Get your motor runnin'

Get your motor runnin'

7 reasons to attend the Ventura Nationals

By Michel Miller 08/29/2013




All the kool kids will be there

Pretty much anyone who has anything to do with kustom culture — some traveling from distant lands, others from a few doors down—will be at the 11th Annual Ventura Nationals during Labor Day Weekend. Some of them are:  Mad Bomberz CC, JG Design and Fab, Pistol Magazine, Rolling Heavy Magazine, Chop Cult, Cruise It Magazine, Supreme Seventies, Deadend Magazine, Noble Fabrication, Chopit Kustoms, Oldies Speed Shop, Old Gold Garage, King of Clubs, The Doppelgangers,  Deviants CC, Los Boulevardos CC, Gonners CC, Draggers CC , North Los Angeles MC, West Coast Kustoms, Gambino Kustoms, Mooneyes, Acme Speed Shop, Old Skool Rodz Magazine, Throttle Merchants Magazine and so many more.

Parties, parties and more parties

Pre-parties, after-parties, art shows and barbecues. As if there wasn’t enough to do at the Fairgrounds, there will be a handful of Ventura National-sanctioned events around town to trick out the weekend. Beginning on Friday with a barbecue and tune up gathering at JG Design and Fab, a Kustom Kulture Art Show in the Gardner Building and a photography show next door at Dexter’s in downtown Ventura — the festivities continue on Saturday with an outdoor screening of Mad Fabricators Invades Australia in the downtown mini park at 7 p.m. followed by the official after-party at Bombay Bar featuring music by The Rhythm Shakers, The Boss Tides and more. On Sunday there is the second annual Reliability Ride, which will end at Noble Fabrication in West Ventura for an open house and fundraiser featuring live music, barbecue and lots of kustom rods.

The shopping

Make sure you have plenty of cash at your disposal because there will be an exhausting plethora of carefully selected vendors hawking clothing, accessories, art, décor, auto-related wares and anything else associated with kustom lifestyle. Some of them are: Tres Noir Optics, Primos Helmet Design, Duane Ballard custom leather,  Kent Reppert II art, Suavecito Pomade, Max Grundy art (pictured above), Handsome Devil/Beautiful Disaster apparel, Rockin’ B Clothing, My Baby Jo apparel, BOMONSTER art, Supreme Seventies clothing and many, many more.

Did we mention the art?

Art is an important component of kustom kulture — specifically low-brow art — and you will be hard-pressed to find a more impressive assembly of the genre’s best artists anywhere. They include Micky Hora from Australia, world-renowned tattooist Jack Rudy, photographers such as Tim Sutton, Shannon Brooke and Coby Gewertz. There will also be a Panel Jam all day during the car show where carefully chosen pinstripers — including Mat Egan (Australia),  Mr. Rhythm, E-Dogg and others  — will be demonstrating pinstriping and allowing spectators to purchase art or have personal items customized.

The vehicles, duh

The impetus, the centerpiece, the core — the car show.  Saturday, Aug. 31, the Ventura County Fairgrounds will be blanketed in metal. Motor vehicles as far as the eye can see, fabricated, modified, polished and customized by the industry’s best as well as the average enthusiast will compete for coveted trophies designed by respected artists. This year the event will also feature vintage show vans and classic lowriders. Motorcycles are welcome and expected in substantial numbers. Returning to the show is Funky Junk Farms with its display of restored vintage campers and trailers that have been used in motion pictures and television.

The music

The Ventura Nationals has always featured outstanding musical entertainment and this year is no exception, thanks to promoter Reverend Martini. Headlining the event is So Cal Western swing legend Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys (pictured) celebrating 25 years of making great music. Also on the bill are Rockabilly Hall of Fame inductee Nikki Hill, Gamblers Mark and Rumble King featuring Bill Bateman (Blasters). This lineup will perform during the car show, but don’t forget about all the terrific bands playing the pre-party at Bombay.

The history

Car culture was born in Southern California with deep roots in Ventura County. Local historian Tony Baker documents the region’s hot-rodding history through fascinating archival photographs and lots of detailed anecdotal material in Hot Rodding in Ventura County (2013, Arcadia Publishing). The book offers distinctive stories about car culture from its beginnings in Ventura. Tony and his friends who are subjects of the book will be at the Friday night art show as well as the Fairgrounds on Saturday with post-war car club memorabilia. They will be signing copies of his book.

For a full schedule and more information about the 11th Annual Ventura Nationals, visit


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