The Murrieta Rod Run is one of the most beloved car shows in Southern California and was held last weekend in Riverside County. The show commandeered a quaint little stretch of an old school main street that has long been eclipsed by massive development and sprawl but miraculously, has survived intact.
The Wild West
The Temecula Valley has sweeping, majestic vistas and wide open spaces. Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains, it has the best weather in the world from November to June, but then buckle up as the temps sizzle through summer.
Murrieta and Temecula were once sleepy hamlets with around 20,000 people, but since the 1990s the population exploded and is now roughly a quarter of a million people, most seeking relief from high home prices and the urban ills of Los Angeles and Orange County. Riverside County’s population has ballooned to around a million residents as well.
Remarkably, Murreta retains its small-town feel and is the perfect backdrop for a local car show. The Rod Run is a mainstay not only for car fans from the sister cities of Murrieta and Temecula, but from the surrounding areas in Southern California as well.
Southern California Dreamin’
The 2023 Murrieta Rod Run is a two-day event that showcases more than 500 vintage vehicles in historic downtown Murrieta. The event, hosted by the Drifters Car Club of Southern California, is not only a feast for the eyes, but also a fundraiser for the Oak Grove Center, a nonprofit organization that serves at-risk and special needs youth.
The event kicked off on Friday, October 13, with a night cruise from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hundreds of classic cars parade along Washington Street, revving their engines and honking their horns. The night cruise is free and open to the public. You can enjoy music, food, and vendors along the way too.
The show’s big day is on Saturday, October 14, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the classic cars park along Washington Street for the show and shine. You can stroll along the avenue and bask in the beauty and craftsmanship of these vintage vehicles. You’ll see plenty of hot rods, muscle cars, and trucks. You can also vote for your favorite car in various categories, such as best paint, best interior, and best engine.
The show is free and open to the public, but you can support the Oak Grove Center by purchasing raffle tickets, merchandise, or food from the vendors. The Oak Grove Center is a nonprofit that provides residential care, education, and therapy for children and teens who have behavioral, emotional, or psychological challenges. The Murrieta Rod Run is one of their major fundraisers, and all proceeds go towards their programs and services.
The Murrieta Rod Run is a fun and family-friendly event that celebrates the passion and culture of classic cars. It is also a way to give back to the community and help children in need. If you are interested in attending or participating in future Murrieta Rod Runs, you can visit their website for more information and registration details. You can also follow them on Facebook for updates and photos.
Street Muscles Faves and Raves
There were many machines of all stripes at the show. We never envy judges at these events, because choosing a winner in a sea of excellence is always tough. Having said all that, here are some of Street Muscle Mag’s faves at the 2023 Murrieta Rod Run.
1959 Impala Convertible
1970 Plymouth 340 Barracuda
1961 Chevrolet Wagon
1941 Plymouth P12 Special Deluxe
1964 Volkswagen Camper
Stonehenge/Molly Hatchet Dodge Tradesman Van
As the sun set over the Santa Ana Mountains and the cars rolled out of Old Town, another Murrieta Rod Run came to a close. A special thanks to the Drifters Car Club for another excellent show. If you’ve never been to this part of Southern California, may we suggest a trip down for the next Murrieta Rod Run? San Diego is an hour south and Palm Springs is an hour east. Sister city Temecula features wine tours and hot air balloons, what could go wrong? We think it’s worth the trip to see some of the best custom cars and the sights of a still innocent part of Southern California.