Hot Rod Resurrection

Hot Rod Resurrection

By 

Eric Cocoletzi 

It was only a quarter till ten and I thought I was going to be late. I spotted a parking spot right in front of the Dearden’s furniture store and headed for it. Pretty lucky considering that my meeting was going to be at the Gypsy Den on 2nd and Broadway. I couldn’t remember if you have to pay for parking on national holidays, but I put a bunch of change I found in my cup holder, double checked my door, and headed for the Gypsy Den. I sat down with my cup of coffee in the patio and took out the flyer for the Hot Rod Resurrection and looked it over for about a minute while I sipped on my drink. I was thinking of what to ask Bob Hill (organizer and member of the Aces Car Club) as I looked up and there was Bob walking with his mom, both sporting sunglasses and looking cool. He let his mom in first through the gate and I stood up to greet them. We shook hands and took a seat at the biggest table they had on the patio and after a brief moment of settling and shifting in our seats, I pressed record.

 

Eric:

Hot Rod Resurrection, tell me about that but I want to know about the Aces Car Club, this is the first I’ve ever heard of it…”

Bob :

Really?

 

Eric:

I’ve lived here my whole life, and yeah…

 

Bob:

You’ve never heard of it before?

 

Eric:

I’ve never heard of Aces Car Club that’s why when I saw it (the flyer) it caught my eye. I said, “Oh. Wow! And it’s in Santa Ana!”

 

Bob:

Yeah yeah…

 

Eric:

So how long has it been involved in Santa Ana?

 

Bob:

This’ll be the tenth year that we’ve had this show here in Santa Ana. We actually opened this show with the director of the art center here…Andrea, at the time?

 

Eric:

The Grand Central Art Center?

 

Bob:

Yeah, here at the Grand Central Art Center. They had the Von Dutch show here. You know, Von Dutch the famous artist? He had all his stuff here and so we got together with her (Andrea) and she asked if we could bring our club here and maybe get a hold of some other car club people, you know, and car enthusiasts and have them come down and they’d open the show with a car club or the car show…which is perfect for the opening.

 

Eric:

Did they specifically say “we want hot rods” or did you bring that up?

 

Bob:

No,no,no. Yeah…I knew my dad knew Von Dutch when he was a kid.

 

Eric:

How so?

 

Bob:

Lakewood. Lakewood is where the car club started back in ’52 this is our 60th anniversary and he grew up with him. He lived in the same area you know the Lakewood, Downy all that area and everything, and his name was Ken. Von Dutch’s name was actually Ken something I can’t remember. But it’s funny, my dad would talk about things that they did when they were kids, you know, running around and Von Dutch was big motorcycle rider as well as hot rods and he told me of a time when they went down to the pike in Long Beach…and they would bet tourists five bucks that they could go down to the end of the pier standing on their motorcycle with their hands stretched out…

 

Eric:

Are you serious [laughing]?

 

Bob:

Oh serious, and go to the end and come all the way back without touching the handlebars you know just by leaning and set the throttle at a certain rate and there’s a picture of my dad and Von Dutch doing this and they would get like up to a hundred bucks in a day. Back in ‘52 that’s a lot of money. Anyway, when they had the show here it was kind of ironic. We had the show here and it was packed. We had so many people here.

 

Eric:

Right away it was a hit.

 

Bob:

Oh, it was huge. Cause we know a lot of people in the hot rod world who have been around it forever. So now every year the place is just packed with cars. They close off that street [Sycamore] all the way to the end to that street [3rd]…and then they have cars all up in here [Artist’s Village]…it’s just packed. Every year it’s been a huge hit.

 

Eric:

And every year around the same time?

 

Bob:

Around May but you know, we fluctuate it. When we first added it, it was actually in December cause that’s when they opened the Von Dutch show and we had it a couple of years in December and then we switched it because we were afraid of rain or whatever, so we switched it to May.

