over 10,000 tons of wheat and beef from the Pacific Northwest. The ship was traveling close to the coast in dense fog, as the crew was preparing for a fuel stop in Los Angeles Harbor the ship was caught in the rocky reefs along the Palos Verdes coastline. After several attempts to return the ship to sea, it was abandoned and heavy surf drove the ship further into the rocks.

    In the years following the wreck, the local lobster population fed on the leftover grain. A 1962 LA Times article “Shipwreck Is Headache to Palos Verdes People”, documents how the rotting meat was eventually set on fire to eliminate the spoiled meat odor that permeated the entire peninsula.

    The ship has slowly been breaking up and melting away as the wreckage shifts between the rocks along the coast for the past 50+ years, very little remains visible above the water. Today it is a popular shoreline hike (as long as you are able to navigate the steep cliffs) during low tide. The wreckage underwater is also popular with area divers.

    South Bay News:
    The local authorities had their hands full with the aftermath caused by the Dominator’s destruction for many years. During the following decades the ship continued to break apart, scattering and littering its decaying rusty debris along the coast and out along the ocean’s floor. The ship was host to many partying daredevil locals during the ‘60s and ‘70s, adding to its lore and legend.

    But, it also made the So Cal surfers hungry for waves. Lunada Bay already had good waves, but this wrecked freighter was ripe for setting up some tasty rides. (Like a new point break surf spot.) Without the wrecked freighter, the spot was a great place to surf, but with this new intrusion, the vibe was not fun.

    This part of the coastline is exposed to the west and north. During the winter months, the waves and swells ravish anything in sight. With the freighter locked into the beach, it was a zoo, so we never went back.


    Last edited: Jul 22, 2017
  4. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,316


    The Dominator wreck of 1961, I was there at the age of 4 years old!!! The family loaded up the '57 Ford wagon and hauled us up to a field in Palos Verdes and we walked through weeds until we got to the edge of the cliff and sure enough there was a ship, still with its boilers going, just a short distance from the cliffs. IIRC there were a lot of people who did the same pilgrimage as we did. This was an incredible sight to behold for a kid of 4-years old. I can say I was part of the experience.
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  5. CA. 280
    Joined: Jan 8, 2010
    Posts: 180

    CA. 280

    Santa Monica, 1968. Moved there in 1962. our 33 ford.jpg Traded the 33 for a 53 Ford P/U to move family back to SF Bay Area
    due to transfer.
  6. quicksilverart46
    Joined: Dec 7, 2016
    Posts: 324


    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  7. quicksilverart46
    Joined: Dec 7, 2016
    Posts: 324


    I thought that '55 wagon looked familiar . did you by chance sell it to Dick Craford the Pinstriper who had a shop on Citrus in Covina? I lived in West Covina

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
  8. I bought it from a guy that was a painter, it had a lot of spilled paint on the inside of the tailgate. I guess the tailgate was his mixing table! He either lived or had a shop on Citrus, just south of Arrow Hwy. It was completely stock then, I think I gave him $350.00 for it. As I remember, I sold it to a Mexican fellow that lived in Azusa sometime in early '68.
  9. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    upload_2017-8-19_5-1-34.png upload_2017-8-19_5-1-47.png upload_2017-8-19_5-2-0.png
    1960 Going to the drive-in theaters:

    The trend started in the late 40's and continued into the 80's. One by one, they dropped out because the property was more valuable for industries, building homes, condos, and shopping centers. Before the developments, some of them turned into warehouse facilities, religious centers, and swap meets.
    upload_2017-8-19_5-11-2.png Goleta
    One of our favorite “swap meets at a drive in” was at the Santa Barbara (Goleta) drive in. There were very few commercial merchants. It was mostly people cleaning out their garages with cool stuff. We bought our son’s first Sims (Santa Barbara local) wooden skateboard deck for a scooter. It was in excellent condition, even though it was only a dollar.
    upload_2017-8-19_5-5-38.png upload_2017-8-19_5-9-42.png
    upload_2017-8-19_5-20-41.png upload_2017-8-19_5-21-9.png
    upload_2017-8-19_5-21-37.png 40 ft. containers replacing cars
    upload_2017-8-19_5-24-11.png upload_2017-8-19_5-24-25.png
    upload_2017-8-19_5-24-39.png upload_2017-8-19_5-24-50.png garbell photo
    They were hung on door jams or lowered car windows. I still have one of these car speakers left from a set of two that we used as speakers in our backyard garage during the Willys build in 1960. Now, it is used as a book end in our office.

    Back in the 50's and 60's, the drive-in theaters were in almost every city of California. Dress as you please, bring whatever food or drink you want, bring in the funky window speaker, and clean your windshield for a great evening with the families.

    When teenagers got their cars, it was a great Friday night adventure. It was cruise the drive-in parking area and then choose the best viewing site. Bring in the speaker or two, (for early stereo) or roll down the windows and sit back for an enjoyable night out. It could be a bunch of friends in their cars, or just a single date.

