Sacramento AutoRama – Slick Sleds Take Over California’s Capital
Nowhere else in America is the custom car culture celebrated and awarded quite like it is at the Sacramento AutoRama. Held for the 68th consecutive year, the AutoRama is a homecoming for lead sleds and the stylists who create them.
The show has been held at Cal Expo for decades now filling numerous exhibit buildings with not only customs but the season’s freshest hot rods, classics, motorcycles and more. While some cars were showed two weeks earlier at the Grand National Roadster Show (including David Martin’s 1931 Ford which captured America’s Most Beautiful Roadster in Pomona) some are being shown here for the first time.
Grabbing the headlines above all of that are the special awards for the lead sled customs. Much like in Pomona, an “8-footer” trophy is awarded here. Instead of going to a roadster though, it goes to the H.A. Bagdasarian World’s Most Beautiful Custom. Vacaville’s Cliff Mattis got to add his name to the trophy by winning over the judges with his “Dillinger” 1941 Buick Sedanette by Lucky 7 Customs. The award pays homage to Autorama founder and Sacramento businessman Harold Bagdasarian, who started AutoRama in 1950. “Baggy” as he was known passed away in October 2014 at age 91.
Other big custom awards here include the Sam Barris Memorial Award which went to the radical 1965 Volkswagen Bus “Surf Seeker”, the Joe Bailon Award was presented to Mike and Rita Garner’s 1950 Mercury “American Dream” (pictured above), and the Dick Bertolucci Automotive Excellence Award went to the Kindig-It Customs built 1957 Chevrolet Corvette “Family Affair” – all of which pay tribute to the Capitol City’s most famous customizers.
Held on President’s Day weekend, the 68th annual Sacramento AutoRama had a relaxed vibe with everyone having plenty of time to get back home Sunday evening to enjoy the Monday holiday. Some of whom went home with well-deserved honors.