If you’re on the East Coast or in the Midwest, the above title might sound a little strange to you. But if you’re from Southern California, then you’re more than likely familiar with Bates Nut Farm – and the events that they have throughout the summer. It’s open all year round, and hosts everything from high school class reunions, hay rides, and our personal favorite – car shows!
On June 2nd, 2013, some of the area’s most committed Turbo Buick enthusiasts assembled at Bates Nut Farm for the ‘Buicks at Bates’ car show. Mike Barnard, (aka “SpoolFool” on TurboBuick.com) is a Buick GN owner, an avid enthusiast, and now a manufacturer of custom, fiberglass bumper fillers – exclusively designed for the ’81-87 Buick Regal.
Barnard’s so passionate about Buicks, that he not only decided to start his own company dedicated to these cars, but to bring back an event from the old days of the Turbo Buick hobby when Grand Nationals and T-Types were much more abundant and popular among the masses.
Not hosted by any of the large regional clubs or organizations, like the BPG or the GSCA, the ‘Buicks at Bates’ event was the brainchild of just Barnard and a few area enthusiasts – some coming as far as Nevada and Arizona just to enjoy the one-day event for several hours. But that’s not to say that the show didn’t have its fair share of highly respected supporters.
Contributing to the show’s raffle were some of the biggest names in the Turbo Buick hobby, including; TurboLou, Alky Control, Kirban Performance, Highway Stars, TA Performance, RJC Racing, ALRADCO, GBodyParts.com, HRpartsNStuff, GNS Performance, TurboBuick.com, and of course, Spoolfool Productions, and Nick Micale of Arizona GN.com – who was personally on hand to help pass out the raffle prizes.
We’re not talking about flyers, bumper stickers, and refrigerator magnets in terms of prizes, either. Since these guys work and play hard, they don’t mess around when it comes to helping each other out.
They really surprised everyone, including us, collectively giving away Buick body components, interior trim pieces, performance upgrades, gift certificates, collectibles, detailing products, and even a killer set of GN replica wheels cast in clear-coated aluminum. They were so sweet, we seriously wanted them for ourselves!
All a show-goer had to do was purchase a few raffle tickets for $1 a piece for a chance to take these incredible prizes home – we tried.
When we first heard about this event through the TurboBuick.com forums, we were more than happy to ride out to Bates in Valley Center, California, bringing our own in-house “potential Buick GN project” with us and covering the show. As Buick enthusiasts ourselves, why wouldn’t we?
While our own Buick has yet to be given the official green light, much less a catchy nickname, we went in hopes of collecting a few new ideas and meeting with some of the biggest names in the hobby face to face.
Hey, if we want to get the support we need from the Turbo Buick community, it’s probably a good idea to show our readers in person what we’re working with, right?
And get ideas for our car we did, as we encountered pretty much every possible combination available in a Turbo Buick street application; road racing, autocross, and street/strip in particular is pretty much what this set was all about. Sure, there might have been a few “beauty queens” in attendance, but we’re certain that any one of them would surprise the owners of today’s hottest pony cars.
Despite the fact that we were having a mechanical issue with our car on that day, that didn’t keep any of the attendees from walking over, checking out the car, and lending a hand to help diagnose our GN’s technicalities. Even Nick Micale and crew offered their suggestions, while others who were readers of the magazine gave us a few ideas what they would like to see in the project.
One part about this event that we especially liked, was that there was no judging – literally or socially. Boosted Regals from ’86 and ’87 were well represented, and while there were definitely those that were in pristine, show-winning condition, there were many others that have seen better days in terms of cosmetics.
That was OK, though, because this event was about bringing enthusiasts together, and the hosts of the show were just happy to have the cars turn up – running and driving, like they should be. We were surprised, however, to see that no “before black” carbureted or “hot air” EFI ’84-85 cars turned up.
Altogether, the event brought a total of forty-one Turbo Regals, four classic Buick musclecars (three ’71 GSs, and a ’64 Skylark), and even a C6 ZR1 – that was packing a little bit more than the factory 638 hp, thanks to ‘Turbo Lou’ Czarnota.
Less than fifty cars might not sound all that impressive to those used to showing up to all-Mopar or Mustang shows, but for a get-together that was primarily billed as a Turbo Buick-only event, it was quite impressive.
But even the ones that might have been the most beautiful examples in the world, were still built into some of the fastest street cars around, and that’s what keeps the legacy of a Turbo Buick everlasting, not a bunch of 1st Place show trophies.
After the event was over, and Barnard was given a couple of days to gather his thoughts, we gave him a ring on the phone to provide us with any additional information that he could. As he tells us, the event was a success, and there are already new sponsors signing up for next year’s event. The show for 2014 is already locked in place (June, 1st), and we have a sneaky suspicion that it will be even bigger and better than this one! See you next year!