CA July 11, 2008
The forth annual Bixby Knolls Dragster Expo and
Car Show once again graced the streets of the Bixby Knolls
Business District in Long Beach , CA .
The event was
staged, through the efforts of Rea Gabelich, a Long Beach city
councilwoman and whirlwind of energy. This years high-energy
show featured more than 150 classic cars, street rods and specialty
vehicles from all over Southern California . They were proudly
displayed up and down Atlantic Avenue between San Antonio Drive
and Roosevelt Road by their enthusiastic owners. Each competed
against the other for the coveted trophies in seventeen various
Photos by: Darrell
Conrad and John Ewald.
The theme of this years event
was "Funny Car Allstars" featuring the recreation of
one of the cars Rae Gabelich late husband, Gary drove which was
the Beach City Chevrolet Corvette. The original car burnt to
the ground at Orange County International Raceway in 1969.
Rae with Don Danhof who
is responsible for the recreated Beach City Vette.
Rae Gabelich with Gary's signature
plumed helmet that he wore in dragsters, drag boats and funny
cars like the Beach City Corvette.
Among the other funny cars on
display was the Pisano & Matsubara Vega and the Rocketeer
There were cacklecars a plenty
including the Ewald BankAmericar, Mastercar and Ron Johnson's
Shubert & Herbert.
Bob Hirsch tried the
same thing as Jake...well, the cars and the girls look great!
Ron Stearns finally pulled
Jake McCloud thought he would
enhance the Tecate girls by joining them in the photo with his
Rae Gabelich did a very brave
thing...she turned over the MC chores to John Ewald. Actually
he has a spiel that is very informing with regards to the history
of the cars and what makes them tick.
Ewald was Bill "It' all my fault!" Pitts who went down
the rows of the famous cars and interviewed the owners about
the history of their cars, he did a great job and passed on some
good information to the fans.
To help raise money for the Special
Olympics John Ewald and Cynthia Carpenter brought their Budweiser/Firestone
Indy car to the event and fans who made a donation got to sit
in the car for a photo op. Cynthia always does a wonderful job
welcoming guests into the car and raising money for needy causes.
Although the event was planned
to not have any fire ups somehow John Ewald didn't get the message
and his BankAmericar and Master car made their way to center
stage to entertain the fans who wanted their dose of nitro.
Seated in the seat of the BankAmericar
was Randall Shipman, a fan of WDIFL.com who wrote the Ewald's
asking to be part of the crew for a day...he got invited, drove
3 1/2 hours to the event...worked with the team and ended up
in the seat for his "dream to come true" fire up.
Seated in the Master Car was
legendary photographer Alan Earman who has shot thousands of
front engine dragsters photos but had never sat in one. It was
John Ewald's honor to give Alan his first "cackle".
John had followed Alan as track photographer at Lions Drag Strip
when Alan went on to cover national events back in the 1960's.
With regular crew chief Bob Danly
out of town, the "Maxed Out" cars were put in the very
capable hands of Alex Mikkelsen of American Roadster who along
with crew member Mario Garcia gave the fans what they wanted...noise
Rae Gabelich, on right, seemed
to consider her event a huge success....so did everyone who attended.
back for more event coverage as they happen.
The "who started those cars?"
gang...Mario Garcia, Alex Mikkelsen, Randall Shipman and John
Ewald. Don't know how it happened...the cars just started while
Ewald and the crew were explaining how the cars work to the fans.