Lodi Mini Nationals 1973, Fuel Curve

Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 – Good Times at the Grape Festival Grounds

The Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 was the first major event the late Gary Meadors directed. Working together with fellow Nor Cal Early Iron club members, Meadors displayed the promotional savvy and ability to rally the troops that would one day lead him to great success as founder of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.Lodi Mini Nationals 1973, Fuel Curve

While the magazines covered the 1973 Mini Nationals at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, the majority of these images have never been published. So-Cal hot rodder and “Examples” car club member Bill Branch snapped literally thousands of pictures in the 1970s and Lodi ’73 was on his radar. He and his fellow club members rolled up to get in on the fun.

Lodi Mini Nationals 1973, Fuel Curve

Bill’s son Tom, who regularly publishes his father’s arhive on Instagram was kind enough to share these Lodi images for this time capsule. Being a student of hot rod history Tom weighed in with his thoughts on early rod runs and also added some descriptions of the images pictured here.

“Most people think of the 70s as a dark time for street rodding, where resto rods and Pinto motors reigned supreme.” Tom said. “What they don’t realize though, is that many of the traditions and styles that were started back then set the stage for the car culture that we all enjoy today.”

Lodi Mini Nationals 1973, Fuel Curve

“One of these traditions was the ‘Rod Run.’ I have many fond memories of traveling all over California to different rod runs throughout the 70s and 80s with my family. These events had family activities such as water balloon toss, three legged potato sack sprints, and big wheel races. There were volleyball matches and tug-of-wars between car clubs, and even driving contests like the “Streetkahana” and “Go-Whoa”. It was an exciting time to grow up in the street rod hobby.”

“Dad always carried a cheap camera with him and he snapped a lot of pics at these events and left behind albums full of neat images. I’ve decided to start sharing them so that other enthusiasts can enjoy them too.” – Tom Branch

Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 Photo Gallery!

Here’s Lenny Byer’s full fendered ’29 Roadster and a really nice 5-spoke equipped ’39 Standard Coupe. I have a pic of this coupe a year later sporting a Gasser stance, looks good both ways!

This near-perfect ’32 Vicky and a clean, red slot mag-equipped full fendered ’29 Roadster soak up the Lodi sun.

A clean ’40 Chevy sedan and a nice resto style ’34 Phaeton. So good!

A Resto style ’32 Roadster and a ’35 Plymouth four door – which back then was an unusual choice for a street rod! Score one for the Mopar guys.

Andy Southard’s bitchin’ early SBC powered ’28 Phaeton and a flathead powered ’29 Roadster on deuce rails with some major engine & radiator setback. Pretty sure this was an old race car.

An almost stock appearing ’32 roadster posts up next to Early Times member Sheldon Bardin’s perfect ’27 T Tudor. This car still exists in the same condition.

A ’30-’31 Coupe with a hot SBC in it and a sano ’28 roadster pick up next to a big ol’ street rod sedan!

Hellaflush! LOL. This 32 Chevy Coupe was running some WIDE rear wheels. The track nosed early T Roadster was surely influenced by Dick Flint’s car.

Tony Martinez’s big block powered ’29 Roadster and a super clean slot mag equipped ’33-’34 Pickup.

I believe the black ’28 RPU was owned by Dick Mendonca. It looks just right next to the hot-licked ’34 Tudor.

’39 Convertible Sedan with a 6-71 blower lurking under the hood and a sweet ’40 Deluxe coupe with a Rod Powell flame job.

The”Rapid Transit”  ’34 sedan delivery and Rod Powell’s sectioned ’39 Chevy. I love this thing!

A mild ’32 five-window running an early Chevy headlight bar and a ’40 Deluxe Woody running slot mags.

The ’37 Chevy coupe owned by Bob Cress of the Franklin Syndicate car club and a Model A pickup pulling a cool little trailer.

This radical ’40 Ford Kustom was originally built by Barris for Tom Hocker. This coupe was also featured in American Grafitti. Early Times member and Hot Wheels designer Larry Wood’s ’32 Nash looks great too!

Dave Mathison’s beautiful ’35 Roadster from Washington state. I’ve been told Dave is still driving it after all these years. Jeff Black’s SBC powered ’28 roadster is clean too. Check out the CHROME frame rails!

A super clean, bright orange Cragar wheel-equipped ’30-’31 sedan next to a nicely stanced full fendered ’28 Roadster.

Part of my Dad’s caravan up to Lodi, fellow members of the Examples car club. “Lodi or bust”. Next to that image is Joe Cardoza’s bitchin’ Halibrand-equipped SBC powered ’28 RPU.

I dig the bobbed rear fenders on this neat ’30-’31 Coupe. The channeled track nosed ’32 Roadster was originally built by Paul Harris and ran at Bonneville in ’51. James handy owned it in ’73.