Date published: November 5, 2010
When the first California Hot Rod Reunion was held in 1992, it was set as a one-time experiment with no plans for future events, but by popular demand, the reunion was staged again in 1993 and has become an annual ritual. Below are just some of the exciting happenings from past Reunions. Look forward to even more extensive coverage of the history of the event when CHRR celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2011.
The inaugural CHRR Lifetime Achievement honorees. Wally and Barbara Parks, center, were joined by, from left, "TV Tommy" Ivo, grand marshal Ernie Hashim, Leland Kolb, and C.J. "Pappy" Hart during the award presentation.
More than 10,000 participants and spectators, double the amount who attended the inaugural Reunion, gathered at the event.
The late John Zenda, the first NHRA Historical Services director, was honored for his pioneering efforts. Zenda's family accepted the award.
Auto Club became the event's sponsor. A restored AAA service vehicle was one of many vintage items that the organization displayed during the weekend.
Two enduring award programs were established: the Leslie Lovett Memorial Photo Contest for most outstanding photos that were taken prior to 1972, and the NHRA/AAA Preservation Award to recognize the people who have gone to great lengths to restore, preserve, and protect hot rodding heritage. Jere Alhadeff and Bruce Meyer were the first recipients of the respective honors.
The First Justice Bros. Spotlight Award was presented to the Dragmaster Dart team of Jim Nelson and Dode Martin.
Dick Kraft brought a recreation of his The Bug, which is generally acknowledged as hot rodding's first dragster.
Steve Gibbs was honored for his 30 years of service to NHRA and helping establish the Reunion.
Nine cars participated in the inaugural Cacklefest.
James Ibusuki presented an NHRA 50th Anniversary painting to Wally and Barbara Parks.
The inaugural Outstanding Presentation award for the most accurate image of a race car, push car, and crew from the golden age of drag racing was introduced. Mike Kuhl and Carl Olson were the first winners.
Pat Berardini, who campaigned a pair of beautiful roadsters from 1950 to 1956 with his late brother Tony, received the inaugural Golden Age award, which spotlights competitors from the formative days of hot rodding.
Art Chrisman received the prestigious Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum/AAA Preservation Award in recognition of his outstanding restorations. Chrisman was only the fourth recipient at the time.
"Sheriff Jack" Harris posted the fastest speed ever for a front-engine car, an unreal 265.09-mph blast, during Top Fuel eliminations.
Wally Parks, in his final CHRR appearance, was pictured with legendary Chris "the Greek" Karamesines.
The U.S. Drag Racing team, which was handpicked by Wally Parks to attend the British Drag Festival in 1964 and 1965, was the subject of the Justice Bros. Reunion Spotlight.
The Cacklefest tradition grew to a record total of 68 entries.
Soon-to-be-crowned 2009 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car world champion Robert Hight, right, driver of John Force's Auto Club-backed Ford Mustang, appeared with Auto Club CEO Thomas V. McKernan.