Another Leg of the West Coast Challenge Car Show Series by ARP

By John Drummond   –   Photography By the Author & Carl Bredl

When Harold Baggy” Bagdasarian and the Thunderbolts Car Club first held what would eventually become the Sacramento Autorama, the McCarthy era was born and Charles M. Schulz’s Peanuts cartoon was first published. The year was 1950—some 74 years ago.

Cliff Mattis’ ’57 Chevy convertible Custom d’Elegance winner. After years of campaigning killer cars, Vacaville’s Mattis took home the biggest win of his career: the 2024 Custom d’Elegance with “Inspire”—a slate gray ’57 Chevy Bel Air by Lucky 7 Customs. Designed by Eric Brockmeyer, the classic Tri-Five rides on a Roadster Shop chassis and features a Don Hardy–prepped LS in bright orange under a black batwing air cleaner, Curtis Speed wheels, and a Gabe’s Custom interior. The convertible features rear skirts and plenty of brightwork by Sherm’s Custom Plating.

The 73rd OReilly Auto Parts Sacramento Autorama, held May 3-5 at Cal Expo, featured plenty of its special history. The nations premier award for custom cars—the Custom d’Elegance—was won by Vacaville’s Cliff Mattis and his exquisite ’57 Chevy Bel Air convertible. It marked the first time Mattis has won this prestigious honor.

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More history was made in Sacramento when the candy pearl lilac–painted ’64 Chevrolet Impala of Highland, Californias Carlos Martinez captured The Worlds Most Beautiful Lowrider award. For the first time in the 73-year history of the event, a full-blown competition for lowriders was held—a fitting tribute to the Cinco de Mayo weekend. Chicano car culture was born in California, so it was fitting that a field of low and slow machines was featured in the competition.

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The largest check of the weekend was taken home by Pleasanton’s Brent Scheider, who cashed in to win the West Coast Challenge Car Show Series presented by ARP. After competing at four big indoor points events this spring, the Autorama was the series finale. Scheider’s cream-hued ’37 Ford cabriolet by Dominator Street Rods swept the grand prize. You might remember Schneider’s ’70 Chevelle from last year’s competition.

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One of our favorite events of the weekend was the return of our longtime friend and hot-rodding celebrity, Chip Foose. Foose made a two-day appearance signing for fans, and true to form, the lines were long and hundreds of pictures were snapped.

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Overall, more than 500 custom vehicles were displayed inside Cal Expo’s myriad buildings and outdoor plazas. A significant late-season storm temporarily stalled Saturday’s Drive-In Show and Shine, but dozens of “die-hards” cruised in any way. On a sunny Sunday, the Drive-In was poppin’ on the show’s last day.

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Brent and Stephanie Schneider’s ’37 Ford Cabriolet, affectionally known as “Creme-Briolet,” built by Dominator Street Rods, won the West Coast Challenge Car Show Series presented by ARP and, in doing so, took home the $12,500 top prize. The Axalta Chroma two-tone classic Ford features a potent twin-turbocharged LS2 by Rebello Racing and a leather interior by Sid Chavers. Eric Brockmeyer designed this big winner.

Look for full event coverage in a coming issue of Modern Rodding. MR

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