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Sacramento Hosts Annual Autorama

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by Dan Clarke

President of the Capitol City Auto Club Thunderbolts, Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian talked his fellow members into sponsoring a car show in November of 1950. Twenty-two entries were displayed at a downtown Chevrolet dealership and 500 spectators paid 74-cents each to attend (apparently, a price of 75 cents or more would have subjected the sponsors to a federal amusement tax). While the Thunderbolts car club backed out of involvement after a couple of years, Bagdasarian decided to go it alone, using the name “Autorama” for the first time in 1953 (that year Hollywood was experimenting with “Cinerama,” a revolutionary process that had the country abuzz with anticipation). Ownership and management of the show eventually passed to others, but every year the Sacramento Autorama, now held at Cal Expo, continues to display dazzling hot rods and custom cars.

While interest in modifying cars is pretty much world-wide these days, the phenomenon has its roots in California's car culture. A few of the cars entered in this February's show that we found interesting included:


Autorama Oldie RoadsterFord Roadster, an oldie.

40 Caddie Sophia Picmonkey"Sophia," a sleek 1940 Cadillac Coupe


















60 Dodge Dart Picmonkey1960 Dodge Dart awarded the H.A. Bagdasarian trophy as World's Most Beautiful Custom

Candy Apple Red MercMercury from the '49-'51 era. Candy Apple Red and Lake Pipes--Wow!

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