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The 41st Western Street Rod Nationals, Bakersfield, CA, April 28-30, 2017.


As the Western Nats enters its 5th decade it is truly amazing to see the changes that have occurred over the years.  No longer is this a pre-49 street rod only show- now it not only includes cars from the fifties, sixties and seventies, but also offers a varied selection of name plates.  Where else could you find an AMC Gremlin (humorously displaying Yenko racing graphics) and a pricey Kurtis roadster at the same event.   This show continues to demonstrate that car folks are some of the most innovative and creative individuals around. Which is why the NSRA Western Nationals continues to be one of the best.



The 41st Western Street Rod Nationals kicked off on Thursday evening, April 27 with the annual Welcome Back Bar B Que at Stramler Park. The bar b que is sponsored by the Bakersfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and offers a really good dinner.  It’s worth coming to Bakersfield a day early just for the bar b que.  This year 925 dinners were served.


The Kern County Fairgrounds started filling up on Friday and by the end of the show 1,735 cars were on display – which is a few more than last year.  The fairgrounds has plenty of room and parking is never a problem.  Some of the nice cars at the fairgrounds are shown below.


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Friday morning a continental breakfast was hosted by the Selohssa Car Club.  This is the 30th year the continental breakfast was held and along with coffee, 62 dozen donuts were given out – that’s a lot of donuts. And after breakfast there were more cars to see.


All of the photos shown in this article are available on our SmugMug site and all photos are available for purchase on our SmugMug site.

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Safety Inspections performed by the NSRA Southwest Division Safety Representatives were available both Friday and Saturday.  This is an invaluable service provided by NSRA to its members.  The inspectors perform a 23-point inspection to ensure a vehicle is safe and road worthy.  Below are the items a car must have to pass the inspection:

Required Equipment

            Horn: Electric only.           

           Speed Indicator: Speedometer or calibrated tachometer at 65 mph.

            Rear View Mirror: One inside or outside on driver’s side of vehicle.

            Glass: Must be safety plate, lexan, or tempered glass.

            Lighting: Hi-beam; low-beam; tail; brake; license.

            Windshield Wiper: Electric or vacuum operated.

            Automatic Transmission Lockout: Neutral and/or park start only.

            Tires: 3/32 tread acceptable. Must meet D.O.T. specifications.

            Steering No excessive “play” (2″ radius max.) or binding; system must be safely   mounted.

            Throttle Linkage: Must not travel past center.

            Fuel System: Check Vent on Trunk and Interior Mounted Tanks; no clear, plastic   lines allowed. No leaks.

            Exhaust System: No Leaks: Must pass rear edge of front door and exit exhaust      away from vehicle.

            Self-aligning Rod End Bearings: Check for fractures, insert sloppiness or binding.

            Shock Absorbers: One per wheel, no leaks, 2″ travel in each direction.

            Brakes: Four-wheel brakes, no leaks, check brake pedal travel, no copper tubing, check length of flexible lines.

            Scrub Line: No steering, suspension or chassis components should be below this line.

            Recommended Equipment: May be reason for failure

            Windshield: Should be AS-1.

            Shift Pattern: Shift pattern should be visible except on three speed standard column shift.

            Fuel Lines: Should be safely mounted and routed.

            Parking Brake: Should be activated independent of vehicle’s hydraulic system.

            Self-aligning Rod End Bearings: Ball should have 1/8 inch spacer on each side of  the ball if there is any misalignment. Rod ends should not have more than 10° misalignment. ROD ENDS and 4 BAR-PARALLEL RADIUS ROD SYSTEM rubber bushed ends should have a safety washer at least the same outside diameter as the housing or larger.

            Brake Lines: Should be safely mounted and routed.

            Chassis Fasteners: Self-locking nuts, lock-washers, safety wire, or cotter pins.

For Your Safety

            Safety Equipment: Fire extinguisher in driver/passenger compartment, seat belts, a third brake light and a dual master cylinder.

Safety inspectors can be seen hard at work below.


The individuals performing the inspections donate a great deal of their time and talent to make sure everyone stays safe.  This year  at the Western Nats 140 inspections were performed, 127 cars passed and 119 passed the entire 23 point inspection.  Since the safety program began countrywide 412,000 inspections have been completed.