 

Eric:

Did you ever have [this] at Original Mike’s? Because I remember they would have hot rods and classic cars there all the time.

 

Bob:

No, no…

**** 

A server came to our table and asked if we needed anything. Bob ordered some tea with cream and sugar and Bob’s mom ordered decaf coffee with cream.

 

Eric:

You know what I’m talking about though right?

 

Bob:

Yeah, they have car shows over there but we’ve always done ours right here at [the] Grand Central.

**** 

Bob continued to talk about how he feels the car show fits Downtown Santa Ana: because of the buildings and the way they are built around each other, and because of the way that Santa Ana is “old school” just like the car club is strictly “old school”.

The server arrived and placed their drinks on the table in front of them.

 

Eric 

Now what is that “$15 per ride” thing that I’ve seen [on the flyer]? I get to ride in one of the cars?

 

Bob:

No, no, no [laughing] 15 dollars a ride meaning a car.

 

Eric:

Oh, okay[laughing]!

 

Bob:

A “ride” is a car. They call a ride a car.

 

Eric:

No, I know the slang. I thought maybe it was 15 dollars to get a ride…that’d be awesome!

**** 

As we continued to sit and drink coffee and tea he started mentioning all the different car clubs that attend Hot Rod Resurrection. Car clubs known as The Shifters, The Lifters (out of San Diego), The Gear Heads (out of Burbank), and The Cavaliers to name a few.

 

Eric:

Now I’ve never been to one so besides, obviously cars, what else can I expect?

 

Bob:

They always have a large amount of vendors of all kinds of stuff. Pinstripe gifts and some car parts…

 

Eric:

Car accessories…

 

Bob:

Exactly, and then some art, sometimes there’s a lot of artwork…

 

Eric

Oh really? From where?

 

Bob:

Santa Ana and surrounding towns. Famous pin stripers come over here and you’ll see a lot of their art and they pinstripe cars on site. They’ll walk around with a little box and they’ll pinstripe somebody’s car right here while they’re watching the show…it’s really cool.

 

(Pinstriping is the application of a very thin line of paint or other material called a pinstripe.)

 

Eric:

Is it too late for artists and vendors to contact you to get a space?

 

Bob:

No, we’re actually looking now to get the vendors to come in. So if there’s artists that have things that can be sold…as long as it’s not too…modern or something. More like old school wild artists type of stuff. We don’t charge the vendors for anything they just come and it’s whatever the city needs for the day permit. It’s just $25 for the day…that’s it you know.

 

Eric:

And there’s gonna be an award?

 

Bob:

We have like six different trophies that we give, different classes like there’s motorcycle class, best in show, best hot rod, best custom, best home built, …and then they have the best truck. So, you have all these different categories and it’s really cool because they show a lot of pride in their vehicles and then somebody gives them a trophy and they come up. And then we have four bands that play and it’s all like Rockabilly music and some punk.

 

Eric:

Do you guys have a stage?

 

Bob:

Oh yeah, we put a 20×20 stage up. The band plays on the stage and then we do all of the awards off of that and I think the art center is actually putting something on for kids. There’s always a ton of kids walking around…it’s not really limited to just car people, it’s pretty much an open thing for all of Downtown Santa Ana and we’ve always had a good turn out.

**** 

We spent the rest of the time talking about cars that he’s built, the awards he’s won and the influence his father had on him. Bob was definitely looking forward to the car show and showcasing his ’52 Ford pickup truck. He expressed how much he wants to keep the car show in Santa Ana and permanently make the city it’s home because of the way Santa Ana is changing and that he wants to make sure that the shops and restaurants benefit from all the foot traffic at the show as well.

 

Eric:

Sounds like it’s going to be fun.

 

Bob:

Yeah, it should be a lot of fun.

****

Hot Rod Resurrection will take place on May 12th 10am-3pm in Downtown Santa Ana. Go to www.acescarclub.com for information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Conversations with Eric and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s