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West Coast Kustoms Cruisin' Nationals

west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-U17 The summer car season kicks off at Cruisin' Nationals, otherwise known simply as Santa Maria. It’s a great place to meet up with old friends and see what they've been building all winter long. For me, the show used to be a pilgrimage to Paso Robles once a year from Colorado - but as they say nothing stays the same. A few years back West Coast Kustoms had to move the show from Paso Robles to Santa Maria, with mixed feelings from everyone that attended. It may have hurt attendance in the past, but things were back in full swing this year. west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-32 Santa Maria is a customs show. If you're not part of the classic car scene, you may not be able to recognize some of the custom bodywork that's been done to these steel bodies in an attempt to make them better than the way they came from the factory. Restyling the bodylines, whether mild or extreme, creates that one-off cruising machine that nobody else has. Personal preference (and time/money) is the only limitation to the changes that can be made to these old metal beasts. west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-02 Adventures all begin with a trip, right? So I called up my friend Ronnie to see if he was making the nearly 200-mile drive from LA up the coast to Santa Maria. He already had a crew gathered to head up there together, so I joined in for the fun and safety of traveling with friends. Ronnie has a fine example of a customized Oldsmobile he is working on and driving. Low slung, shaved and decked...lots of modifications, but to the untrained eye they can be hard to find. Totally my kind of kustom. While Santa Maria is a  “kustom show”, there’s always an abundance of hotrods as well. west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-03 You may recognize Mike Curtis’s hotrod truck from TV a few years back. It's still on the road and as reliable as ever with a flathead mill powering it in line with a T-5 trans. Rallying together in the town of Orange, we hit the road figuring we'd be sitting pretty in Santa Maria after 4-5 hours of travel with a stop for lunch. Man were we wrong - it ended up taking over 8 hours with all the holiday-weekend traffic! I think we averaged a speed of 5 mph from Orange to Santa Barbara. Note to self for next year: leave a day early! Us hotrodders in Southern California have a lot of benefits, but the infamous SoCal traffic is not one of them! west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-18 On the bright side, nobody overheated (a common problem for older cars) and we got to Santa Maria just in time for the nightly cruise. It’s a great place to catch a ride with friends and see the cars the way they should be seen, rolling down the road. west-coast-nationals-2014-santa-maria-gallery-54 Saturday kicks off the day in the park - well it's actually fairgrounds, but close enough right? All the modified cut-down, candy colored street machines out on display for everyone to get a closer look at. I love the inspiration that I get from looking at other people's creative visions in real life. I don’t know if you can get a more diverse group of cars anywhere else, it really is a special event. From East to West Coast styling, there's a little bit of everything at this show. Over the next few weeks, we'll be going into more detail on the different custom styles here at DrivingLine.com - be sure to bookmark us and check back in for more. id  18856
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