Gambino Sit Down – A Kaleidoscope of Kustoms

The Gambino Sit Down is a unique one day gathering at San Jose’s Gambino Kustoms – a center of speed and chrome specializing in traditional customs and hot rods. Under the direction of Alex Gambino, the shop not only turns out award winning sleds, they offer metal shaping classes and do all they can to promote the old car hobby. The Gambino Sit Down is something the entire NorCal kustom community rallies around. They come to see the cars and check in with Gambino, somewhat of a Godfather figure in the region.

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

When you hear “The Sitdown” – you might picture a scene from a mob movie, but you would be mostly wrong. Nobody here is planning a hit, or selling you something that fell off a truck – there is nothing but love and respect here but also a firm belief in how these cars should be honored and celebrated. That said, you will often find some of the industry bosses here so to speak. See, The Sit Down isn’t a car show that’s letting anything and everything in just trying to pay for a venue and expenses. The Gambino Sit Down is actually the open house for Gambino Kustoms, which means it’s pretty much Alex’s way or you’re welcome to park in the street and walk in. As you can see above, Alex mans the gate like a nightclub watchman. You either get waived in or ya don’t!

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

But don’t get the wrong idea here. I’ve seen his own vehicles in the street at past events as well. The rules apply to everyone. And these rules are really pretty simple. Only traditional style customs and hot rods are allowed in. Shaved, chopped, channeled, or some combination of that and more.

gambino sit down, fuel curve

While a good portion of the cars on hand are truly some of the best I’ve seen anywhere, don’t think you have to be on that level to get a seat at the table. Works in progress, and cars that show some wear from actual use are not only encouraged here, but awarded as well. After all what good is a badass car if you don’t drive it?

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

The cars are of course the main draw, but not the only thing going on. There is live music, the grill is going and of course the raffle. The raffle not only includes items from Gambino Kustoms, but also has a huge variety of items donated by those that attend the event as well. Buying a raffle ticket here is about as close to a guarantee that you are going home with something cool as you can get.

gambino sit down, fuel curve

gambino sit down, fuel curve

The weather was your typical July summer day in the Silicon Valley. Nearing 90 with golden hills and plenty of sun, the Gambino Sit Down was a perfect way to join the family and chill with cool cars.

Photo Extra!

Brandon Most is a San Francisco based automotive journalist and photographer. When he's not at his day job (wrenching of course) he spends his time editing his own website www.bayareaautoscene.com as well as freelancing for us!

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