Last weekend my father brought his rat rod to the Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend car show. While his automotive abomination is truly one-of-a-kind, there was probably no better place where it would fit in and, as long as the rest of us weren't busy, the whole family went along.
I guess a car show is just as good a reason for a rare family trip as any. When I say a rare family trip, I mean it. On the way out, my sister Rose and I were talking it over and this is the first time that the family has taken a trip together (that didn't involve staying at one of our homes) in nearly twenty years. The last time was a trip to Disneyland when I was twelve or thirteen.
There were a lot of last-minute things to be done to get ready for the show. My own contribution was some number of months in conception and just a few hours in execution. In the end, I produced this little gremlin to hang under the hood vent on the rat rod:
I'm quite proud of it.
Anyway, once I was done with that it was time to saddle up and head to Las Vegas via Long Beach. Two nights later it was time for...
DAY One: Rolling In
The trip to Vegas was properly kicked off when someone noticed the first man in the street with no pants:
The event itself was taking place off the strip at the Orleans. After we pulled up, it was time to buy tickets and then head over to the gate to see everything rolling in. The cars could most easily be broken down into two groups: shiny and not-shiny. Here's some pics:
Not shiny cars
DAY Two and Three: The Car Show
Day two was Friday and owners were allowed to drive their cars in and out of the show lot all day, so there really wasn't much of a crowd. Instead, it was a great opportunity to take pictures of a lot of the show without people in the way. I'm not about to go through the trouble of sorting out which pictures were from which days though, so here's both days munged into one.
When I found my folks hanging out at the car, it turns out they'd bought me a very apt t-shirt:
Anyway, there were plenty of cars (painted and unpainted) as well as no shortage of painters, pinstripers, and pinup models. Without further ado, here's a metric butt-ton of pictures...
I liked the orange paintjob above. Having messed around with a bit of paint spraying, I can imagine how tough it must've been for the artist to maintain consistency from one panel to the next while keeping the shading symmetrical from one side to the other. Well done.
I had to snap a picture of this Nash Metropolitan. Dad's got one at home in yellow and white:
The pics above were the ones I though were standouts. There were other interesting paintjobs, but the most prevalent color scheme was flat black, red wheels, whitewall tires and pinstripes. This theme worked its way onto almost everything:
There were also all sorts of interesting unpainted vehicles:
In case you were wondering, yes, the cover for the air intake is Maximus' helmet from the movie "Gladiator" with the spikes replaced with bullets:
I didn't get an overall photo of this next rod because I was so overwhelmed by the intricacy and execution of the metalwork details:
The owner used pierced metal to great effect:
Even on the interior:
And the whole thing is finished off perfectly with two bullet holes in the rear:
Of course, the details were the absolute best parts of most of these cars. Here were a few things that really caught my eye:
If the Victorian brothel interior above isn't outlandish enough for you, here's one upholstered with Muppet:
For quite some time now I've really been taken with the 1949-1951 Ford F1 Fat-Fender Pickups. There was no shortage of examples at the show:
Still, my favorite vehicle in the whole show had to be this Chevy:
What really caught my attention was the jewelled finish on the fenders and bumpers with the candy-coat grey flamejob:
There were a few entertaining bits under the hood:
And to top it all off, Jerry-can speakers and a bomb casing for a fuel tank:
In addition to the cars, there were also scores of pinup models on display. It was hard to go more than twenty feet in any direction without stumbling into a crowd of professional and amateur photographers snapping away. I went ahead and shot a few. Here they are in no particular order:
Also wandering around were a handful of artists who were toting paint carts around and peddling their skills all over the place:
For me the most interesting ones to watch were the pinstriping guys. My hand shakes like crazy whenever I've tried pinstriping, but these guys make it look embarassingly easy:
For a modest fee, these guys were pinstriping whatever you'd ask them to. One photographer even got his camera done:
There were also plenty of vendors selling everything from t-shirts to fender skirts and more. At some point in the midst of all of this, Ana stopped in at one of the booths to get her hair done retro-style:
Meanwhile, Rose was wandering around doing her best to get photographed (watch for her in your favorite custom car magazines):
For my part, this was the nicest picture I took of her:
Another bit of entertainment was the handful of hotrod strollers and kid's wagons wandering around:
But the coolest was the kid cruising around on the Suped-up Igloo cooler:
DAY Three: Easter Sunday
Sunday there wasn't much to be seen. Everyone was pretty much just packing up and heading out. Still, it was pretty obvious that a good time was had by all: