Sacramento’s biggest car show features more than 500 incredible custom vehicles and fun for the whole family
Sacramento, Calif. (March 22, 2023) – More than 500 hot rods, customs, muscle cars, trucks and motorcycles will take center stage when the 72nd Sacramento Autorama returns to the Cal Expo Fairgrounds on April 28-30.
Gearheads and fun-seekers alike will enjoy the spectacle of one of Northern California’s largest annual car shows. In addition to a full slate of award-worthy custom creations, this year’s event, presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts, will also feature the Traditional Rod & Custom Showcase, highlighting cars and history from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s, as well as more than 25 car clubs celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Butch Gardner Club House.
Entrants from across the country will compete for the prestigious “Custom d’Elegance” award, presented by ARP Fasteners, to the best chopped, channeled or sectioned vehicle from 1935-48 that embodies the true spirit of a classic custom. In addition to the $5,000 prize, the winner’s name will be added to the historic perpetual trophy alongside iconic customizers like Sacramento’s Joe Bailon, the first to win it in 1953.
New for 2023, the West Coast Challenge Car Show Series presented by ARP Fasteners will crown its Grand Champion during the Sacramento Autorama. Twelve vehicles that have competed in at least three of four select car shows in California, Oregon and Washington will be judged for the “Best of the West” award. Winners will receive $12,500 (first place), $6,500 (first runner-up) and $3,500 (second runner-up), plus other gifts and prizes.
Bill Gahnal of South City Rod & Custom, will be honored as the 2023 Builder of the Year. After getting his start at Roy Brizio Street Rods, Gahal opened South City Rod & Custom in Hayward, Calif., in 2008 and is known for creating incredible customs from a broad range of years, makes and models.
Locals are encouraged to show off their classic rides at the Autorama Drive-In. This three-day outdoor portion of the show is designed for those who want to participate in the Sacramento Autorama but may not want to leave their vehicle indoors for four days. Entries are welcome for just one or all three days and it is open to pre-1973 cars and trucks (no motorcycles are allowed and all vehicles must be driven into the event). Participants will receive event admission for two people, a goodie bag and the best parking on the premises. More than 400 cars are expected to participate in the Autorama Drive-In.
“The history of car culture in Sacramento and Northern California is incredibly rich and diverse, and we look forward to celebrating it at the Sacramento Autorama,” said John Buck, owner of Rod Shows. “Each year, the cars and creations push the limits of the imagination while honoring the history of these incredible machines, and this year moves that bar even higher.”
Talented artists will donate their time to the popular Pinstriper Charity Auction, which features some of the best pinstripers in the country creating art to be auctioned off for charity each day. For a minimal donation, attendees can bring a cell phone, laptop or any other item to get pinstriped for a great cause. All proceeds benefit the UC Davis Children’s Hospital.
Known as the “Kustom Capital of the World,” the Sacramento Autorama was started in 1950 when Harold “Baggy” Bagdasarian brought together members of a local car club to settle friendly arguments over the outstanding merits of their customized cars. In addition to “Custom d’Elegance,” the “Big B Awards” include the “Dick Bertolucci Automotive Excellence Award,” “Candy Apple Joe Bailon Memorial Award,” “Sam Barris Memorial Award” and “World’s Most Beautiful Custom, H.A. Bagdasarian Memorial Award.”
The family-friendly event will feature live music, vendors, food and entertainment, as well as autograph sessions with popular TV personality Courtney Hansen each day. Hansen is best known for her roles on “Ride of Your Life” and “Overhaulin’.”
The Sacramento Autorama opens to the public Friday, April 28, from noon-8 p.m., Saturday, April 29, from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. and Sunday, April 30, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Adult admission is $20 each day, $10 for children ages 6 to 12 and children under 5 are admitted free. Discounted tickets are available for $18 for adults and $8 for children at participating O’Reilly Auto Parts stores.
For more information about the Sacramento Autorama and to purchase tickets online, please visit https://rodshows.com/sacramento-autorama/.
About Rod Shows
Based in the automotive cultural hub of Southern California, Rod Shows produces the West Coast’s premier indoor hot rod and custom shows including the Grand National Roadster Show, the Sacramento Autorama, and the LA Roadster Show. Its professional show management team sets the highest standards for top quality competition and displays with every show and personally visit the country’s top automotive coachbuilders and events throughout the year, ensuring the Best of the Best participate in its events. For more information, visit www.rodshows.com.