Santa Rosa Classic Car Show: Local Dad’s Passion Engages Families March 9-11, 2012


“Let’s stop and get a photo of that!” I called to my brother as we drove down the cliffs at Goat Rock beach. We’d just spent hours snapping photos of a group of people para-sailing and gliding off the beach’s high rocks, but that didn’t deter our new found interest in a cherry-sweet 1950′s Chevy Bel Air.  Classic cars have a special appeal to those of us who grew up with parents who came of age in the 50-60′s.

“Wow.  Neat,” says my five year old boy who will never know what it is like to ride in car with an engine he could repair himself.  Or how it would feel to ride on a big back seat bench with no seat belts.

We all stood in silence and looked at this relic from a simpler time.  I am not sure what captured my brother’s thoughts, but I bet he conjured up pictures of hanging out in the garage to be near our dad.  We learned to be “useful” so we wouldn’t get chased away, and had a whole vocabulary of car terms down that most kids wouldn’t recognize today.   It was a big thrill to be ready with needed spark plugs or to be the one to grab a screwdriver to adjust the carburetor….

Then there was the car identification game.  Everyone in my dad’s generation can name off a favorite classic car they’d love to rebuild or buy one day, and any kid worth his salt (or, should I say, axle grease) needed to be able to match the car to a name.  Of course, we kids ended up naming our own favorites.  In fact, just the other day we were visiting a friend and discovered he had a 1954 Corvette tucked away in his garage.  “It’s almost ready,” he said dreamily, “It just needs to be pieced together and painted.”  My brother and I instantly tied into that sentiment – there is nothing finer than taking something old and forgotten and breathing life back into it.

I’ve got my eye on a Ford Galaxie that rolls through my neighborhood with a Britax car seat in the back.  Oh…I’d love to be that family.

It turns out there must be a whole group of second generation enthusiasts in Sonoma County.  Greg Grundstrom, exotic car mechanic and collector, is one prime example.  He’s the man behind bringing the Santa Rosa Custom Auto Show back to the Bay Area after a break of sixteen years.  This event will showcase rarely seen custom cars, motorcycles and hot rods at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa from March 9th through the 11th.

“We’re hoping to spark a renewed interest in the automotive history of the region,” says Greg Grundstrom, proud pappa, owner and manager of the Santa Rosa Custom Auto Show. “The cars on display at the Santa Rosa Custom Auto Show are among the best in the West. I grew up going to the Autorama, and wanted to bring the enjoyment of quality cars back to this area while creating an entertaining event for the whole family. This will be a great new tradition for this city, and will hopefully bring a lot of important revenue to local businesses in years to come.”

Preserving the Passion

Greg loves passing on his passion to his young daughter, four year old Bronwyn.  However, there are other youth this parent-preneur and the reclaimed Santa Rosa Auto Show will touch.

Greg says, “With the down economy, funding to essential school programs is being reduced or stopped completely. More often than not, this means important programs cease to be part of our children’s lives. One of the essential programs to our community for high school-aged kids is the auto program at Santa Rosa High School. Part of the proceeds from The Show will be donated to the Santa Rosa High School Auto Program.”

Kids Activities

The Santa Rosa Auto Show aspires to engage kids directly.  Thanks to Hobby Town USA of Petaluma, there will be complementary model cars for them to build! There may also be a slot car track.

(NOTE: Children’s activities will be located inside the Grace Pavilion with the vehicles on display, and separate from the live music and food).

Win Free Tickets

The Santa Rosa Auto Show encourages you to enter to win two free tickets via Facebook.  Simply click here, like the page, and fill out the quick entry form.  Drawing held every 3 days!

Purchase Tickets

Tickets for the Santa Rosa Custom Auto Show ($15 at the door, $11 pre-sale; children 12 and under are free of charge) can be purchased on the website at, Sonoma County Les Schwab Tire centers or at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA.

Discount tickets are available for groups.

Show hours are: Friday, March 9, 1:00-9:00PM; Saturday, March 10, 11:00AM-9:00PM; Sunday, March 11, 11:00AM-6:00PM.

More Information

Contact Greg Grundstrom (707) 820-7446 or visit the event website at

Note:  Much of the content of this article is thanks to mom-preneur and Press Relations specialist Anastasia Ordonez of Good Talk Media.

Second Note:  The first article in this story was taken by photographer Mark White and the last by Mike Chase.

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