    But, if you were on a single date, watch out for your friends cruising near your car tossing water balloons or yelling stuff when they drive by your row. Families were usually in the middle or front rows. The teenagers were usually in the back rows. Ha! The bad thing was if it rained or the early frost came to clog up the windows. The movie still played on to the end, you just had to run the wipers.

    But, the ever popular advertisements on the huge screen were not to be forgotten. There was a study done on subliminal effects of the advertising on the bottom of the screens. The ad may say: "Buy your favorite hot dog or chili dog at the snack bar, now." The researchers said this was not correct form of advertising as it did get into everyone's brains. It mentioned that they were hungry and buy those hot dogs.

    (The gov't did away with the same form of advertising on televisions much later.) This was different than the intermission full screen ads showing the actual hot dogs. That was legal.

    Drive in movie theater near Lions.
    When we were not at Lions on a Saturday night, we were at this drive in movie theater about a half mile away. This place was interesting as most drive-ins had a car show almost every time you were there. Some nights, you had to turn up the volume for the movie because the sounds from Lions was so loud. The drag racing sounds were like it was inside the drive in theater parking lot.

    At the Long Beach Drive In theater, it took a lot of strength to not just abandon the movie and go to the dragstrip. Those sounds were really enticing, but, duty called at the drive in theater. Entertainment for the whole family… ha!

    Also, during this time period, the Long Beach area had many drive in theaters, about one in each quadrant of the city. Long Beach Drive In on the Westside, Los Altos in the East, Circle Drive In the South and Lakewood Drive In in the Northern area.
    upload_2017-8-19_5-29-41.png upload_2017-8-19_5-30-24.png upload_2017-8-19_5-29-20.png

    All were very popular and crowded almost every weekend, all year long. But, groups from the local high area schools had to tread lightly if visiting other drive- in theaters not in their “zone.”
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  10. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    Hey Guys,

    Remember, this coming Saturday, August 26: The Automotive Driving Museum in El Segundo (near LAX) will be having their 4th annual Gassers event. They were gracious enough to run my gas coupes and sedan photos and movies during last year’s event. Hopefully, they can run them again. The composite movies are from Lions, Riverside Raceway, and Bakersfield. (1958-60, plus the 1964 All Gasser event at Lions.) But, the showcase are the cars that get better looking every year. There are a lot of gas coupes and sedans rolling around So Cal.

    This year, I sent them the latest “sound” movie of Junior Thompson at Lions in 1959. This black Studebaker was one of the most consistent winners in all of the gas coupes and sedan classes. Every week, it was in the winner’s circle with the ever present Lions Dragstrip trophy. I am sure he has one of those coveted, red Lions class winner jackets. If you cannot make the event, here is the edited, sound movie from 1959.

    Junior Thompson movies early 1959 Lions ,
    Sound: September 1959 Detroit Nationals,
    Edited 2017

  11. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    upload_2017-10-14_4-28-36.png L.B. Marine Stadium security guard
    upload_2017-10-14_4-29-46.png Crossover from custom cars, hot rodding, and drag boat racing…Joe Andersen.
    “Joe Andersen was a legendary custom car painter and pinstripers from Gardena, California. Joe started his pinstriping and custom paint business in a little garage on 64th street in Los Angeles, just about 80 feet east of Normandie Avenue, near Ansen Automotive. Louis Senter, the founder of Ansen, encouraged Joe and was a mentor for the aspiring artist. Joe did a lot of engineering for Louie in the early days as well.” Thanks, Kustomrama

    So Cal is a hot bed of automotive activity. A lot of famous race car builders, painters, and manufacturers were/are all over the huge basin. (let alone, the custom car/hot rod magazines in the LA county area) So the influence of those builders and mfg. companies on the local hot rod scene was tremendous.

    Weekends at the many (9+) dragstrips over the years was the thing to do for the locals. The climate is the main reason for those fun outdoor activities all year around. What is better than going to your local dragstrip one Saturday/Sunday?

    Then, the cool thing is that families were able to spend time seeing some of the same drag racers in fast, flat bottom and hydro hulls at the nearby Marine Stadium the next weekend? Sometimes, it was the drags on Saturday and the beach/boating (drags, circle or water skiing) at the Marine Stadium on Sunday.


    In 1967, the Long Beach Marine Stadium held a huge weekend Drag Boat Festival Race event. The drag boats were very colorful, with some of the top names from the dragstrip, racing their boats, too. The racing was hectic, the pits were easily accessible and the surrounding scenes were also great.

    Sometime in the 70’s, drag boat racing was halted in the Marine Stadium, due to excessive noise. (homes with backyards were built adjacent to the stadium) A revival event was held in 1995, put on by an old HS/College friend who was one of the only 90+mph barefoot skiers in the area.

    Here is the “classic” security guard from 50 years ago. Protect and serve… (look in the background and see how close some of the homes were to the marine stadium. That was one of the main reasons the drag boats were banned from weekly racing meets.)

    upload_2017-10-14_4-33-3.png early years, LB Marine Stadium
    upload_2017-10-14_4-34-50.png In the water start ups prior to a drag boat race.

