What do you get when you pack the spacious California Speedway with hot rods, musclecars, Harleys, imports, vendors, live music, burnout contests, Drivetech Racing School, and more? Well, to answer that question, it's the California Classic AutoFest. Staged in Fontana (about 35 miles east of Los Angeles), the entire infield of the 2-mile, California Speedway featured a wide variety of activities. Many of the smaller vendor booths were set up behind the VIP suites, just off the front straightaway, while the lion's share of the show cars were lined up just behind the vendors, as well as in the NASCAR garages. A huge used car sell-a-thon occupied the area inside the fourth turn, along with a giant RV show, while the grounds adjacent to the back stretch housed the Xtreme show, bandstand, larger tractor-trailer-type vendor spaces, and the bike show.
Though 103-degree heat blanketed the area, many of Southern California's finest classic cars came out in abundance making it a tough job for the league of judges to pick the winners. Speaking of winners, the Meguiar's-backed event had one of the finest trophy presentations ever staged with legendary motorsports "voice" Dave McClelland emceeing the ceremony. Keeping in line with the general feeling of "giving back to the participants," winners received an awesome array of goodies including a beautiful trophy, custom jacket and a dozen long-stemmed roses for their better half.
In what was perhaps the toughest group of vehicles to judge from--the Gold Class--celebrity judges the likes of stand-up comic Christopher Titus, car-builder Chip Foose and aftermarket industry giant Chuck Lombardo presented the coveted Gold Class Trophy to Ricky Clutter for his awesome '57 Bel Air. Clutter, whose car also scored a win in the Gold Class competetion at our Pomona Super Chevy Show earlier in the year, made an eye-watering gesture when he donated his $1,000 winning check to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
And car lovers? A continual stream of spectators moved through the turnstiles all day, both days, to take part in this automotive extravaganza. Besides providing fun for all involved (and handing out a new Corvette, a new Harley and a pair of performance-built engines to some lucky show-goers), the AutoFest donated almost $95,000 to a variety of charitable organizations, with a great deal of that targeted for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
To be perfectly honest, you had to see this extravaganza to understand what a large undertaking it was. Many thanks go to California Classic's dedicated executive team of Les Davidson (Chairman), Fred Gaston (V.P. Operations), Todd Cernetic (V.P. Sales & Marketing) and their support staff, as well as the literally hundreds of volunteers for a (huge) job well done.