This annual gathering of car enthusiasts – ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN’ IN THE GROVE – reaps big rewards for Santa Barbara area veterans and their families. CGC‘s Jim Palam brought his support and camera to capture some of the good things that can happen when Car Guys with a Cause gather in The Grove!

ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN' IN THE GROVEThe Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks was founded in New York City in 1868. Part of their stated mission is “To inculcate the principles of Charity, Justice, Brotherly Love and Fidelity – and to cultivate good fellowship.” I’m happy to report that on Saturday, July 24th, that mission was accomplished handily at Santa Barbara Elks Lodge No. 613. Its Classic Car & Vintage Trailer Show in Goleta, CA turned out to be their highest attended car event in 12 years – with over 155 classics on display – including vintage motorcycles and travel trailers.

I had lived in Santa Barbara for 35 years and unfortunately never attended one of the Elks’ car shows. This year the timing and the motivation aligned and I was snapping and chatting as soon as the gates opened at 9 AM Saturday morning. The first gem that caught my eye was a perfect, blue 356 Porsche Speedster, above, parked by a vintage, red & white Shasta travel trailer. Now that’s how you get this reporter’s blood pumpin’ at the start of a show, and that’s one clever way to proudly display the Red, White & Blue!

A towering Weiand 6-71 supercharger kit is one of the reasons Paul Paxton of Oxnard doesn’t have a hood on his ferocious ’40 Ford Every-Other-Day Driver. I suppose if gasoline prices drop again this cooler-than-liquid-helium red coupe would be a Daily-Driver. Of course, I had to ask Paul if he was in anyway related to the supercharger folks at Paxton Automotive. His reply: “Yeah, I’ve heard that, but it’s just a lot of air.”

ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN' IN THE GROVEWhen Jeff and Stacey Gourson got married their wedding song was At Last. When they finally realized their ’20 years in the making’ Musclecar Dream, they plated their beautiful big-block Chevy-powered ’64 GTO, ATTLAST.  This Pontiac is a formidable pouncer, with its 468-inch Chevy delivering 580 horsepower to the rear wheels. There’s an extra “T” on the vanity plate because – surprise, surprise – ATLAST was already taken.

ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN' IN THE GROVECars and vintage trailers were displayed in two different areas, separated by the spacious Elks Lodge building. I found myself bopping back and forth as conversations and curiosity drew me from one location to the other. I spent time admiring David Bethard’s sexy and sleek, black ‘40 Ford Deluxe Convertible then rambled over to the trailers and discovered a fully-accessorized ‘57 Rambler Custom station wagon fronting a fully-equipped ‘56 Rainbow trailer. It was back to the cars again for a close look at the Baja-bruising Coors Light Racing No. 559 VW Bug. It seems apt that this voracious looking orange Bug was conceived and built to eat-up the desert!

Money raised from participant entry fees, food & beverage sales and donations go directly to the Elks Lodge Veteran Support programs which include homeless veterans’ breakfasts, hot meals for home-bound vets, clothing, hygiene and mental health support, plus holiday gift cards for needy veterans’ families. There’s another technique the Elks employed for raising money at the event: deploying the high-spirited Raffle Ticket Trio. Their big smiles, colorful tattoos and endless exuberance were impossible to ignore, and from what I could see, very effective at thinning wallets.

So, let’s speculate that the amount of cash collected by the Elks for this good cause was substantial. If that were true, which one of these cool vehicles would be the best to transport the bounty to the bank? Steven Jacobson’s 23-Window ‘60 VW Bus looks pretty spacious but with all those windows the haul would be far from hidden – as would be the case with Dave Boytis’ open bed ’61 Corvair Loadside. Nope, we’re going to need something stealth and swift – like Chuck Nestor’s raked ’69 Dodge A100 surfer van. Maybe paint a Diaper Delivery logo on the side for more deception and odorous security. Yeah, I’m going with the Dodge.

In addition to cool cars and travel trailers there were about a dozen vintage motorcycles lined-up outside the lodge for display: A couple of Indians, a number of Harleys, a wispy Whizzer, a tasty Triumph and my pick of the bunch – a beautifully restored, ‘69 650 BSA A65 Thunderbolt. As appealing as these 1960s -1970s-era British touring bikes were, they succumbed to the onslaught of competition from the hard-to-beat Japanese imports. BSA production ended in 1972.

While photographing the BSA an attendee asked me if I had checked out “Big Ugly” in the trailer section yet. Before I could ask what Big Ugly was, he had disappeared, so I scooted back to the travel trailers and quickly discovered this ‘48 Studebaker 2-Ton truck sporting the vanity plate BIGUGLY. Legend has it a California surfer kid bought this work truck-to-camper conversion back in 1965 for $500. When he headed off to college his dad took the wheel and made many improvements. He dropped-in a Chevy V8 and 4-speed tranny and then addressed the camper unit with upgrades like a stained-glass bay window, an RV toilet and a wood-burning stove. Dad and his lady friend traveled extensively in Big Ugly until his death. In 2021 the son, now 74 years old, donated the sturdy Studebaker camper to the Murphy Museum in Oxnard, CA.

ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN' IN THE GROVEThere are some classics that outshine many of their contemporaries because of their understated balance – where line, color, proportion and restraint come together in a machine that has to be owned, has to be seen, and has to be driven. Bob Hawkin’s Turquoise Blue ‘30 Ford pickup is such a machine.

And while we’ve got the Hot Rod blues, perhaps it’s a good time to get our motors running and hop on Mike and Robin Senzamici’s blue-accented ‘48 GMC Silversides PD3751 interstate cruiser. This iconic Greyhound RV conversion bus has been driven and camped often and has also made numerous appearances on TV and in the movies. Is the Silverside a Superstar? I’ll let you guys make that decision. Was the ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN’ IN THE GROVE Show a success? Absolutely!

Words & Photos ©Jim Palam, July 24, 2021, https://www.jimpalamphotos.com/

For more information about the ELKS LODGE 613: GROOVIN’ IN THE GROVE Show, please visit https://www.groovininthegrove.org/

Check out Elks Lodge 613 @ https://www.elks.org/lodges/ContactUs.cfm?LodgeNumber=0613