Although it’s impossible to turn back time, there are certain elements of nostalgia that continue to creep into our heads—memories that bring us back to good times and places. Take drag racing, for example. It seems that whenever the conversation turns to “the golden era” of the sport, we are taken back to the late ’60s and up through the ’70s. For others, it may be even a little further back in time when quarter-mile racing was in its infancy. But the Nostalgia Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragster classes competing at the 2018 California Hot Rod Reunion the weekend of October 19-21 held at Auto Club Famoso Raceway are most reminiscent of drag racing from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Of course, that’s when the Funny Car class was in its prime and 32-car fields were the norm. At special events like the Coca Cola Cavalcade of Funny Cars and the Manufacturers Meets, 64 Funny Cars were on the grounds of tracks like OCIR (Orange County International Raceway) and Seattle International Raceway, among others.
Although the days of 64 Funny Cars are a thing of the past, the packed grandstands at historic Famoso Raceway witnessed an amazing quarter-mile showdown featuring a hearty 24 fire-spewing nostalgia floppers along with numerous front-engine dragsters.
With a high number of Chevy-bodied cars competing in the Nostalgia Funny Car class, the field consisted of mostly first- and second-gen Camaros with a peppering of vintage-looking Mustangs, Challengers, Firebirds, and even a Vega and a Monza took part in the action.
But the event wasn’t all about the Funny Cars, as other exciting classes included some of the coolest Tri-Five and Corvette gassers that were sure to bring back memories of the good ol’ days of drag racing. Other classes included in the event were Nostalgia Top Fuel; A/FX; Pro Mod; AA/Gas; A, B, C, and D/Gas, and more.
The California Hot Rod Reunion is a special annual event that brings old friends together to reminisce and bench race about days gone by and to experience some of the best nostalgia drag racing the West Coast has to offer.
The track lacks a high-end sound system and comfortable seating we’ve become accustomed to at sporting events these days, but with the smell of nitromethane and burning rubber it’s easy to get lost in the humble facility’s rich history and old-school vibe, which far outweighs the need for padded seats and a jumbo screen at the top end of the track.
Get lost in time with this extensive photo gallery featuring the coolest Chevys from the 27th Annual California Hot Rod Reunion. The only things missing are the taste of cheap beer and the smell of overcooked burgers sandwiched between stale buns—a 1970’s track food staple. CHP
Photos by Ron Lewis