This year the Streets of Rods, held on Saturday, included categories for Flamin’ Freeway, Memory Lane, Camaro Court, and 29 Below.  This special event is held in a grassy courtyard off the main entrance to the fairgrounds and is a nice area to look at the cars and talk to the owners.  Being separated from the main fairgrounds, the courtyard offers a peaceful break from the activity outside its gates.  Below are some of the cars in the Streets of Rods.


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Starting at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday the award winning cars gathered in the Circle of Winners.  The winners remain in the circle until the awards ceremony providing a good opportunity to see some very spectacular vehicles.  Most of the owners stick around with their vehicle so it’s also a good time to find out the name of that special paint color, who painted those flames, who sells a particular part, or to just stand and stare. Below are some of the cars from the winners circle.

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Every year is lucky enough to be able to select a car to receive a trophy.  This year we chose a fantastic 1932 pick-up owned by John and Mary Booth. John has owned this pick-up since he was 14 years old. Once he was old enough to drive he took it to the first NSRA Western Nats which was held in Merced, CA. We’ll have more info and photos about this pick-up in a feature article.


This year the award ceremony began at 1:00 p.m. rather than the usual 2:00 p.m. start time.  This change seemed to be popular with everyone.  Once all the awards were given out there was a raffle where a whole bunch of free stuff was handed out – everything from steering columns to radiators.  The final giveaway went to four lucky winners who received $2,000 each. Below are $2,000 winners Carl Russel, Jim Carr, Jerry Hill and Ron McCabe with Mike Crispyn.


By 2:00 p.m. the award ceremony was over.  Mike Chrispyn, event director of the Western Nats, did an admirable job with the awards ceremony. It was a warm day and Mike kept things moving so no one had to sit in the hot sun for very long.   Here are photos of all the award winners.

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This Ford pick-up was driven all the way from Salisbury, North Carolina to win the long distance award.  It took five days to drive the 2,533 miles and will likely take the same for the return trip. No doubt this truck received a lot of high fives, thumbs up and stares along the way.


Once again the Western Nats is over.  This Monday morning as we hit the crowded freeways of Southern California we had a feeling of nostalgia for the cars we saw over the week-end.  There is no comparison between the cars of the past with their bright paint schemes and unique and varied body styles compared to the white, silver or champagne colored sameness of the cars now on the roadways.

Next year the Western Nats will be held again in the Kern County Fairgrounds April 27, 28 and 29 and although no details are available yet, Mike did announce that a Friday night cruise is being planned.   We’re looking forward to next year.

All of the photos shown in this article are available on our SmugMug site and all photos are available for purchase on our SmugMug site.


On Saturday there were a whole lot of cars in the Kern County Fairgrounds as the 41st Western Street Rod Nationals continued.  Is there a more traditional hot rod than a black 1934 Ford Coupe with flames?


Below are a few more cars that were in the Fairgrounds today.

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We’ll have a full article with photos posted on Monday evening.


As of today more than 1,600 cars have registered for the 41st Western Street Rod Nationals.  That number will grow tomorrow.  Below are a few of the great cars we saw today:


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As always Mike Schartel could be found doing what he does so well – pinstriping.


Tomorrow should be bright and sunny again and the Kern County Fairgrounds will be full of cars.  We’ll have more photos and info tomorrow evening.


The 2017 Western Street Rod Nationals will be held in the Kern County Fairgrounds, Bakersfield, CA Friday, April 28 through Sunday, April 30, 2017.   We will have photos and event information posted on Friday and Saturday nights with a full article and photos, including photos of the awards ceremony, posted by Monday evening.  Keep checking back.

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Close to 2,000 vehicles are expected to gather in the fairgrounds.  This event, which is sponsored by the National Street Rod Assoc., (NSRA) has hot rods, classics, trucks, muscle cars, customs, barn finds, and rat rods.   Event registration will be at the Doubletree Hotel, 3100 Camino Del Rio Court, Bakersfield beginning Thursday from 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm and will continue on Friday at 9:00 am through 6:00 pm.  Saturday registration will be held from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.  There will be something happening all week-end, including safety inspections performed by the NSRA safety inspectors.

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