2022 Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion Was Boomin’

Ontario, California is a bustling hamlet in southwest San Bernardino County, just east of Los Angeles. A major city in California’s Inland Empire, it is nestled at the foot of the spectacular San Gabriel mountains. Not only is there rugged natural beauty surrounding the city, but it’s also right next door to an honest-to-God NASCAR race track and an airport that makes it an attractive alternative to LAX.

Ontario. California is a spectacular area of the country. You can see verdant Euclid Avenue running through town here. a perfect place for a car show.

The historic downtown section of Ontario is very quaint and mostly intact with preserved architecture and a leafy medium that runs right through the middle of it. If you could go back in time and take a snapshot of a simpler era of California, this swath of old downtown would be exactly how you imagine it to be.

Not much has changed on Euclid Avenue since this postcard from the fifties. Sure there is a Starbucks and a smattering of new buildings, but it mostly remains intact. Today, add several hundred classic cars and you have the next best thing to a time machine.

Each year, the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau presents the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion, the ultimate weekend celebration of America’s love affair with the automobile and its world-famous highway, Route 66. Two days of cruisin’, contests, live entertainment, fabulous food, and partying make it one of the best events of its kind. The two-day classic car show attracted over 1,000 cars and an estimated 150,000 fans.

Held each September along historic, tree-shaded Euclid Avenue, the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion is where classic cruisers, convertibles, hot rods, and wicked Woodies fuel a high octane hootenanny. As always, big-name musical acts performed on Saturday night, and this year, Jefferson Airplane and Shiela E rocked the open-air arena in the town square.

Your last ride should be in something cool, like this 1977 Cadillac Hearse, with flames and Cragars.

The morning air was heavy with the fragrance of gasoline. We got there early before the crowds began to funnel in, and for an hour or two, one can have free reign of the place and get a lay of the land. The first thing that becomes apparent at the Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion is the vast assortment of fat-fendered cars from the thirties and forties.  Check out some of our favorites.

So Cal is the wailing wall of lowriders and the good people of the area were representin’. We have a soft spot for long, low American cars and weren’t disappointed. These machines are essentially rolling canvases for some of the best artists in the country. If you have a custom build in mind, this show is also a great place for ideas and inspiration.

Each year, Power Automedia is on the ground at the Route 66 Cruisin’ reunion, covering the show for our two publications that cater to the custom car crowd, Street Muscle and Chevy Hardcore. We scoured the show and picked two of our favorites for our Editor’s Choice awards.

Chevy Hardcore is for lovers of classic Bow Tie iron and old-school rat and mouse motors.  It was a tough call to pick our Editor’s Choice from the show, but when we saw Louis Garcia’s 1948 Chevy truck we were smitten. With the proper stance and wheels, minus any stripes or scoops to muddle things up, this little red Chevy truck was a beauty. Powered by a nicely dressed small block, there is enough grunt here to easily haul a bail of hay or two. We believe the best builds pay attention to the details and this truck was expertly finished and impeccably presented. Congrats to Louis on his win of Chevy Hardcore’s Editor’s Choice award!

Street Muscle magazine showcases hot rods and muscle cars from 1900 to today. Again, it was hard to pick our Editor’s Choice winner from so many killer rides but we narrowed it down to a few candidates. When the smoke cleared, our obsession with Mopars nudged our choice for the winner. Dig Brad Morton’s 1970 E-body Dodge restromod. With a modern HEMI shoehorned under the hood, it looks like it rolled off the assembly line with this modern mill. The paint and overall build quality were excellent, and the expertly stitched interior was the frosting on the cake of this Mopar missile. Congrats to Brad and his win of Street Muscle’s Editor’s Choice award!

There were hundreds of cars on display and some others really stood out for us.  In no particular order, here are some other favorites of ours from the 2022 Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion.

Check out this Winnebago from hell. Jacked-up and maxed-out, it was shorn of paint and glistened in the Southern California sun. It created quite a stir and towered above the crowds that swarmed around it. Forget about beige boxes with swirl graphics and “Born Free” scribbled on the side, and revel in this sick sin bin.

What do you get when you chop a Pinto in two? You get this little equestrian shorty. The little speedster was cooler than you might think and with no doors and a rollbar it had a dune buggy feel to it. With the short wheelbase it probably rides like an apple cart, but who cares? We would totally drive the wheels off of it.

We love Bauhaus cool and it was oozing from every pore of this early VW Beetle convertible. Remember, old V-Dubs are just fat-fendered cars with running boards that were produced for decades. This car had a crazy beautiful interior and rare semaphore flip-out turn signals. A pristine, expertly restored example. Whew!

As the sun set on Ontario, show-goers migrated over to the stage area and attended a rousing performance from Sheila E and Jefferson Starship.  When the concert ended, the crowd slowly meandered back to their cars and bid farewell to Ontario and another successful Route 66 Cruisin’ Reunion show on Euclid Avenue. We’d like to give a  big shoutout to Greater Ontario Convention and Vistors Bureau for putting on a great show. See you next year!

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Dave Cruikshank

Dave Cruikshank is a lifelong car enthusiast and an editor at Power Automedia. He digs all flavors of automobiles, from classic cars to modern EVs. Dave loves music, design, tech, current events, and fitness.
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