    “One of the world's premier water skiing facilities. Sand beach, rest rooms, picnicking and ample parking. A great location to rent for a special event. Rates are available on request. The stadium was the site for the 1932 Olympic Rowing competition and the 1968 Olympic rowing trials. Marine Stadium was recently designated as an official state historic site.

    Water skiing is permissible in designated areas only between 8 a.m. and sunset.

    Rowing is allowed from sunrise to 8 a.m. Before sunrise and after sunset, rowing is allowed only with the proper running lights and observing the 5 mile per hour speed limit.

    Yearly big boating event: So Cal Speedboat Club’s August 5-6 ARP Long Beach Sprint Nationals presented by Nick Rose Ins, Marine Stadium, Long Beach, CA"
  12. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826




    Yesterday, I posted this in another HAMB thread. but, for all of the So Cal hot rodders, time to pitch in some kind of effort to save one of the oldest car shows in So Cal. It seems like the Belmont Shore Business Association still has major sponsors, but their expertise is not running the car show.

    They need a car club or hot rod association to help run the event. If the Bay City Rodders are dwindling, maybe another club could co-host the event? Maybe three hot rod clubs? (a collective of some kind?) Something needs to be done to save this great, annual event for the last 28 years. Club exposure to the general public, charity event, tax purposes, etc.

    The public obviously loves this event as 2nd Street is closed from Livingston on the western end to Bayshore Drive on the east. Blocks and blocks of hot rod entertainment every September. A perfect setting for an all day outing at or near the beach.


    The Belmont Shore Car Show (28 years) is very close to the annual Seal Beach Car Show (30 years) just down the coast that is expanding all of the time. But, the two car shows at two different times of the year (Seal Beach: April, Belmont Shore: September) should keep the public’s attention on attending these events for the future.

    upload_2017-10-18_3-58-34.png upload_2017-10-18_3-58-52.png
    upload_2017-10-18_3-59-10.png upload_2017-10-18_3-59-39.png
    upload_2017-10-18_3-59-55.png 2017 Belmont Shore, Long Beach

    Today, I researched one of my favorite car shows in So Cal. We had been going to this show off and on since it started 28 years ago. It is held in our old cruising area of southeast Long Beach. Belmont Shore area of Long Beach is bordered by the ocean on one side, Alamitos Bay to the east, and a huge ocean front, grassy cliff side, boardwalk park to the north. 14 city blocks of cool, custom cars and hot rods to end the summer season in So Cal. Plus, Domenico’s Italian Restaurant (best Pizza and salad in So Cal) is also a 63 year old tradition that can’t be missed anytime or during any event.
    But, there were some rumblings before this year’s show and here is the story.

    The whole So Cal area car clubs, community groups, car associations,etc, needs to step up to help preserve one of the longest running car shows in the area. A big tax write off for some corporation, organization, or club?

    “The Bay City Rodders Car Club produces the Belmont Shore Car Show in conjunction with the Belmont Shore Business Association. Over the years of producing car shows the Bay City Rodders Car Club has donated 100% of the show’s profits to various charities. The total donations over the years have exceeded $375,000.

    The show is held on 2nd Street in Belmont Shore which is part of Long Beach. A large number of blocks of 2nd Street are closed off for the day and the show takes place on the city street. This is a terrific location because this section of Belmont Shore is loaded with restaurants and shops so there is plenty to do and see. The show draws about 500 vehicles and boasts a huge number of street vendors selling automotive related goods as well as many other things. Because the show draws a huge spectator crowd, it has a terrific amount of excitement and energy. This one is not to be missed whether you have a car or just come to look at cars. The level of quality of the cars at this show is second to none. If you want to see a huge number of the finest rods, muscle cars, and customs to be found in Southern California, you don’t want to miss this show.”

    “The Bay City Rodders Seal Beach may ends its involvement in the Belmont Shore Car Show, a 28-year tradition that brings hundreds of vintage vehicles to Second Street. The event, which takes place Sunday, is organized by the Seal Beach club in collaboration with two other area car clubs. But Jim Davis, event coordinator for the Seal Beach club, said its membership has dropped over the years. “There are too few people to try to coordinate it with,” Davis said. “It’s very difficult and most members are up in age.”

    Dede Rossi, executive director of the Belmont Shore Business Asociation, said she will search another organizer. “After the show this year I will talk with other groups who might have an interest in taking over,” Rossi said in an email. She also said she didn’t have any in mind, but believes the show will continue.

    Davis said membership in the Seal Beach club has gone from a peak of 50 families in the late 1990s to about 33 families now. Some have moved and retired, or sold their cars and lost interest, he said. The Sultans of Long Beach and American Outlaws also help coordinate entrants and cars during the show, and all three clubs bring about 60 of the show’s 450 entries.

    Bill Barger, entrant coordinator, said the show is among the best. “There are few shows with shopping centers, places you can go eat,” Barger said. The cars, of course, are the main draw. Barger owns a 1957 Chevy Bel Air. Davis said most of the show’s entries are street rods that haven’t been around for at least 20 years. He owns a bright red 1932 Roadster.

