I’ve spent a lot of time this month shooting Hot Rods, customs, and drag cars. First it was the Motorama in Long Beach, then the drags up at Eagle Field. After a break last weekend at the Rennsport Reunion it was back to the dragstrip once more. This time the setting was Famoso Raceway near Bakersfield for the annual NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion.
I’ve been shooting the Hot Rod Reunion for a few years now, and every time I go I’m overwhelmed by the turnout. Hundreds of race cars from all over the Western United States come to Famoso for three full days of drag racing.
You’ll be hard pressed to find a larger gathering of vintage drag machinery anywhere in the world. Beautiful warm fall weather made things even better this year.
From the body shaking scream of the engines to the aroma of nitro, the Hot Rod Reunion is one of those events that overwhelms the senses. Don’t forget your ear plugs.
Everyone that comes to the Hot Rod Reunion has their favorite type of race car. Many come for the vintage rail dragsters…
….others come for the massive gathering of Funny Cars.
For me though, it doesn’t get any better than the A/FX class. They certainly aren’t the fastest cars at the CHRR…
…but the drama and excitement in their runs more than makes up for it. There was some serious wheelstanding in this crowd.
This year I spent as much time wandering the pits as I did capturing the action on the strip.
Not every car at the Hot Rod Reunion is quarter mile hustler. This well known Chevy sled made an appearance in the car show behind the grandstands.
How’s this for patina?
The swap meet at the Hot Rod Reunion is always a must-see.
Unlike your typical swap meet, this one is packed with rare vintage racing parts. From dragster wheels…
…to a complete motor setups, blowers and all.
There’s always cool project cars up for grabs too. Anyone looking for an old Chevy wagon?
Absolutely love the look of this Rod. Nose up with mags in the front and steelies in the rear.
A perfect vintage look for this Willys.
And for comparison’s sake a Willys race car done in a more modern style. Obviously this one’s much faster, but to me you can’t beat the old school look.
The “Fighting Irish”, an AA/Fuel dragster capable of mid six second ETs in its day.
The Road Kings ’55 Chevy Wagon looks more like a push vehicle than a race car, but it was moving down the strip quite well.
Another cool retro dragster comes out of the whole, narrow tires grabbing for traction.
A Cobra Jet Mustang puts its fat rubber to use coming off the line. What a wicked looking car!
I’m going to finish up part one here, but there’s lots more on the way from the California Hot Rod Reunion this week.