2016 Temecula Rod Run: So-Cal’s Best Gearheads And Street Machines

Rod Run Recap lead artIt’s finally Spring; we’re in the middle of March and the height of car-show season is upon us. All the over-winter projects are (hopefully) coming to a close, and the car covers are finally coming off. The weather’s gotten more consistently perfect and that Spring-cleaning itch is taking hold– spurring us all into the driveway for hours at a time, detailing our rides to a mirror-finish and eager to show them off.

For those of us here in Southern California (namely, Temecula Valley), we’ve been graced with this fair weather for longer than most. While you fellas out in the Mid-West and way back East might’ve still been enduring more rain than shine, our weather started warming up in February (I guess “global warming” is good for something). Naturally, then, we kicked off our show season a bit early– and boy did we get off on the right foot.

RodRun 000Every year, our home town of Temecula, California hosts a Rod Run; this year, it was on the beautiful weekend of March 4th and 5th. The event takes over all of Temecula’s Old Town, playing heavily into the area’s already vintage, “throwback” vibe. Browsing the countless classics all gathered in between the old-school architecture really amplifies the nostalgia and makes for a pretty unique experience.

The Rod Run is always a huge success, attracting hundreds of gorgeous cars and thousands of starstruck spectators. Diehard car guys and casual observers alike flock from all over Southern California, with some coming from as far South as San Diego or as far North as Los Angeles. Be it the food, the live music, or the community itself, even those not as in touch with their inner gearhead can peruse the streets and have a killer time.

RodRun 002The show officially began at 9 o’clock in the morning, but we showed up closer to 8 o’clock in the hopes of snagging a decent parking spot. But lo and behold, even an hour before the official start of the show, parking was near non-existent; we had to settle for a spot roughly a half-mile from Old Town.

This year’s event was such a great turnout that, even while walking toward Front Street, the streets were riddled with rods and customs galore. You really couldn’t turn anywhere and not be face to face with some beamingly-proud owner’s pride and joy.

And that, in and of itself, is one of the greatest aspects of the Rod Run– the community of owners and enthusiasts that are ready and willing to talk cars with you all day long. Every owner we stopped to chat with was down to earth and as much in love with everyone else’s cars as their own; the genuinely friendly, approachable atmosphere very well represents our gearhead community in Temecula, and that’s one of the reasons that the Rod Run is always such a successful event.

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One such owner that we had the pleasure of spending time with was Jerry Davis, the owner of this jaw-dropping ’63 Impala. The best part of the Rod Run taking place in Old Town Temecula is the labyrinthian layout of the entire show, with cars up and down every side street and back alley of the venue. It almost made the show somewhat maze-like, making it very easy to get blissfully lost in all of the classics.

While digging ourselves deeper into the Rod Run-maze, we rounded a corner and spotted Jerry’s Baltic Blue Impala hugging the ground at the end of the street. There’s just something about a stellar blue paint job that effectively drowns out anything in its vicinity.

RodRun 005We approached Jerry, who readily welcomed the questions and attention on his car. After all, he’s well accustomed to it– he’s won several awards, including Best Paint, Best Engine, and a DJ’s Choice award.

The first thing we asked about was, of course, the paint. Jerry told us that he’s had the car for six years, but only had the paint done last year. To give it the incredibly deep hue, he actually had some purple mixed in; at certain angles, it’s revealed in a beautiful gradient of the two colors. And with the original 327 small-block, Powerglide transmission, and air bag suspension, this BowTie likely cruises as good as it looks.

RodRun 009

Eventually we were able to break away from Jerry’s intoxicating Impala and take in some of the other incredible machines. While every car at the event was a piece of automotive history and contributed to the grandeur of the whole day, there were some that stood out to us more than others. Of the more notable were what looked like Concours-level Corvettes and classic Chevys, a handful of radically unique Ford T-buckets, and iconic Mopars like the ‘Cuda, Challenger, and Charger.

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RodRun 134We even bumped into this first-gen Ford GT, which had an incredible presence. In a sea of classics and cruisers, the late-model sports car legend stuck out like a sore thumb– in a good way, of course. The owner was incredibly nice and loved the attention his car received (which, as you can imagine, came in large quantities), and we definitely respect that.

With such rare, peerless cars as the GT, we often find that owners can be less than hospitable when showing them. This owner, however, was in no way hostile towards the crowds constantly around his ride; he respected his fellow gearheads and, like everyone else, just wanted to have a good time. That pretty much sums up the entire attitude of the event: laid-back, easy-going, and all about the cars.

RodRun 099Check out the rest of the super clean street machines we spotted at this year’s Temecula Rod Run.

Photo gallery


About the author

Joshua Phillips

Josh has always been captivated by cars, from legendary classics and late-model American muscle, to European supercars. is passionate about discovering ways to tune the internal combustion engine, and to make it stronger, and push its limits. Born and raised in Southern California, some of Josh's fondest memories were made in a garage with his grandfather. He also has a passion for motorcycles and enjoys spending weekends hunting for the best roads.
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