Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
The Rumble in the Valley: Old Town Clovis Motorama
Image
By Dean Kirkland
Published 1 month ago on
May 21, 2024
Play Video

Old Town Motorama in Clovis, Saturday, May 18, 2024. (GV Wire/Dean Kirkland)

Share

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The fourth annual Old Town Motorama has officially come and gone, leaving behind a trail of burnt rubber, gleaming chrome, and enough memories to last until next year’s extravaganza.

This wasn’t just a car show; it was a full-throttle, no-holds-barred celebration of all things fast, loud, and shiny.

Dean Kirkland Portrait

Dean Kirkland

Central Octane

For those of you who missed out on the action, let me set the scene. From Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19, the sleepy streets of Old Town Clovis were transformed into a veritable wonderland of classic cars, hot rods, and more chrome than a ’50s diner. It was like stepping into a time machine, but without the risk of accidentally erasing your own existence.

The festivities kicked off on Thursday evening at The Backyard Social Club, where car enthusiasts gathered to show off their rides, enjoy some live tunes, and participate in an open mic night. It was like a warm-up lap for the main event, except instead of stretching, we had beer and burnouts.

But the real fun started on Friday night with the “Kick-Off Party” at Crow and Wolf Brewery. The first 80 classic cars to arrive got prime parking, and let me tell you, it was a sight to behold. The street was packed with hot rods, each one more impressive than the last. It was like a beauty pageant, but instead of evening gowns, we had engines that could wake the dead.

But Saturday, oh Saturday. That was the day when Old Town Clovis was transformed into a mecca for motorheads. Over 600 classic cars, all pre-1975, lined the streets. It was like a scene out of American Graffiti, but with better food trucks and fewer awkward teenage romances.

As Anthony Granata, the evil genius behind the Hot Rod Coalition, put it, “Friday night, HRC, Fresno Street Eats, and Crow and Wolf Brewery have a huge street party planned for the hot rod community. Last year was better than anybody expected. As if things couldn’t get any bigger, we’ve again teamed up with Fresno Street Eats for Friday evening’s festivities.”

But Saturday, oh Saturday. That was the day when Old Town Clovis was transformed into a mecca for motorheads. Over 600 classic cars, all pre-1975, lined the streets. It was like a scene out of American Graffiti, but with better food trucks and fewer awkward teenage romances.

The vendors were out in full force, selling everything from vintage car parts to pinup girl memorabilia. It was like a swap meet on steroids. And the cars, oh the cars. They were the real stars of the show.

John Langford's 1,500 HP 1932 Ford
John Langford’s 1932 Ford hits 1,500 horsepower on the dyno. (GV Wire/Dean Kirkland)

Four Cars With Distinctive Touches

I met John Langford and his 1932 Ford with an engine that could probably outrun a fighter jet. “It’s way over the top of a jewel,” John told us with a grin. “But gosh, anybody that did anything with motors knows about these kinds of things. And when I had it built, they put it on the dyno on 1500 and he said, ‘Do you want more horsepower?’ And I said, I can’t get from gas station to gas station. Now what would I want with more horsepower?”

And then there was Keith Byers’ 1965 Mustang, a tribute to the legendary Carroll Shelby. “The glovebox is signed by Carroll Shelby himself,” Keith beamed. “It’s the only thing original Shelby on here, actually, other than maybe the air cleaner and the export and the Monte Carlo bar. But, yeah, I thought it was a nice way to kind of finish it off.”

But it wasn’t just about the American muscle. Anthony Galvin’s tricked-out VW Bug was like a disco ball on wheels, with more custom features than a Swiss Army knife. “You name it, it’s been done,” Anthony said proudly. “Set in a barn for about 15 years. Full of dust. Had raccoon prints on it. Drug it out and then drove it, cleaned it up, drove it for a couple of years, and then restored it completely.”

And let’s not forget about Bruce Sanders’ ’69 Chevelle, a car so powerful it could probably tow the Titanic. “This thing is like a rocket ship disguised as a car,” Bruce told us with a glint in his eye. “With an 800-horsepower supercharged LSX 454 under the hood, it’s got more power than a small nuclear reactor. But it’s not just about the muscle — the custom paint and bodywork make it a true masterpiece.”

Red Corvette at Old Town Motorama Clovis California
This beautifully restored 1960 Corvette is underpinned by a custom frame from Graham’s Hot Rod Shop. (GV Wire/Dean Kirkland)

The Cars and the Stories Behind the Cars

But the Motorama wasn’t just about the cars. It was about the people behind them. Everywhere you looked, there were folks swapping stories, trading tips, and just generally nerding out over all things automotive. It was like Comic-Con, but instead of cosplay, we had carburetors.

As Anthony Granata put it, “In every corner of the show footprint, we have intentionally coordinated attractions to ensure nobody has a moment of downtime. From live music, dancing, vintage drag racing display, first-class vendors & rod shop displays, pinup fashion show, hot rodder tributes, and obviously the best restaurants in the Valley within walking distance.”

And then there was Sunday, the day of the shop tours. This was a chance for participants to get a behind-the-scenes look at some of the area’s most impressive car collections and garages. It was like a backstage pass to the hottest show in town, except instead of getting to meet the band, you got to drool over engine blocks and marvel at the artistry of a well-crafted chassis.

Mike Graham of Graham’s Hot Rod Shop was one of the many talented builders who brought out their wares to showcase. “Graham’s Hot Rod Shop has brought out a couple of chassis,” Mike explained. “One, we’re debuting our C10 custom chassis. We also brought out our tri-five Pro Touring chassis to market them out here. We also brought some cars. We have a customer’s ’60 Corvette that we built the chassis for that we lifted the body and put the body on that Corvette.”

