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Car enthusiasts enjoy Sacramento’s 65th Autorama

Spectators look at the 1959 Chevrolet El Camino owned by Allan Clark of Chowchilla during the Sacramento Autorama on Monday.
Spectators look at the 1959 Chevrolet El Camino owned by Allan Clark of Chowchilla during the Sacramento Autorama on Monday. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Rows and rows of custom cars in every color, hoods up to show off shiny engines, filled the rooms of Cal Expo Monday for the last day of the 65th Sacramento Autorama car show.

The show opened Saturday and finished with an awards ceremony Monday afternoon. Dozens of car enthusiasts milled about the 500 cars in the complex, marveling at the detailed work.

Sacramento is known as the custom-car capital of the world, and the Sacramento Autorama is one of the longest-running indoor car shows, according to the event’s organizers. The show was started by Sacramento businessman Harold Bagdasarian in 1950.

“It’s a tradition – we come every year,” Tim Brown said, sitting with his friend Jean Willms.

“We love the older vehicles and how we redesign them,” Willms said. He and Brown have been coming to the Autorama for 15 years.

Willms said he doesn’t like to drive fast, but he can imagine doing just that when he sees the cars.

“It’s my alter ego,” Willms said, laughing.

Vendors and car owners were encouraged to decorate to this year’s theme, “The Great Gatsby,” and even without extra effort, the ornate, antique appearance of many of the cars naturally conjured images of the lavish 1920s-era parties described in the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.

In one room, long speedboats sat on gleaming trailers with their tricked-out engines on display. In another, a cream-colored car emblazoned with the words “Official Race Car” greeted people as they walked in the door.

Call The Bee’s Ellen Garrison at (916) 321-1006

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