Sacramento Autorama

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The 2017 Sacramento Autorama was held February 17-19, 2017 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.
The poster for the 2014 Sacramento Autorama.
Sacramento-autorama-2010.jpg
The souvenir program for the 1975 Sacramento Autorama
Leroy Sema's 1937 Chevrolet at the first Sacramento Autorama in 1950. Leroy won the "Best Custom" award with the coupe at the show.

The Sacramento Autorama is the 2nd longest running indoor car show in the World. The first Sacramento Autorama in 1950 was organized by members of the Thunderbolts Car Club. Three of the founding members, Norm Milne, Buck Davis, and Lawrence Brochini, were all arguing one night about who had the nicest roadster. Fellow club member Harold Bagdasarian suggested they stage a little car show to let the public decide whose roadster was the coolest. That show was held in the service area of Capitol Chevrolet ath13th and K Streets in downtown Sacramento November 4-5, 1950. Twenty-two cars was exhibited at the show, and 500 spectators showed up for the gathering. The ticket costed 74 cents, and during those two days the organizers took in $262. By charging 74 cents instead of 75, they weren't involved in the Federal Amusement Tax. Leroy Sema's 1937 Chevrolet won the "Best Custom" trophy, and Burton Davis' 1931 Ford Model A Roadster won the "Best Hot Rod" trophy at the first Sacramento Autorama.[1]


The income from the first Sacramento Autorama did not quite meet the expenses it costed to hold the show, but Harold Bagdasarian persuaded the rest of the Thunderbolts members to try again. The date for the second Sacramento Autorama was rescheduled for April 19 and 20, 1952. The second show was moved to Newton Cope Buick's showroom at 15th and J Street, that had larger showroom space. 32 cars attended the second show. Most of the cars attending were local, but a few from the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area did also attend. The spectator count grew to more than 1,000 and the Best Custom trophy was awarded to Joe Bailon's 1941 Chevrolet Coupe, also known as The Dashboard.[1]


Following the second Autorama, the Thunderbolts were hesitant to continue due to expenses. But an optimistic Bagdasarian, encouraged by the increased attendance, was convinced that the event had the potential for being a real winner. Baggy promoted the show without the Thunderbolts' backing. It became apparent that a more suitable location was needed for expansion so he rented the Memorial Auditorium and teamed with the late John Gliebe, a motorsports publicist to increase public awareness. [1]The rent was $750 per day, and the club told Baggie that would break their treasury. Baggie, the consummate promoter, resigned as president of the Thunderbolts and contracted with the club, giving them 10 percent of the gate if they would help him with the show. The third Sacramento Autorama was held in late January 1953, and the show had now grown in to a 3 days event. This was the first time the name "Autorama" was used, since the exhibits expanded to include all types of hot rods, customs, motorcycles, race cars, boats and specialty vehicles. A theater area for the showing of various racing events, such as the Indianapolis 500 was introduced as well. The event drew 70 entries and nearly 8,000 spectators, including famed sportsman J.C. Agajanian, whose Number 98 Indianapolis car was one of the specialty entries.[1]


In 1954, Baggie gave the Thunderbolts a check for $5,700, and went on to produce the show for many years. The 1954 Sacramento Autorama and Motor Sports Review utilized both the main floor and basement of the Memorial Auditorium, and attendance of nearly 9,000. In 1955, the Autorama was shifted to the 33,000 square foot Merchandise Mart Building at the old California State Fairgrounds on Stockton Boulevard. By 1958, the large crowds and success made a five-day Autorama a reality. After the 1963 show saw nearly 30,000 attendees it was moved to the larger Women's Building on the fairgrounds for 1964. Vehicle entries were up to 150 and in 1966 the adjacent Governor's Hall was used to increase floor space.[1]


In 1970, Bagdasarian moved the Autorama into three buildings at the Cal Expo. Entries increased to about 175 and two of the buildings were used for displays. The third was converted to a 1,500 seat movie theater. The Sacramento Autorama has expanded to more buildings to accommodate its present day exhibition of nearly 300 of the most spectacular vehicles in the world. Bagdasarian carried on with the show through the 70's and 80's. In the late 80's he teamed with Sacramento's Don Tognotti, who produced the Sacramento Autorama until Feb 1999. [1]


In 1999, Baggie and Don sold the show to Dan Cyr Enterprises out of Portland, Oregon. The Thunderbolts club is still active in the production and judging at the Autorama, with current president Butch Gardner acting as the show's floor manager. Today the Autorama is recognized as the premiere custom car show on the West Coast. Three of the major awards at the Sacramento Autorama are named for the "B" boys: Barris, Bertolucci, and Bagdasarian.


The Harold Bagdasarian Award, or the Baggie, is awarded every year by Harold himself, for the World's Most Beautiful Custom. Dick Bertolucci is still active in Sacramento rodding, and the Dick Bertolucci Award is given for Best Craftsmanship, Fit and Finish, in a 1972-or-earlier vehicle. The third "B" award is the Sam Barris Memorial Award, presented every year by Sam's son, John Barris.


Visit www.rodshows.com for more information about Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2017

The 67th annual Sacramento Autorama was held February 17-19, 2017 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.