    Cars built in all decades will be featured. Davis said they are seeing a lot more 1950s and 1960s vehicles, which many of the participants knew as kids. “I go to quite a few shows,” Davis said. “For some reason, this one’s the cream of the crop.” Organizers hope the event continues. “It’s sad,” Davis said. “If we had another year or two (of the show), maybe we could grow (show entries/membership).” The event also includes vendors selling everything from mortuary services to apparel to haircuts. The show runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday along 14 blocks of Second Street.

    Road closures will be from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or until Second Street is clear) with Second Street closed from Livingston Drive to Bay Shore Avenue, and intersecting side streets from Quincy to Claremont avenues closed to the alleys both north and south. Bay Shore Avenue will remain open to traffic. Organizers recommend people park at Ocean Boulevard beach lots and the Marine Stadium on Appian Way, or using alternative transportation modes.”

    From The Long Beach Grunion Newspaper:
    Belmont Shore Car Show Needs Operator

    "It was widely reported last month that the Bay City Rodders car club was stepping away from the Belmont Shore Car Show. For the last 28 years, club members have handled everything from entry registration to where particular cars parked. The Belmont Shore Business Association sponsors the show and has a hand in vetting one day vendors, but the car issues came to the club.

    But the club has dwindled in size, and has now officially dropped the organizer role for the car show. So Dede Rossi, BSBA executive director, and the BSBA board have begun the search for a new organizer. She said the show would continue to be on the second Sunday in September.

    For those interested in applying, or interested in finding out if they are interested, Rossi asks that they email her at to set up an interview."

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  13. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,058

    from Colorado

    At the risk of taking this thread sideways, I'd like to offer some observations on jnaki's post on the Belmont Shores Car Show. First off, I know first hand how burnout becomes a major factor in promoting a car show or event...especially when you're depending on a volunteer work force. Most of the OFC members are living in an era that has had a major culture shift that's hard to define. Neither my wife or myself do FB and there's no doubt that we're missing information about people we know and missed events that happened last week. I watch kids standing in a group texting each other rather than talking to one another. Sad to say, shows and events like the BSCS are going to become victims of this culture shift.

    Observations/rants over.
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  14. bchctybob
    Joined: Sep 18, 2011
    Posts: 1,386


    I did re-create the '56 that Gene took some of us neighborhood guys to the beach, cruisin and to Lions Drag Strip in. I still have some interior stuff to do but the overall look is just like his car looked in 1963-64 (except for radials). I was 13 then. It's Matador red with a 350 dressed up like the 340 hp 327 Gene had in his. I have collected parts for a real 327 so when time (and $$) permit I'll make the change - probably with a 4 spd. (Gene's had 3 on the tree then later a floor shift)
    Next will be a semi re-creation of the Sam Conrad '29 highboy roadster with the Olds and Halibrands. He used to hang out at Westchester Auto Body with boat racer Jack Seibergh (sp?) and some other L.A. Roadster guys. It was a great neighborhood to be a kid in.
    july2017 (15).JPG IMG_0405.JPG Kngdn 2017 (3).JPG
  15. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826




    Ever since this giant orange pumpkin went up 65 years ago, it was a tradition for our family to pile into the big 1952 4 door Buick and take a drive, a short distance away from our Westside Long Beach house to Wilmington, CA. When it first came up, my dad’s old friends in San Pedro called and told him about it. Then it became a yearly thing, until we were too old to go trick or treating.

    Later during those dating/cruising days, Halloween drives to Wilmington became an annual event. Even my wife was awed, later in 1968-69, during our So Cal driving days to the South Bay and Western Los Angeles.


    One year, when our son was little, we made the supreme effort to drive all the way from Orange County to Wilmington, just to see the Giant Pumpkin. Then many times later, we made it “a visit to the grandparents in Long Beach” along with the Big Orange Pumpkin in Wilmington. It also tied into the viewing of “The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

    “Smilin’ Jack” is back and ready for his close-ups at the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery, 1660 W. Anaheim St., in Wilmington, between the 110 Freeway and Gaffey Street. A 65-year-old tradition, the tank-turned-pumpkin requires more than 100 gallons of orange, black and white paint. (Photo by Stephen Carr / Daily Breeze/SCNG) It was a whimsical, quirky idea, perhaps done as something of a public relations lark that first year.

    But when refinery workers in 1952 rolled a huge vat of orange, black and white paint onto a 3-million-gallon tank in Wilmington, it sparked what has become an enduring Halloween tradition that shows no signs of retiring after 65 years.

    Smilin’ Jack — billed as the world’s biggest jack-o-lantern — has delighted generations of families who drive in from far and wide every year, many in costume, to get a close-up view of the giant icon.

    People keep coming to the Phillips 66 Los Angeles Refinery at 1660 W. Anaheim St., adding that more than 20,000 people visit the Great Pumpkin every year. He’s just a tradition in the community and is part of the family.”

    An instant hit

    “The squat oval tank painted like a pumpkin debuted at what was then the Union Oil refinery and drew instant attention. News reports the next year — when the popular holiday decor was repeated — said it took 21 man-hours to paint the face onto a Hortensphere No. 304 tank, then used to store natural gasoline. The annual pumpkin is still a working tank, but no longer stores gasoline.

