Justin Fivella

Slick back your hair, roll some Camel unfiltereds up in your sleeve and get ready to step back in time to a bygone era of 25-cent gas, powerful muscle cars and sock-hops at the 25th annual West Coast Kustoms Car show in Paso Robles.

Hailed as one of the best car shows on the West Coast, this Memorial Day automotive celebration attracts thousands to downtown Paso Robles to see the hundreds of classic cars, vendors, live ’50s music and the famous cruise night.

“We are again at full capacity with 800 cars from all over the country; five are coming all the way from Canada, some from Kansas, and one gentleman is driving his car all the way from New York,” said West Coast Kustom’s Co-President Penny Pichette. “We even have four well-known pin strippers coming all the way from Japan to see the show.”

What started as a small gathering of about 50 cars on the north shore of Lake Nacimiento 25 years ago, later moved to Sherwood Park in Paso Robles and eventually to the Downtown City Park where it has been for the past 15 years, Pichette said.

“All types of people come here (Paso Robles) for the show. Some come with their cars, some come because they wish they had a car, and others come to remember back then (the ’50s and ’60s),” said Norma Moye, executive director for the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association.

For some, the Paso Robles show is used as a stage to debute projects they have been working on for years.

“I have been looking forward to this weekend for two years now when I bought just the body and doors for my T (1927 Ford Model T),” car enthusiast Brandon Flanner said. “I started with just the body, made the frame and fabricated everything else on the car, this weekend is going to be sick,” he said.

West Coast Kustoms and the Paso Robles Downtown Main Street Association pride themselves on holding a classic car show with deep-rooted in tradition that is different from all others.

“It’s the town, the reputation and the fact the car show has been here so long that makes it so unique,” Pichette said. It’s also different because of its large size and the fact that it is free to the public, she said.

Further establishing the show’s niche, Pichette explained that unlike most shows where the “hot-rodders” with money, who prefer chrome and paint, and the “rat-rodders,” who prefer rust over polish, seem to get along.

“It’s amazing because you have the low-buck owners and the high-buck owners standing shoulder to shoulder just being able to enjoy the cars,” Pichette said. “It’s something you don’t see that often.”

Kicking off the weekend will be the ever-popular cruise night that allows only the show cars to cruise along Spring Street in downtown Paso Robles, an event many believe to be the highlight of the weekend.

“People line Spring Street five deep to watch the cars cruise the strip like they used to,” Pichette said. “People start putting out their chairs around noon so that they can get the best places to sit.”

Along with the car show and the cruise night, there will be live bands playing in the evenings, a hall of fame event featuring various industry legends and a poker run among many other events.

For more information regarding the weekend’s festivities, check out www.westcoastcruise.com or pasoroblesdowntown.org.

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