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2011 Long Beach Motorama Event Coverage

Your Hot Rods & Custom Stuff Roving Reporter went to Long Beach a couple of days ago to see what was happening at the Long Beach Motorama. This new show (this is only the second year) has the potential to be one of the great indoor shows focusing on customs. The promoters, Trace Edwards and crew, did a great job in attracting some very nice cars to the show, and the Long Beach Arena and adjacent park and lagoon provide a top-notch setting. Where else can you take in the magnificent Queen Mary ocean liner, the route of a world class Formula I Gran Prix right outside the door, metalflake paint, wide whitewall tires, blown hemis, and the real life cars that you built as models when you were a kid, all in one glance?


Though the focus is on customs, and they dominate the Long Beach Arena’s center floor, hot rods weren’t neglected. There was a replication of Lions Drag Strip including “black top”, Christmas Tree staging/starting lights, track announcer, guardrails, and a bevy of diggers. The drag cars included: front-engined Dragsters; Altereds (including Mousey Marcellus and the famous “Winged Express”; Gassers (including the Stone, Woods and Cook “Swindler A” Willys), all staged and ready to “light ‘em up”.  


Other dioramas included: a replication of the front of Roth’s shop with the Beatnik Bandit, Mysterion, Orbitron and Tweedy Bird parked in front; the front of the Barris shop with some of their crafty pieces; and Tom Cobb’s shop interior with his roadster and some bitchin’ engines on stands, speed equipment and trophies. There were performance cars such as the Stutz Blackhawk in awesome bare metal, Alex Xydias’ SoCal Speed Shop belly tanker, Tom Cobb’s roadster, and Ed Iskenderian’s Model T roadster. Outside they had several front engine dragsters to cackle for you. Also outside, in the park around the lagoon was an outdoor show for those who didn’t want to commit to the long term indoor show. I couldn’t get out there to gander because of other commitments, but the venue is outstanding and I’m sure that the cars were as well.


Another unique feature of this show is the “Wall of Legends” tribute to the pioneers of this hobby and industry. The tribute consists of plaques with a cast glass hand of the person being honored, each holding a tool of their trade. For example, Dean Jeffries holding a striping brush, Bill Hines with a stick of lead, and so on. It’s really cool, and is unique to this show.


I was shooting some photos on the main floor when the sound of an engine with open headers starting up rocked the Arena. It was right around the curtain from me so I walked over and found George Barris and Blackie Gejian giggling like school girls. They fired up the engine in Blackie’s “Emperor” roadster in spite of what car show decorum or Fire Marshal regulations may be. Of course, a crowd gathered and after a couple of minutes Blackie shut it off and exclaimed, “We used to do that kind of stuff in the old days!” They’re in their 80’s but still kids at heart, so God bless ‘em.


In addition to the indoor displays, the event also included an outdoor venue for those who didn’t want to commit themselves to a three day show inside the Arena. The park-like grounds outside of the Arena include a lagoon and bridge, and provide a really nice setting for the casual car show participant. I wasn’t able to get outside to photograph the action but all reports were that it was a quality show within a show.


If you couldn’t make it to this edition of the Motorama, or if you did and still want to relive it through our photos, there are a ton of them that we’ve posted at the address here:




We highly recommend putting this event on your calendar of “must attend” shows for next year. Hot Rods & Custom Stuff’s website will keep you informed as to when it is. Keep checking back.