    In a few short years, the refinery pumpkin was a thing.

    According to a Port of Los Angeles archive article, “Life” Magazine in 1956 profiled Darrell Stuart, the contractor hired by Union Oil to paint the pumpkin. Festivities around the icon grew bigger and more elaborate over the years. In 1955, Union Oil staged an elaborate photo shoot with a tepee encampment for children, and a 1968 ad for Union 76 oil featured the Great Pumpkin, proclaiming “Community Relations (like corporate growth) is no small thing to Union Oil.”
    upload_2017-10-29_6-0-26.png upload_2017-10-29_6-0-39.png
    “Today, the painting process has been honed to a quick science, with scaffolding going up in early October for the job that has become somewhat routine, though the results continue to awe.

    What’s the allure?

    The giant jack-o-lantern can be seen for miles around after it is lit up (with solar lights) at night. His triangle eyes and nose are 18 feet high each and his gap-toothed grin is 73 feet wide. The teeth are 4 feet square.

    Altogether, more than 100 gallons of orange, black and white paint are used each year. Refinery engineers once calculated that if the tank were filled with pumpkin meat, there would be enough to make 26.8 million pumpkin pies.
    Cars packed with children in costume line up on Anaheim Street each night to enter the facility, where employees toss out caramel corn.

    No retirement in sight

    Even though he’s 65 this year, Smilin’ Jack isn’t ready for Social Security.
    He’s officially a senior citizen. But, there would be a pretty good outcry from the public if they retired Jack. It’s just a South Bay tradition.

    It’s almost just as much fun for the adults, “Everybody turns into a kid — because it’s Halloween.”
  16. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 815


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  17. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    late 20's PCH Highway 1, Santa Monica...
    You think the coastal Santa Monica beaches and highway are crowded on a holiday, today? Take a look at this photo, just before the Sunset Blvd interchange.


    Living in So Cal there are always times that you wish flying jet packs were the item that you alone could have and use. Since the early 60’s freeways made travel faster than the surface streets, cars have been multiplying on the roads like bunnies on a spree. But, the long hours spent in the So Cal streets and freeways gives one time to figure out when to drive on them and when it is totally useless to even try.

    A long time ago, you could leave Long Beach and drive up to Los Angeles at any time without much traffic on the surface streets. But as the years went on, timing was the key. My dad used to take the Alameda Corridor directly to LA and back every day. But, the Long Beach freeway was used coming home later during the early evening.

    Today, that drive up the Santa Monica-Malibu coast line on Highway 1 is only crowded on the weekends and holidays. (unless of course there is a movie or tv show filming on location, then the traffic slows) During the week, it is as pristine as it gets. The drive up or back is a wonderful example of So Cal. Plus, there are a bunch of cool restaurants and diners for those rest stops and views.

    When the hot rod events in El Segundo, Venice, Santa Monica have concluded, there are numerous cars cruising up the coastline. When the Ventura Fairground/Santa Barbara events have concluded, the reverse is true, hot rods coming back into the LA basin down Coast Highway.

    One other spot for viewing cars is the eclectic Venice Beach just to the left or south of Santa Monica, right on the water/beach. There are always cruisers or hot rods driving all over the place.

    Hopefully, being Wednesday, in the middle of the week, the traffic will be less on our drive up to Santa Barbara to visit friends and family. But, the coastal drive is always nice regardless of the weather.
  18. Gman0046
    Joined: Jul 24, 2005
    Posts: 5,189


    J.Naki, you've got a lot of great stuff. Thanks for sharing and keep it coming. Nostalgia is where its at especially from someone like you who was "There".

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  19. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826



    North Coast Highway past Malibu
    Campus Point


    Thanks for the nice comments. We decided that this holiday vacation, we were going to Santa Barbara to see some family and friends. A reunion of sorts for the both of us loomed ahead. But, like the story from the 20’s, we hoped to have less traffic going up. The coastal drive is always preferable to the inland freeway. Somehow, the first thing that told us we needed an alternate route was the jam up on the 405 north in Long Beach.

    Going up the 605 to the I-5 north was then chosen, all trying to get on the 10 west to Santa Monica and the coast drive. The dreaded LA interchange was not that bad on Wednesday morning around 10 am. It took us less than 1 hour from South Orange County to the Staples Center in downtown LA. From there, it took us 25 minutes to Malibu and the wonderful coastal drive.
    Point Magu Rock

    It was a reunion drive (complete with excerpts from stories) to Santa Barbara as my wife and I had done this trip a zillion times. Those trips included the awful storm drive in 1969 with a quick stop over at the Holiday Inn in Goleta. Coming back from Big Sur down the coast in driving rain was not pleasurable.

    Not only was it a driving rain sideways with some sections of the dark Coastal Highway 1, thick with fog, but there were no lights other than the headlights of the El Camino. The wide Inglewood Pos A Traction Red Line tires looked and handled well in the dry times, but in the driving rain, it was driving on a cloud at times.


    The odd thing was, in 1966, the Holiday Inn just happen to have one last room upstairs overlooking the pool. We were happy to be off of that terrible road and weather. Jump up 51 years and we just happen to have a similar room upstairs overlooking the pool this Wednesday through Friday in the same resort.

    But, the place is now called the Kimpton Goodland. They took over the Holiday Inn and revamped the whole complex to look like a 60’s surfer, beach style, décor, complete with a pristine, 50 Ford Woody and 1967 Airstream Trailer out front on display.

    There were several hot rods and cruiser cars in the parking lot. While driving through town, we saw a 67 Nova hot rod/cruiser with a big motor sound. While having our dinner downtown, a 56 Chevy lowered truck with the same big motor sound came cruising down the main street, along with several 50’s era sedans. Of course, this lowered, Comet Station Wagon stood out, cruising down State Street.
    1965 Mercury Comet Station Wagon

    On family and friends: We saw some relatives that we haven’t seen for 17+ years. Everything has changed, but yet, nothing has changed. Except for that cool, upgraded, resort hotel.
    1967 Airstream...Rita Hayworth

    upload_2017-11-26_4-35-40.png one of many outdoor patio areas
    resort: Kimpton Goodland 60's era styling
    upload_2017-11-26_4-37-43.png formerly the Holiday Inn, now Goodland.
    upload_2017-11-26_4-38-17.png open for lounging around or ???
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2017
  20. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 3,616

    Hot Rods Ta Hell

    Magu State beach is a terrific place to camp-right on the beach (RV's can be seen in the foreground of your picture).
    There's a high, steep sand bluff across PCH that our kids used to love to stopon the drive, climb for a great view, then slide all the way down.
    Just south is Leo Carillo beach, which is a great beach for the family; tidepools, caves to explore and a nice little reef break to surf. It's one of my favorite beaches as there's a pedestrian tunnel under PCH that hails from a quaint campground nestled in the canyon. A great place to camp. Dozens of movie and TV shows were filmed there (grease, Gidget, etc.) Steve McQueen lived nearby and was said to frequent the beach. I read one account where he rolled up on his Indian bike.

  21. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826



    Yes, the Pt. MUGU State Beach stretch of parallel highway also provides the last high speed passing lane on this coastal drive. There are times when local trucks and rubber necking tourists put on their brakes at the slightest curve or bump, so it is a possibility to get behind slow moving vehicles. Leo Carrillo Beach is known to us as Secos or Arroyo S.

    The "County Line" between Ventura County and Los Angeles County has a pretty good surf history. It mostly breaks well in the summer months with a few west swell rollers coming in during the late fall and spring. The beach is usually crowded with parking at a minimum all along the beach highway. The other attraction to this site is the famous restaurant across Coast Highway 1, Neptune’s Net.

    For many years, the area out in front of the restaurant was just a dirt plot of land. It has been a motorcycle hangout for years, but the hot rodders usually could be found parked out in front anytime of the year. When we came up to this area in the early 60’s, the restaurant was a life saver as far as food for starving surfers from across the highway. The waves were pretty good, a few surfers out, and the day was enjoyable when we knew food was just a walk across the busy highway. (the surf was fun, but, not as good as Secos up the coast or Malibu Point down south)

    But, later on we drove up this route to Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, Big Sur, and points north for a great coastal drive, sometimes ending up in San Francisco. The ratio of hot rods to motorcycles was about even when we were here in 61,62,63,66,67,68 and the early 90’s. With the popularity of motorcycles, today, the front is reserved only for motorcycles and the hot rod cars are relegated to the small parking area on either side of the restaurant property.


    On our most recent drive down the coast, last week, we had planned on dining at Neptune’s Net. But, by the time we got there before noon, the beach highway was packed for at least a mile and the parking lots at Neptune’s Net was packed, too. Where were the motorcycles? They were all jammed up in the paved “motorcycle only” area in front of the restaurant. The Friday afternoon crowd was everywhere. Needless to say, a fine lunch in Trancas, just down the road was called for this time.

    In scouring the internet for hot rod cars at Neptune’s Net, there were only a few.

    upload_2017-12-2_8-9-37.png upload_2017-12-2_8-10-9.png
    upload_2017-12-2_8-10-23.png upload_2017-12-2_8-10-36.png
    “Los Angeles officially ends at County Line Beach. Cars perpetually round the blind corners of this strip of Pacific Coast Highway—Porsche Carreras, rented Camrys, beat up Volkswagens with longboards strapped to the roof—any of which could brake abruptly to snag a spot on the shoulder so that their driver can jump out and into the waves.”

    “On one side, County Line is rocks and rotting staircases you have to negotiate to get to the water. On the other, brush and hillsides that are prone to erosion and fire. There is also one restaurant here, at the overgrown border of Los Angeles and the rest of the world: Neptune's Net. It's a crumbling and colorful building that is mostly patio: a daytime watering hole for bikers, local surfers.”
    “The "restaurant side" is the original part of the building. It was built in 1957 and has housed the same deep fryers in the same location for the past 50 years. The back wall is a long refrigerator filled with rare IPAs and seasonal microbrews. As might be expected from a restaurant where shoes but not shirts are required, domestic tallboys are the hot ticket item. After you've grabbed your own drink, you head to the counter, where a laid-back cashier in a t-shirt will ring you up. Signature menu items on the restaurant side include fish & chips, a crab cake burger, and clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl.

