Street Muscle Visits The 2018 All American Car Show In San Diego

Saturday July 21, 2018 Street Muscle Magazine was at the All American Car Show put on by The Mopar Club of San Diego. This signature event happens annually, and this year they celebrated their 20th.

All the proceeds are donated to local charities selected by the club. Some of the past charities the Club has donated to are Homefront San Diego, USO San Diego, Wounded Warrior Homes, and Warrior Foundation Freedom Station. In 2017 the club was able to donate $10,000 to those charities. 

The reason the show is so successful is due in part to both its location, and the type of vehicle it attracts. As the name of the show indicates, there wasn’t anything that didn’t have an American auto manufacturers name on it. There were a plethora of Mopars there, which should come as no surprise.

One of the best things about car shows, are actually the people. Chances are, even if you don’t know anyone in attendance or anyone who brought a car, you’ll still be able to find someone to connect with at a car show. Even if it is a car show you wouldn’t normally attend, or one that features the cars you typically like; car people are car people. Interestingly enough, at this year’s All American Car Show, there was no shortage of real-deal car people.

This Chevelle has just the right ’70s/’80s feel to it.  The street machine stance, and big block under the hood give it a perfectly timeless look. It even has a box full of 8-track tapes sitting on the passenger floor to complete the vintage aesthetic.

Take for example, this gentleman with his very cool ’80s-era Chevelle with skinnies up front and meats out back. But the thing is, in this case, it isn’t the car that makes him an interesting “car guy.” It’s what’s inside his car that stands out. A peek inside the cockpit of his ride reveals the original 8-track player and case of 8 tracks that have probably been with car for years. Great music and cool cars go hand-in-hand, so naturally most car guys are also into music. For this guy, his flavor is Elvis, as you can see from his collection. If this is his 8 track collection, we’d love to get a look at his vinyl.

The owner's taste in music is not unlike our own. Music is one more thing car enthusiasts can bond over, and his collection features some of the greats of the muscle car era. Our favorite is probably that Creedence Clearwater Revival tape.

Car people also tend to stick together, hence the whole car-club culture. While the All American Car Show is hosted by The Mopar Club Of San Diego, we also spied this vintage jacket sporting a car club’s moniker, “Street Racers.” We wish we could have met up with Torino Doug and chewed his ear off about the good ol’ days and his beautiful ’70 Torino, but he was nowhere to be found. Off talking all things classic and cool, no doubt.

We’re guessing “Torino” Doug’s jacket has seen its fair share of wild times.

In a sea of cars that all scream, “look at me!” there are no shortage of characters at any car show, though. From strobe lights, underglow neon, and other wild attention grabbers, to something as humorous as a hamster wheel that, “adds horsepower,” people are always trying to stand out.

Well, it’s better than fake scoops, or NOS stickers without the bottle.

But, you didn’t come here to look at hamster wheels and jean jackets, it was a car show, and you want to see some cars. Well, being Street Muscle, we don’t discriminate; our hearts are made of chrome, and we gravitate toward that. As such, we collected some of our favorite classic muscle that was in attendance.

If there's one thing we love, it's cars that get driven, and this triple blue '71 Cuda is a car that gets driven! With 256,000 miles on the clock, this daily driven Plymouth is already a rarity, but the fact that only 87 383 equipped, automatic Cuda convertibles were made in 1971 make it all the more extraordinary.

The Cuda pictured above immediately stood out to us as we walked the grounds. Swimming in blue, this Cuda is understated and striking at the same time. The fact it is so well preserved, such a rare car, and sports so many miles on the odometer only added to the mystique of such a radical ’70s ride.

Not to be outdone by the aforementioned triple blue Cuda, this robust green '68 Camaro RS/SS was waiting just around the corner. While the green is striking, it's the details that made this Camaro truly stand out.

It would be easy to get lost in the Synergy Green paint job that emblazons this Camaro, and miss out on all the other details that make it so cool. That’s not to say we don’t love the color taken from a 2012 Camaro, it’s just that we think the Strato bench seat is a great departure from the normal bucket seats we’re used to seeing. As are the simple black rally wheels, and super-clean 396 its packing under the hood. All said, this thing is tough from any angle, and the fact the owner went wild with the color, while dialing it back on the details is not lost on us.

No frills here. This Barracuda is all go. With a clean engine bay and trunk, this track car is all about running around corners, and doing it quickly. We particularly like the Recaro buckets in the cockpit that mix a little new-school flavor into this classic track-car.

