Guest Blog: Southern Oregon Rod and Custom Show


Words and photos by Kirk Gerbracht

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The car culture continues to thrive, and one of the biggest reasons is that our hobby offers something for everyone.  No matter what your personal taste in cars, — classics, sports, hot rods, exotics, customs, muscle, tuner, American, Asian, or European — there is space in the Autosphere for all of us.  And nowhere is the personality and individuality of the automobile owner more visible than at a rod and custom show.

Medford, Oregon recently hosted its 42nd Rod and Custom Show at the local Expo Center.  Over 250 cars and dozens of vendors were on hand.  As always, there were automotive products and demonstrations, parts suppliers, fabricators, paint and upholstery shops represented.  Of equal importance, the event raised over $16,000 for the local Skills USA chapter.

A little of both; this fabulous ’35 Ford, even though a comprehensive hot rod build, would look at home at nearly any more formal concours

A Rod and Custom Show is as far from a Concours d’Elegance as noon is from midnight when it comes to expressing car owners’ tastes and style.  The cost and quality of a paint job may be the same at either type of show, but at a rod and custom show its relevance to the original color (or rolling stock, or engine, or body originality) are of no consequence.   Likewise, interior quality and detail is about personal taste and not about how accurate the materials used and stitching are to the original manufacture.  At a rod and custom show, chrome is an accepted and appreciated condiment almost anywhere on a car and engine swaps are the norm.

Wonderfully snarky looking ’36 Ford custom here, and we’d bet anything that this elegant grille comes off of a 1940 or so La Salle. No matter, the look is just right and beautifully done

We’re betting you wouldn’t have thought of customizing and rodding a ’60 Edsel convertible, but the look is dazzling and results impressive — Very much what hot rodding and custom building is about

This breathtaking 1940 Lincoln Zephyr coupe looks to us like a giant drop of Marvel Mystery Oil that’s been blown in a strong wind. Shape, proportion, style, and execution

Not surprisingly, the Ford footprint was substantial, perhaps making up half the show entrants, from the somewhat obvious ’66 Mustang to the F-100 or the ’56 T-bird.  Two cars that really stood out (as somewhat unexpected) were a rodded ’40 Lincoln and a ’60 Edsel.  There were plenty of T’s, coupes, sedans, and convertibles from every era.  Also, some of the Ford engines, from flatheads to V-8s were great and they were everywhere.

These early-mid Fifties Studes make wonderful rods and customs; the lines are low and Euro, the cars are a manageable size, and you can choose ‘tween 2-door and 4-door sedans or a wagon

Ever seen a Gremlin running drag tires and wheelie bars? This one looks great in the show, or would be happy living life a quarter mile at a time

Talk about diversity — bet you didn’t know that 60s and 70s Shagwagons are “a thing” now – much sought after and collectible if done up right

Yes, a Maserati at a hot rod show — why not, run what ya brung

On every level this Show was a success.  The quality and diversity of cars was exceptional.  Some of us are omnivores when it comes to cars, we like everything, but clearly have our favorites.  It’s like art or music, something may not be your favorite, but you have to appreciate the talent, effort and investment that goes into making it.  This show had enough other “something for everyone” (ever seen a Maserati Mistral?) to please the tastes of every other attendee as well.

Oh please don’t leave, more photos just below…

A great 50s Buick 4-door wagon as a custom hot rod? Why not; this is our idea of a sport/utility vehicle, very utilitarian and darn sporty too. Bring the whole family and all your stuff too

Sorry, we’re not gonna tell you. Although this rather blunt faced 50s American pickup looks much more restored than rodded

Still the ultimate engine for a traditional style Ford rod, that being a properly built and dressed Ford Flathead V-8

Got Hemi? Got Stacks? Got Chrome polish?

This uber smooth T-Bird has enough modern custom touches blended into its original bodywork that you might just wonder is it really a ’56 or a 2002 Bird that’s been retrofitted a bit. Works either way

Not every vehicle at the show was rodded or customized, there was also a fair amount of restored muscle on hand

Dare to be different? Sure, how about this radically rodded early 50s Chevy COE (Cab Over Engine) commercial truck?

A perennial favorite is this perennially gorgeous first gen Buick Riviera with lines and proportions that will never look wrong

Major hot rodding history here in the form of the famous track-nosed “Dick Flynt Roadster” itself a famous HOT ROD magazine cover car; look for it at Pebble Beach this coming August