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Yesteryear on parade

Loud but peaceable, Rod Run 35 revs into the rear-view mirror
Natalie St. John

Published on September 13, 2018 2:48PM

Robert Salas, 2, of Portland decided to relax and people watch in front of a relative’s 1956 Chevy at Rod Run on Saturday.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

Robert Salas, 2, of Portland decided to relax and people watch in front of a relative’s 1956 Chevy at Rod Run on Saturday.

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A lovingly restored vintage auto cruised through downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 8.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/Chinook Observer

A lovingly restored vintage auto cruised through downtown Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 8.

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A family enjoyed ice cream cones in the back of a Chevy truck while watching the Saturday night cruise in Long Beach.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/Chinook Observer

A family enjoyed ice cream cones in the back of a Chevy truck while watching the Saturday night cruise in Long Beach.

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Rat rods were once again a popular draw at Wilson field over the weekend.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

Rat rods were once again a popular draw at Wilson field over the weekend.

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A few brave souls displayed their painstakingly-restored cars downtown during the cruise, but others decided not to, citing the sometimes raucous behavior of downtown crowds and cruisers.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/Chinook Observer

A few brave souls displayed their painstakingly-restored cars downtown during the cruise, but others decided not to, citing the sometimes raucous behavior of downtown crowds and cruisers.

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A trailer served as a portable party-pad for these classic car enthusiasts at the annual Rod Run cruise in downtown Long Beach on Sept. 8

NATALIE ST. JOHN/Chinook Observer

A trailer served as a portable party-pad for these classic car enthusiasts at the annual Rod Run cruise in downtown Long Beach on Sept. 8

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Panteras Northwest, the Northwest chapter of Panteras Owners Club of America, showcased many different models of Panteras at Rod Run.
The Pantera, which means “panther” in Italian, was a unique and rare sports car, that featured the engine in the trunk and was only 43 inches in height.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

Panteras Northwest, the Northwest chapter of Panteras Owners Club of America, showcased many different models of Panteras at Rod Run. The Pantera, which means “panther” in Italian, was a unique and rare sports car, that featured the engine in the trunk and was only 43 inches in height.

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Classic Chevy fans check out old 50s and 60s muscle on Saturday.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

Classic Chevy fans check out old 50s and 60s muscle on Saturday.

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The 35th annual Rod Run was held at Wilson Field in Ocean Park over the weekend. Cloudy and damp conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of car enthusiasts. Thousands visited the Peninsula to check out the classics of yesteryear.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

The 35th annual Rod Run was held at Wilson Field in Ocean Park over the weekend. Cloudy and damp conditions didn’t dampen the spirits of car enthusiasts. Thousands visited the Peninsula to check out the classics of yesteryear.

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One of the more interesting vehicles present at Rod Run was this school bus turned into a lunch truck by Eggroll Express restaurant of South Bend.

ROB HILSON/For the Observer

One of the more interesting vehicles present at Rod Run was this school bus turned into a lunch truck by Eggroll Express restaurant of South Bend.

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This year’s downtown cruise attracted hot rod owners and fans, as well as a large number of cruisers whose allegiances were harder to define.

NATALIE ST. JOHN/Chinook Observer

This year’s downtown cruise attracted hot rod owners and fans, as well as a large number of cruisers whose allegiances were harder to define.

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LONG BEACH — For some of the spectators — and many of the dogs — watching the Saturday night car cruise, the ear-splitting roar of souped-up engines and modified mufflers was overwhelming. For others, it was the whole point.

While the official 35th annual Rod Run car show took place in Ocean Park, the ever-popular cruise in downtown Long Beach drew hundreds of spectators on Sept. 8.

Eager to see the show up close, true classic car enthusiasts staked out spots on the sidewalk early in the day. For people with party trailers or roadside private lots, the partying started early in the afternoon.

Others, who were as excited about the spectacle as the cars, came later to cheer on the vehicles that screeched and honked their way down the main drag, happily obliging the scattered “Rev it up!” signs.

As always, the event was all about nostalgia for the America of yesteryear. For many, Rod Run is a celebration of the country’s mid-century prosperity, peace and manufacturing might. Spectators cheered for the sleek, stately cars from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and some even dressed the part, with slicked-back pompadours and cuffed jeans or poodle-skirts and bobby socks.

However, over the last few years, the event has increasingly drawn people with a different vision of the past. This year’s cruise featured a larger number of “rat rods,” the quirky, less-elegant old vehicles that embrace their storied pasts. It also featured a more cruisers whose vehicles weren’t vintage at all, and who seemed more nostalgic for the Jim Crow Era than for sock-hops, Bel Airs and soda fountains. They joined the cruise in jacked-up, mud-spattered pickups, gunning their engines and sometimes coming perilously close to rear-ending wildly expensive show cars. Several drivers wore Confederate-themed gear, or displayed Confederate flags on their trucks, and one was outfitted with a large decal in the shape of the United States that said, “F--- off, we’re full.”

Despite the culture clash, police said the event was relatively peaceful. Local responders dealt with a few domestic disputes and intoxicated people, but not much else. State troopers made five DUI arrests between Friday and Saturday — a typical number for Rod Run Weekend. In the past few years, troopers have generally handled four to eight DUIs on the Peninsula during the event, which brings thousands of tourists to the area.

See next week’s Chinook Observer for the complete winners list and additional photos.





















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