By Pat Murphy….As dawn lightened the skies, you could see scattered gray clouds hanging over the streets of downtown Vista. These were streets that had been washed clean by a summer monsoon on Saturday. It was a typical Arizona monsoon that had breached the border and had drenched the entire area. The air smelled fresh and humid. A slight Easterly breeze barely moved the palm fronds protruding into the early morning.
By 9 AM, there were dozens of old cars parked along both sides of Main Street and some on Broadway. These were cars that you just don’t see every day. There were Roadsters, Bucket Ts, T-birds, Chevy Nomads and many other beautiful cars. Folding chairs were set out on sidewalks behind the cars. Some cars had signs or posters that were displayed to tell everyone about the car they would be looking at.
Our first encounter with a car and owner came right at the corner of Main Street and S. Citrus Avenue. It was here that we met Bill Reeves who had driven his Replica 1929 Model A into Vista from Las Vegas, Nevada. He was offering to sell his light yellow car with the rumble seat that he had owned for 15 years, for only $25,000.00. The car had a modern drive train, air conditioning, and power steering. I passed on the offer, not just because I didn’t have the $25K to spare, but mostly because I like my old cars to be original and there were plenty of those to be found at this Rod Run.
With the help of many sponsors, just under 275 cars had entered the Rod Run this year. Classic Chariots, North County Ford, Mother Earth Brewery, Hutchins Printing, Peppertree Frosty and many more sponsored cars. It wasn’t just sponsors that made the event possible. There were volunteers from many groups such as the RBV High School Key Club, Solutions for Change, Greenway, Lush Coffee and the beautiful Pride of Vista Princesses and Miss Teen Vista and court. Many of the entrants have been participating for the last 25 years.
There were also the usual assortment of vendors and a food court. Many people were complimenting the organizers on the food court this year. Instead of just having the usual carnival type venue, there were a lot of healthy choices. Julie from the VVBA gave credit to Mary and Sandra who had helped her and Chairperson Eleanor Hutchins with the event planning. Live music was on tap at Mother Earth (excuse the pun) and canned music was provided at the main stage and several other locations.
On Broadway, we found the car that we would love to own. But, darn it all, it wasn’t for sale. The homemade license plate created just for showing the car was, “WDN MERC”. The car is a gorgeous teal-trimmed Woodie owned by Jim and Cindy Hallsted of Rancho Penasquitos. They have entered the Woodie in the Vista Rod Run numerous times and show it at car shows all over San Diego County. If you missed it, you can see it soon at the upcoming “Wavecrest Woodies” annual meet being held Sept. 20 in Encinitas.
Before we knew it, the time had arrived for the awards presentations. Very unique awards were designed to commemorate the Rod Run’s 25th year. The award depicted historic route 395 with an old hot rod and the Vista downtown clock. Some of the categories recognized were; “Best Club Participation”, “Best Paint”, “Best Upholstery”, “Best 55-57 Chevy”, “Best Stocker”, “Longest Distance”, and “Best Pick-up”.
There was the “Mayor’s Choice” which was captured by a red 62 Corvette that had tolerated the same owner for 38 years. Nothing against the owner, it’s just that corvettes are fussy about their owners. There was a “People’s Choice” won by Jonathan Sieger and his 1967 911 Porsche. Last but not least was the “Best in Show” that Dave Jones took home in his 1956 Chevy Nomad sponsored by North County Ford. A complete list of cars, owners and sponsors should be run in TheVistaPress.com on Friday.
I also want to note that the Woodie that my wife and I admired, also won an award. I mention this because I randomly chose this car and the Hallsteds for an up-close interview for this article. Last week at the BBQ Classic, I did a similar up-close and random interview with someone who ended up winning big. Now, if only I could move this new found talent to Del Mar!
Photos by Mary Murphy