Photos:
Click here to see photos from the 2017 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2015

The 65th annual Sacramento Autorama was held February 14-16, 2015 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.


Photos:
Click here to see photos from the 2015 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Michael Corazzelli's photos from the 2015 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Mutant Surfing's photos from the 2015 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Craig Owens55's photos from the 2015 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2014

The 64th annual Sacramento Autorama was held February 14-16, 2014 at the Cal Expo in Sacramento, California.

Photos:
Click here to see Michael Corazzelli's photos from the 2014 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Fred R Childers' photos from the 2014 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Bballchico' photos from the 2014 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2012

Photos:
Click here to see Michael Corazzelli's photos from the 2012 Sacramento Autorama

Sacramento Autorama 2011

Photos:
Click here to see Christina Robinson's photos from the 2011 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Bomb City's photos from the 2011 Sacramento Autorama

Sacramento Autorama 2010

The 60th annual Sacramento Autorama was held February 19-21, 2010 at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds in Sacramaneto, California. For the first time ever the show was held 3 weeks after the Grand National Roadster Show instead of 2 weeks.

Villains CC's pictures from the 2010 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Rik Hoving's album with Custom Cars of the 2010 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Childers Photography's pictures from the 2010 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Darth Cena's pictures from the 2010 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Aesaburnphotos' pictures from the 2010 Sacramento Autorama

Sacramento Autorama 2009

The 59th Sacramento Autorama was held February 6 - 8, 2009. The Suede Pavilion, arranged by Alex Idzardi hosted a historic gathering of custom Mercs celebrating 60 years of the first Sam Barris chopped top.

Click here to see Rik Hoving's pictures from the 2009 Sacramento Autorama
Click here to see Aresauburn's pictures from the 2009 Sacramento Autorama

Sacramento Autorama 2008

Childers Photography's photos from the 2008 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2007

Childers Photography's photos from the 2007 Sacramento Autorama

Sacramento Autorama 2006

Childers Photography's photos from the 2006 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2005

Childers Photography's photos from the 2005 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2004

Childers Photography's photos from the 2004 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2002

Childers Photography's photos from the 2002 Sacramento Autorama


Sacramento Autorama 2001

Childers Photography's photos from the 2001 Sacramento Autorama



Sacramento Autorama 1960

Cars Attending:
The Golden Sahara II[2]
Delmar McCutcheon's 1955 Buick - The Kandy Kane
Don Tognotti's 1955 Ford Thunderbird - The Green Voodoo[2]
Don Fletcher's 1957 Chevrolet - El Capitola[2]


Sacramento Autorama 1959

Cars Attending:
Don Tognotti's 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Marge Bailon's 1955 Chevrolet Nomad
Richard Gregg's 1950 Ford Pickup - The Capri
Don Delgado's 1958 Chevrolet Impala
Jerry Furtado's 1954 Ford
Clay Crabtree's 1955 Ford Thunderbird
Dean Jeffries' 1956 Porsche 356
Dawn Smith's 1950 Mercury


Sacramento Autorama & Motor Sports Review 1958

Cars Attending:
David Rolin's 1957 Ford


Photos:
Click here to see Kustomrama's Photos from the 1958 Sacramento Autorama & Motor Sports Review


Sacramento Autorama and Motor Sports Review 1954

Sacramento Autorama 1953

The third Sacramento Autorama was held in late January 1953, and the show had now grown in to a 3 days event. This was the first time the name "Autorama" was used, since the exhibits expanded to include all types of hot rods, customs, motorcycles, race cars, boats and specialty vehicles. A theater area for the showing of various racing events, such as the Indianapolis 500 was introduced as well. The event drew 70 entries and nearly 8,000 spectators, including famed sportsman J.C. Agajanian, whose Number 98 Indianapolis car was one of the specialty entries.[1]


Sacramento Autorama 1952

The second Sacramento Autorama was held April 19-20, 1952 at Newton Cope Buick's showroom at 15th and J Street in Sacramento. The show had been due to the need of a larger showroom.32 cars attended the second show. Most of the cars attending were local, but a few from the San Francisco/Oakland Bay area did also attend. The spectator count grew to more than 1,000 and the Best Custom trophy was awarded to Joe Bailon's 1941 Chevrolet Coupe, also known as The Dashboard.[1] The club had five trophies to award, and Joe won three of them! Joe would later rename the car Miss Elegance.

Cars Attending:
Joe Bailon's 1941 Chevrolet - The Dashboard


Sacramento Autorama 1950

The first Sacramento Autorama was held in the service area of new car dealer Capitol Chevrolet on November 4-5, 1950. Twenty-two cars was exhibited at the show, and 500 spectators showed up for the gathering. Leroy Sema's 1937 Chevrolet won the "Best Custom" trophy, and Burton Davis' 1931 Ford Model A Roadster won the "Best Hot Rod" trophy at the first Sacramento Autorama.[1]

Car Attendings:
Burton Davis' 1931 Ford Model A Roadster
Leroy Semas' 1937 Chevrolet
Butler Rugard's 1940 Mercury
Johnny Lehman's 1948 Mercury


Awared Cars:
Best Custom : Leroy Semas' 1937 Chevrolet

Best Hot Rod: Burton Davis' 1931 Ford Model A Roadster





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