Decorated with race livery atop the repainted, original Soft Yellow, this Barracuda was all business. At first, it was the no-frills approach to toughness that made it stand out, but the closer we looked, we realized this car has really been turned into a brutish ground pounder. Originally a Slant-Six car, it is now powered by a 408ci Magnum mated to a 727 TorqueFlite trans with a Gear Vendors overdrive. After we climbed under the rear of the car, we noted the leaf springs were missing. Instead, a triangulated 4-link with coilovers was in charge of keeping the ride tight through corners. This Barracuda has been stiffened, straightened, smoothed and massaged into the very capable street machine you see now.

The personality of the owner really shows through on this Chevelle wagon. We didn't get a chance to speak with them, but it's apparent they love old-school SoCal culture as much as we do. The surf board, vintage drive-in tray complete with burger and Coke, and all the speed stickers and Playboy Bunny scream nostalgia.

The personality of a custom car’s owner can almost always be seen in some form or another. Building a project car, or in this case, show car, is a very personal undertaking. This ride got our attention for multiple reasons, but it wasn’t necessarily the car itself. We aren’t against wagons per se, but if this Malibu was a plain-Jane color and the owner didn’t go to the trouble of “painting a picture” of who they are with the accessories, we might not have stopped. Then again, when you consider all the body modifications and the paint this wagon has, anyone would be hard pressed to keep walking. Four doors have been converted into two, the roof panel of an Olds Vista Cruiser has been grafted on, as well as El Camino rear-quarter panels, and the paint is customized to look like wood grain. This wagon is, for lack of a better word, kick-ass!

What do you do when you want truly modern amenities in a classic ride? You lift everything out of a modern ride and graft it onto something classic. At least that's what Lonnie Clabaugh did to his 1970 Cuda. With the donor car being a 2012 Challenger R/T, not much besides the body remains of this classic Mopar. But, really, what more do you need? We dig it.

Lonnie Clabaugh has built something unique with this 1970 Plymouth Cuda. According to him, “The airbags were basically the only equipment not used from the [donor] Challenger.” Swapping the complete interior, even the headliner, Clabaugh transformed this ride. It now has functional paddle shifters, heated seats, bluetooth, and anti-lock brakes to go along with the modern drivetrain. The motor, trans, and most surprisingly, independent-rear suspension were all swapped over as well. We’re betting this thing is a blast to drive!

One of the best parts of working in the automotive media is meeting some really great people along the way. Being at the All American Car Show was no exception. Swapping stories, taking photos, making memories is a big part of this hobby and lifestyle. Without our readers and their love of all things muscle, we wouldn’t be here. So, whenever we can stop and talk to interesting people, we do. Such is the case for the two individuals below.

This Nova proves that with a little patience and elbow grease, you can build a cool cruiser on a minimal budget.

We ran into Michael McGinnis as he was leaving the show. He had some flare and it carried over to his Nova. While we don’t normally get excited over a car with more doors, and a six-cylinder; this Nova had the look. Michael has been restoring this Nova for the past two years. It has been a labor of love as he has transformed it into a great family cruiser. We saw it as a testament that you don’t need a lot of money to get into this hobby, and more young people should. It is easy to become intimidated with the task of restoring a classic car, but not every build has to be on a huge budget.

We also ran into some friends while at the show. Project Track Attack, and owner Michael Harding. Harding and our friends at Champion Cooling were there showing love to everyone with Champion gear on their ride. Every owner they saw next to a ride sporting a Champion cooling system got a trick billet Champion radiator cap. It’s that kind of customer care that really sets Champion apart. They were out there showing their wares, and Street Muscle’s Project Track Attack was on display as well. Harding has really put in some work transforming his Belvedere from boring to brute, and now it sits pretty.

We had a great time meeting everyone at the show and taking some great photos of rad rides. We wish we could do a feature on all of them for our readers, but for now, you’ll have to settle for the honorable mentions of the show. We gave you our top picks above, and these almost made the cut.

What a rad ’80s vibe from this ’73 Roadrunner GTX. It was sporting a 440 under the hood, and check those OG Ansen slot mags!

Blazers never go out of style, and this one was very cool. Surrounded by a bunch of low-slung muscle cars, this K5 stood tall with that loud and proud orange paint job

We won’t lie. It’s the license plate that got us. AAREAL1! What a great looking AAR Cuda.

We capped off the day by heading to the beach in Encinitas just down the road. The only thing better than a day filled with muscle cars is finishing it off with more cars at the local watering hole and a few cold ones with new friends. Somehow, Mexican beer just tastes better when you’re staring at some classic rides with the sound of ocean waves crashing in the background. We’d like to thank The Mopar Club Of San Diego for putting on such a great event, and until next time, keep the hammer down, and check back in with us at for everything muscle.




About the author

Vinny Costa

Fast cars, motorcycles, and loud music are what get Vinny’s blood pumping. Catch him behind the wheel of his ’68 Firebird. Chances are, Black Sabbath will be playing in the background.
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