    Neptune's Net is, and always has been, a safe place to play hooky. No one will ask what you're doing on the patio, where you can hide outside with the other outsiders. You take your time dipping fries in ketchup or tartar sauce, which, of course, you pumped yourself at the metal counters, where you also got your own plastic utensils and opened your own bottle too.

    The ocean is directly before you, framed by cliffs and that gravel artery the PCH, A few times a year, lucky audiences on the patio catch a high-speed police pursuit or other evidence of what the world has to offer while everyone else is busy following rules.

    The beach break that is Neptune's Net's front yard is surfed mostly by locals, who will be cool with interlopers so long as they don't try to steal their waves. To get back and forth between the beach and the restaurant, you have to jaywalk across the highway. There is a steady flow of foot traffic in each direction. Coming in: surfers with wet stringy hair and half-unzipped wetsuits. Going out: voyeurs carrying tacos they'll eat while watching others in the water below. County Line is world-famous: The Beach Boys sang about it. Bodie surfed it in Point Break.”

    “The restaurant itself is also featured in Point Break and many other movies, including The Fast and the Furious and Iron Man 3 (which didn't film there, but replicated it as part of a fake Malibu that was actually shot in Florida). TV shows like Gossip Girl and The Hills have shot there.

    In the most recent iteration of Grand Theft Auto, you can wander around a video game version of the Net called Hookies (the game did not get permission from the owners), complete with accurate depiction of the outhouse restrooms, which seem to be there less out of logistical necessity than as a way of weeding out patrons who are too good to cop a squat and hold their breaths.

    For all of its unapologetic, undusted ceiling fans and pigeon droppings on the outdoor rafters, it is not unusual to spot a celebrity at Neptune's Net. Barefoot counts and countesses who have eaten at the place include Pierce Brosnan, Owen and Luke Wilson, Cheech Marin, Pink and Carey Hart, and the Neptune's Net of stars: Pamela Anderson.

    The aggressively relaxed people who are indigenous to the area may come for the "seafood side's” colorful crab, lobster, and clams, which are chilled on ice and sold at market price. All of it is quality. None of it is fancy. In the background, the turning over of motorcycle engines punctuates the soundscape like a series of on-schedule trains.”

    “But the eatery has changed very little over the last half-century. And the customers like it that way. The dirt parking lot, with a reserved stretch out front for motorcycles, has been paved, and a local construction worker replaces the wooden tables on the patio as needed. But that's about it. For years, it also has been a draw for celebrities, who come to relax and be left alone in the unpretentious atmosphere.

    Drew Barrymore and her husband, Tom Green, were in a few weeks ago. "She comes in quite a bit when she's not working," Solis said.

    Adam Sandler is a regular. The late Flip Wilson would come in for breakfast on weekends. Cher drove her motorcycle to the seafood shack one Sunday. So has Jay Leno. Tom Hanks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Keanu Reeves, Elizabeth Taylor, Pierce Brosnan, Jerry West, Charlie and Martin Sheen and Nicolas Cage also have frequented the place.

    When the movie "Charlie's Angels" was being filmed nearby, Cameron Diaz and Bill Murray would stop in for lunch. Most recently, a scene from "The Fast and the Furious," which is now playing in theaters, was shot on the restaurant's patio.

    "People come here because it's the epitome of California living. It's got the beach and good weather. And you can sit here and people-watch for hours

    "You can drive up and down the coast, and there's not anything like this. . . . This is the only place around here in the last quarter of a century that hasn't changed."

    During the winter the restaurant is abandoned except for a few locals.”

    …and in the mid 60’s, a touring couple in a red, 1965 El Camino looking for a hot meal and rest.

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2017
  22. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 10,526

    from oregon

    First and foremost, I always look forward to your photo and story contributions to this thread but.............
    Not to sound critical on your spelling but anyone surfing (get it) Google Maps for Magu State Beach could end up in Mongolia or worse TJ.
    I only know this because I saw a movie once with Mugu as the setting and Googled it as I always do when I've never heard of a place in California.
    Hope to get a chance to meet you on one of your trips North as I've noticed many comments about your prior visits to Portland and the Willamette Valley.

    BTW, I promise not to correct you if you pronounce it Will-A-Metty Valley.:D
    That's how my Aunt from San Diego pronounced it.
    jnaki likes this.
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    Hey D,
    Thank you for the nice comments...Sorry for the wrong spelling...old guy, early morning, only one sip of coffee, scrambled brain thinking of hot rods, weather, and life in general, etc. But, I thought I re-read the whole story twice. (I will try to make fewer errores in the future...) My brain must have over looked that spelling, the eyes and brain combined, play tricks, the older we all get. Yes, it is MUGU not MAGU.

    In this day and age, a Google search does wonders:

    We will be coming up to the Northwest sometime soon, as the area appeals to us a lot. Right after we got married in 1968, sitting around talking with our friends/neighbors, we were filled with stories from the San Juan Islands and the whole Northwest area. Our neighbors grew up on Whidbey Island and until they moved to So Cal after college, were "locals" up there. Our first trip up there many years later, locked in the "likes," Portland area? That was a discovery, for sure. It will always be our favorite drive...The Columbia River (out: on the Oregon side, back: on the Washington side) to the Maryhill Winery.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2017
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  24. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 10,526

    from oregon

    My wife and I honeymooned at Friday Harbor S.J.I. then Victoria, B.C.
    Now were talking beautiful country.
    Ron Funkhouser and jnaki like this.
  25. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,058

    from Colorado

  26. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826


    upload_2017-12-21_5-33-44.png upload_2017-12-21_5-33-55.png upload_2017-12-21_5-34-11.png upload_2017-12-21_5-34-21.png
    In order for the custom paint scheme on our favorite cement mixer trucks, I painted one side for a custom Robertson and the other for Gary Bale Redi Mix.


    What is more So Cal than construction of new homes in order for more people flowing into a newer section of their lives? These trucks are always on the road everywhere in So Cal. It is fascinating that homes can be built on a poured concrete slab just about anywhere. Watching the process involves many people, but the finished product is pretty amazing.

    We have been in So Cal for so long that we have used two separate cement companies for patio cement pour and a driveway pour. One was the 48 year old company, Robertson’s and the other one, Gary Bale Redi Mix have been pouring concrete for 43 years. Their trucks are similar in that they use the Mc Neilus concrete trucks with a few differences.

    One was my son’s favorite as he always said, “Look, the flame cement truck!” knowing I loved flame painting and drawing. The hot rod look on a giant cement truck…is/was outstanding. I can’t imagine what the flame painter said when he was contracted to paint all of the red trucks. Or... what he said as he was painting the custom flames on the mixer.
    I know my son and his friends loved seeing the flames rotate as the mixture is being tossed around in the semi-hollow container. Geez... I was always impressed with the idea that someone had painted custom flames on a cement mixer.
    upload_2017-12-21_5-37-56.png upload_2017-12-21_5-38-12.png The Robertson's red trucks stand out just because they are red. But, there are so many of them rolling around So Cal to all of the construction sites, they are hard to miss. Especially, if they are in your rear view mirror.


    Both of the companies' red and white cement trucks have been all over So Cal for the past 40+ years. You can’t help but see one daily. With all of the construction going on in South Orange County, we will continue to see these trucks for a long time to come. A new concrete garage floor, driveway, or outside patio? Your cement contractor will probably contract out one of these company’s red cement mixers.
    BEACH CITIES OFF RAMP to Dana Point from I-5 NORTH

    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  27. 65pacecar
    Joined: Sep 22, 2010
    Posts: 511

    from KY, AZ

    I love Neptune's Net, I stop, there frequently, excellent Crab Cakes, always some nice bikes and vintage cars hanging around. Saw an incredible Unrestored Indian Chief there recently.

    Sent from my GT-N5110 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    Ron Funkhouser and jnaki like this.
  28. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 2,826



    The start of one of the best coastal, beachside cruiser/hot rod drives in So Cal:
    upload_2018-2-22_5-0-59.png 1931

    The above photo is the start of the beach side cruising route from Seal Beach, CA South, to all points along the So Cal coastline. This is an old 1931 photo of Anaheim Bay in Seal Beach. It was before the whole area got reconstructed as a U.S. Naval Ammunition Storage and loading site. (with a man made, deep water harbor to allow Navy ships to dock and load.)

    Just inland, the whole ammo dump looks like a residential community with lamp posts and streets, but holds deadly missiles and other ammo. That pristine beach and the surf breaks were destroyed to make the deep water loading area right before the overhead bridge leading from Seal Beach to Surfside. (see LBCD photo)

    The old railroad tracks ran from Long Beach all the way south to Newport Beach, with many stops along the way. That would have been similar ride to the current Amtrak Railroad from Orange County down to San Diego, with coastal views everywhere.

    Since this old, Surfside Colony Beach is facing south, during the summer, hurricane, south swells, it would have been one of the premier surf spots in So Cal. Much better than the world famous, “Trestles” in South San Clemente. Today, the drive in your cruisers or hot rods is still fabulous at this spot on Coast Highway 1. But, think of the possibilities of this beach front drive down the coast would have been during these early days. Train or car, the experience and views would have been outstanding.


    We have driven this highway a zillion times from 1950 to today. It still has great memories despite the traffic and development. But, this makeover was a loss for So Cal, for hot rodders and surfers...

    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 605


    Thanks for the history
    jnaki likes this.
  30. Jnaki, keep them coming.......this is by far the best history of south county or even coastal So Cal. Was walking down Main st in Seal Beach and driving down Del Mar st in SC last weekend nights. It’s still kind of a bummer not seeing any other old cars at night, but I'll survive.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2018
    jnaki likes this.

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