TR Robertson –Smiles could be seen on the faces of hundreds of car enthusiasts on Sunday as they wandered the streets of Downtown Historic Vista, enjoying the sunshine and close to 400 hot rods, classic cars, vintage cars, low riders, woodies and much more, all part of the 31st Annual Rod Run. MC Pistol Pete and Swell Productions, providing speakers and music, kept the crowds entertained and informed about the days events as the cars competed in over 30 categories, highlighted by the Best in Show Award. Main St., Indiana St., S. Citrus St., and Broadway, as well as numerous parking areas and side areas, were filled with an array of cars of every shape, size, and model. Numerous car clubs were well represented, like The Hooligans, The Drifters and the Hemet Valley Cruisers. Tents were set-up in various area and club members were willing to tell you about their club, their cars and to answer questions about the event
. Several specialty auto vendors, clothing vendors and food tents and food trucks also lined the streets as well, along with people filling the various restaurants for Sunday breakfast and lunch. Event Planner Debbie Medrano of Five Star Premier Events said she felt the large turn-out, the largest of the Rod Run Shows, showed people were ready to get out, enjoy the sunshine and see an amazing display of cars. This is Debbie’s fifth straight Rod Run as the Event Planner.
One unique feature of the car show is the number of classic cars for sale. Wandering up and down the streets I came upon a 1937 Chevy Business Coupe for sale for $32,500, a 1966 Dodge Coronet for $25,000, a 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket, and several others for sale. There was something for every car enthusiast, primary centering on American made automobiles. There was no shortage of Mustangs, Corvettes, T-Birds, Cobras. Oldsmobile’s, Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs, and more. The 1971 Cadillac LeFevre was a classic styled car, and the 1941 Chevy Classic “One Piece at a Time” was a very unusual car. Many cars had incredible paint jobs, one in particular, the 1970 Mustang Mach 1 “70BAD1” was a beautiful candy apple red and the 1950 Chevy 3100 “Betty Jo” a striking blue. Leo Duarte, another proud owner, was putting the final finishing polishing touches on his deep red 1939 custom Ford Sedan.
Donna Shandle proudly sat by her 1957 T-Bird, a birthday present from her husband for her 80th birthday. Donna said she drives her “Bird” every day. Sitting under their Drifters Car Club tent, Daryl Willis and Bobbie Lawhorn spoke about their love of car shows and classic cars. Daryl is the owner of over a dozen classic cars, housed in several buildings on his property in the Temecula area. One of his cars at the show is another striking paint job, a ’46 Chevy Delivery Panel, formerly an ambulance, with blue flames. The car club had over 30 cars at the Rod Run.
Speaking with Wayne Powell, from the Drifters Car Club, he related how the Club kept things going during the 2020 COVID year with drive-by car shows, visits to retirement homes, cruises around the county and much more. He couldn’t get over how excited they are that this year’s show is once again such a success and the turnout of people to see the cars was incredible. Rose Cortez was having breakfast at Curb-side Café along with Tim Huizenga, Frank Staley and 2019 Best of Show winner Gerry Gamet. Gerry’s ’57 Ford was featured on the event t-shirt. Rose also expressed how excited they were the Rod Run had returned to Downtown Vista and the turn-out for the Sunday event was such a success.
Turning the corner from Main to S. Citrus, a large, white Vista classic firetruck came into view. The 1954 Kenworth began service in Vista in 1953 remaining in service until 1982, when it was retired. The classic firetruck now resides at Station 5 on Melrose and on this day Firemen Jahaziel Palma, Martin Souki and David Cortez were on hand to tell people about the truck. Cortez is a ten-year veteran while Palma is new to the department, 3 months on duty, as is Souki, who is a Vista High graduate. One of the oldest vehicles at the Rod Run was the 1914 Diamond T Tow Truck, with wooden spoked wheels, top speed 17 mph. Another tow truck on display was a dazzling red 1932 Texaco Tow Truck. For those wanting something a little different for their family, if they had younger children, David Smith, a Vista resident, and father of three, pushed around very unusual lowrider car designed “children’s buggies”, complete with hydraulics and metallic paint jobs. David said his company Fiberglass RX makes them, the cost starting at $800 all the way up to $2,500, depending on what you add to the very unusual and unique “buggies”. A list of award winners at the Vista Rod Run will appear in a following article
This event made the Labor Day Weekend even more special and without a doubt it was made even better by seeing the large turn-out and excitement in the crowd with another example of some sort of return to normalcy in the community and the county.