Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 – Good Times at the Grape Festival Grounds
The Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 was the first major event the late Gary Meadors directed. Working together with fellow Nor Cal Early Iron club members, Meadors displayed the promotional savvy and ability to rally the troops that would one day lead him to great success as founder of the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association.
While the magazines covered the 1973 Mini Nationals at the Lodi Grape Festival Grounds, the majority of these images have never been published. So-Cal hot rodder and “Examples” car club member Bill Branch snapped literally thousands of pictures in the 1970s and Lodi ’73 was on his radar. He and his fellow club members rolled up to get in on the fun.
Bill’s son Tom, who regularly publishes his father’s arhive on Instagram was kind enough to share these Lodi images for this time capsule. Being a student of hot rod history Tom weighed in with his thoughts on early rod runs and also added some descriptions of the images pictured here.
“Most people think of the 70s as a dark time for street rodding, where resto rods and Pinto motors reigned supreme.” Tom said. “What they don’t realize though, is that many of the traditions and styles that were started back then set the stage for the car culture that we all enjoy today.”
“One of these traditions was the ‘Rod Run.’ I have many fond memories of traveling all over California to different rod runs throughout the 70s and 80s with my family. These events had family activities such as water balloon toss, three legged potato sack sprints, and big wheel races. There were volleyball matches and tug-of-wars between car clubs, and even driving contests like the “Streetkahana” and “Go-Whoa”. It was an exciting time to grow up in the street rod hobby.”
Lodi Mini Nationals 1973 Photo Gallery!
Here’s Lenny Byer’s full fendered ’29 Roadster and a really nice 5-spoke equipped ’39 Standard Coupe. I have a pic of this coupe a year later sporting a Gasser stance, looks good both ways!