As the sun set on the final day of the Motorama, there was a sense of camaraderie in the air. We had come together to celebrate our shared passion, to revel in the beauty and power of these incredible machines. And while we were all a little sunburned and a lot exhausted, we knew that we’d be back next year, ready to do it all over again.

Celebration of the American Spirit

Because that’s what the Old Town Motorama is all about. It’s not just a car show; it’s a celebration of the American spirit. It’s about the rumble of engines, the gleam of chrome, and the unbreakable bonds forged over a shared love of all things fast and loud.

It’s about the thrill of the open road, the joy of tinkering under the hood, and the pride that comes with turning a rust bucket into a work of art. It’s about the stories we tell, the memories we make, and the legacies we leave behind.

So mark your calendars for next year, folks. Because trust me, you don’t want to miss this. It’s like Woodstock for gearheads, except instead of peace and love, we have horsepower and burning rubber.

So until next year’s rumble in the valley. May your engines always roar and your paint always shine. Life’s too short to drive boring cars.

About the Author

GV Wire Producer Dean Kirkland is the founder and director of Gas and Gears, an independent film production company that has produced numerous television series and feature films, including the award-winning documentary “Racing Through The Forest” (2014).

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Will Plead Guilty in Deal with US and Be Freed from Prison

DON'T MISS

Woman Tried to Drown 3-Year-Old Girl After Making Racist Comments, Police Say

DON'T MISS

Trump Vows ‘Largest Deportation in History’ if He Returns to White House

DON'T MISS

After FBI Raid, Defiant Oakland Mayor Says She Did Nothing Wrong and Will Not Resign

DON'T MISS

US is Expected to Send Ukraine $150 Million More in Munitions to Fight off Russia’s Attacks

DON'T MISS

Escalating Israel-Hezbollah Clashes Threaten to Spark Regional War and Force US into Conflict with Iran

DON'T MISS

Canelo Álvarez Inspires Big Crowd at Hispanic Foundation Gala

DON'T MISS

Car Dealerships in North America Revert to Pens and Paper After Cyberattacks on Software Provider

DON'T MISS

Why Every California Student Should Have Access to ‘Gifted’ Classes

DON'T MISS

Builder Says Fresno’s New Home Space Is Vanishing. Where Will Buyers Go?

UP NEXT

Stefani Says Goodbye! Booroojian Is Retiring After 42 Years on KSEE 24

UP NEXT

One Man Drowns in San Joaquin River, Another Is Hospitalized

UP NEXT

Small Dog With a Big Personality: Lester ‘Les’ Schwab Needs a Forever Home

UP NEXT

Fresno Suspect Arrested in Armed Home Invasion, Earlier Burglary

UP NEXT

A Half-Century of Roaring Passion: Cobras, Shelby Mustangs & The People Who Love Them

UP NEXT

Fresno Council Cracks Down on Dog Breeders and Raises Spending Limit

UP NEXT

Homeless Advocate Argues with Bredefeld, Is Ejected From Chambers

UP NEXT

Fresno State’s New AD Says Bulldogs Will ‘Achieve New Heights of Success’

UP NEXT

Fresno Trash Rate Protest Fails. Decision Rests with Council Next Week.

UP NEXT

Give-and-Take Between Dyer & Council Yields a Fresno Budget. What’s In It?

Dean Kirkland,
Executive Producer

After FBI Raid, Defiant Oakland Mayor Says She Did Nothing Wrong and Will Not Resign

9 hours ago

US is Expected to Send Ukraine $150 Million More in Munitions to Fight off Russia’s Attacks

9 hours ago

Escalating Israel-Hezbollah Clashes Threaten to Spark Regional War and Force US into Conflict with Iran

9 hours ago

Canelo Álvarez Inspires Big Crowd at Hispanic Foundation Gala

9 hours ago

Car Dealerships in North America Revert to Pens and Paper After Cyberattacks on Software Provider

10 hours ago

Why Every California Student Should Have Access to ‘Gifted’ Classes

10 hours ago

Builder Says Fresno’s New Home Space Is Vanishing. Where Will Buyers Go?

11 hours ago

Stefani Says Goodbye! Booroojian Is Retiring After 42 Years on KSEE 24

11 hours ago

A Man Missing for 10 Days in a California Forest Is Found Alive

12 hours ago

Rep. Jamaal Bowman Curses AIPAC in Profanity-Laced Campaign Remarks

12 hours ago

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Will Plead Guilty in Deal with US and Be Freed from Prison

WASHINGTON — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will plead guilty to a felony charge in a deal with the U.S. Justice Department that will free...

8 hours ago

8 hours ago

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Will Plead Guilty in Deal with US and Be Freed from Prison

8 hours ago

Woman Tried to Drown 3-Year-Old Girl After Making Racist Comments, Police Say

8 hours ago

Trump Vows ‘Largest Deportation in History’ if He Returns to White House

9 hours ago

After FBI Raid, Defiant Oakland Mayor Says She Did Nothing Wrong and Will Not Resign

9 hours ago

US is Expected to Send Ukraine $150 Million More in Munitions to Fight off Russia’s Attacks

9 hours ago

Escalating Israel-Hezbollah Clashes Threaten to Spark Regional War and Force US into Conflict with Iran

9 hours ago

Canelo Álvarez Inspires Big Crowd at Hispanic Foundation Gala

10 hours ago

Car Dealerships in North America Revert to Pens and Paper After Cyberattacks on Software Provider

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend