Metal-flake paint, pinstriping, lots of chrome, and whitewall tires mean it’s time once again for the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals in Santa Maria, California. Every Memorial Day weekend this Central-Coast town fills with traditional hot rods and kustoms.
Last Friday night before the show, all of the participants cruise up and down Broadway Street, while the majority of spectators gather at the historic Santa Maria Inn, the host hotel, to watch all of the cruising action.
On Saturday and Sunday, the show takes place at the Santa Maria Fairpark. Saturday started off very chilly and overcast this year, with the sun finally coming out around noon. Aside from the hundreds of beautiful cars for the spectators to look over, there were also many vendors selling everything from car parts to artwork and even vintage clothes. Several live bands performed on the main fairgrounds stage, including Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys.
Also on Saturday, more than 30 pinstripers were on hand to participate in the Pinstriper’s Panel Jam. Their work was then sold in a live auction on the main stage, with the proceeds going to charity.
The featured car of the event was the freshly repainted, heavily modified 1956 Mercury known as the Jade Idol. It was originally built by Gene Winfield in 1959 and was repainted by him in 2018.
The three-day event is a must-see for any custom car or hot rod aficionado. There is a bit of something for every taste at the show. On your way home we bet you’ll want a candy-painted custom or a traditional hot rod of your very own.
The West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals is held Memorial Day weekend every year, so mark your calendars and make your reservations now! To find out more about next year’s show, visit westcoastkustoms.com.
—Kleet Norris, Hot Rod Deluxe