Cruising the Swap Meet at The 2018 California Hot Rod Reunion

A king, a snake, and a Hawaiian are sitting in a golf cart. It sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s a normal happening at the NHRA California Hot Rod Reunion (CHRR) at Auto Club Famoso Raceway in Bakersfield, California. The “King” is Jerry Ruth, the “Snake,” Don Prudhomme, and the “Hawaiian,” Roland Leong. All three are famous names in drag racing’s record books, and they were just a few of the legendary drivers in attendance at the 2018 running of the CHRR. Leong was active in the pits, as he still tunes and consults on nitro race teams, but Prudhomme and Ruth were on the hunt in the swap meet section.

“Where the hell are these things, what were they again?” grumbled the Snake as he squeezed the golf cart through narrow aisles of magnesium wheel towers and tarps lumpy with cylinder heads and tunnel rams.

“Hood hinges,” answered Ruth. “For a Chevelle.”

“Do you even have a Chevelle?” asked Prudhomme.

“They’re a good deal!” said Ruth, without answering if he owned an A-body or not. It was sort of nice to see that even being a multi-time Funny Car and Top-Fuel winner doesn’t make you immune to the allure of a well-priced swap meet part. It certainly made me feel better about almost buying a $50 radiator for a ‘50s Corvette when I don’t own a ‘50s Corvette, nor particularly want one, but dang, seemed like a good deal. Eventually we found the hood hinges, Ruth talked the seller down by $100, and everyone was happy, even Prudhomme, who grumbled the whole time but stopped repeatedly to scope out blower cases, a windowed aluminum block, and a hot rod with a Cammer Ford in it. “Used to race one of these,” he told me. He didn’t buy anything though. The Snake always has been known for his self-control.

Have a scroll through the gallery below to see if you’d be able to resist the deals of the CHRR swapmeet.

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