Event>>kustom History @ The Long Beach Motorama

Last weekend before I headed to San Diego for the Coronado Speed Festival, I dropped by the Long Beach Arena to have a look at an event called the Long Beach Motorama.

I very nearly missed this event entirely, and I'm sure I glad I didn't. I think this was the best custom car show I've ever been to.

I had heard about the show earlier in the year, but it had kind of slipped from my mind as I was planning my trip to San Diego. On the Thursday night before the show I saw a TV commercial advertising teh event, and I decided I'd head down to Long Beach on Friday to check out the first day of the show.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but after I bought my ticket and walked inside the arena I knew I'd come across something special.

This was much more than a car show, it was like stepping back in time. The event was done in tribute to the Renegades Car Club of Long Beach, formed way back in 1941.

The Renegades were famous for hosting car shows around the Long Beach area in the '50s and '60s, and this new event is done very much in the spirit of those early shows.

While there were definitely less cars at this event than others I've been to, the quality of the vehicles was unmatched. At times you'd literally think you'd been sent back to the late '50s or early '60s. The indoor "showcase of kustoms" was limited to pre-1964 cars, with nearly all of them built in period correct style. The entire floor of the Long Beach Arena was full of beautiful cars like John Denich's '51 Chevy Coupe seen here.

There were also plenty of hot rods in the arena. Not "rat rods" or modern street rods, but high quality cars done in the traditional '50s and '60s style.

Outside there were cars spread all around the lagoon. Come April this area is the heart of the Long Beach Grand Prix course, but right now it's all about the customs!

I did spot a few rat rods in the outdoor section of the show, but this definitely wasn't a "rust and primer" type of event. I don't think you'd see any cars like this at the shows the Renegades did back in the '50s…

What I did see plenty of were '49-'51 Mercs – the quintessential custom.

Pickup trucks were also welcome, such as this '57 Chevrolet built by Richie Valles of the San Fernando Valley.

Not all of the cars in the show were from Southern California. This '61 Ford Falcon Wagon was built by Boerne Stage Kustoms out of Center Point, Texas.

This incredible '59 Caddy was built in Australia and was sent across the world to be shown in Long Beach. Shipping a race car around the world is one thing, but how nerve-racking would be it to ship a one-off custom like this?

There was even a "wall of history" featuring old magazine articles on famous SoCal cars and builders. Great to see the event organizers trying to promote the history and artistry of car customization instead of just putting on a car show or "lifestyle" event.

Speaking of history, no that's not a batmobile prototype, but the original X 51 – a heavily customized '51 Ford that made waves in the scene back in the late '50s.

Custom cars also filled the hallways surrounding the arena. It was something to see.

There were even a few old drag cars parked outside the main entrance to the show. History!

The heavily customized '60 Ford Starliner was built by our friends at Starlite Garage in Torrance. The paintwork on this car is some of the most incredible I've ever seen…

While on the subject of paintwork, here's Larry Watson's "Vino Paisano" '58 Thunderbird. Watson, who passed away this summer is a legend in the custom car scene, and it's to people like him the Motorama is dedicated to.

I'll be back soon with much more from this fantastic event.

Stay tuned!

-Mike Garrett



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I'm more of a Bosozoku guy, but the quality is superb on these cars, and it's something we can all appreciate. The paint on that Starliner... Wow...


lovin the starliner, falcon wagon and that aussie 59' caddy

onya australia keep pumpin out the ludicrous :D

thx for the great article :)


Please please please please PLEASE wallpaper of photo #8!!!!


that falcon is sick


insane quality in every single car! any more of the australian caddy? that thing looks very extreme :O


I must go to this show, at least once in my live.


These look like they'd be the best of the best. top of the line in their generation of the world.


ye the australain caddy will be at sema


The purple Cadillac. Oh. My. God.


Yeah a lot of cool cars but not my style.

I like the last with the Matte-Red(?)


Im not really feeling this new layout...


Please tell me you are going to do a spotlight on the Australian built '59 caddy???


The purple caddy was featured in 'Street Machine' down here this month. It's got a Gene Winfield paint job, metal interior and a 3rd fin inside.

Thanks for the old school kustoms SpeedHunters!


so many wonderful cars in here with real character and history.. the Ford Falcon Wagon and the Aus. Caddy are my stand out cars, very high standard of work.. and i'm only seeing a picture!! thanks for the insight..


that '61 wagon is hot! wallpaper?


that '61 wagon is hot! wallpaper?²


61 Ford Falcon Wagon! Great painted! =)


Great photos and blog post!


Great photos and blog post!


Any desktops? There are plenty of drag/drift/race cars as desktops, but kinda lack of hotrod/sleepers/usa/classic cars


I love the Falcon Wagon and the '59 Caddy. Beautifully done.


A few pics of the 59. Paint alone was over $200k, but I don't know if that's Aus dollars. http://www.modelcarsmag.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=35507