Two can’t-miss shows that will refire your love for combustion muscle

The unmatched tradition of automotive excellence that is Pebble Beach has come and gone for this year. So pack up your parasols and put away your monocles because that’s not the kinda shows we’re here to talk about. Though you will see cars with just as many hours and dollars in ’em, they won’t be followed by a giant bottle of champibble, but rather a cold can of 805 that may or may not have a shotgun hole poked in it. The shows we’re here to tell you about are this year’s Ventura Nationals and Southern Throwdown.

The 17th Annual Ventura Nationals takes place Labor Day weekend in Ventura, California, and is a full weekend of bumper-to-bumper good times. Starting on Friday, August 30th, at 6 p.m., the weekend’s events will come roaring to full speed on all cylinders in downtown Ventura at the Majestic Ventura Theater at 26 S. Chestnut Street, with the Ventura Nationals official kick-off party and art show. It will be a fun night of featured artists showing off their automotive-inspired works of art, and select vendors selling their goods along with Chestnut Street being closed off for classic car parking only. This evening is a free, all-ages event open to the public from 6 p.m.–12 a.m., and all the artwork on display is for sale.

Come 9 a.m. on Saturday, August 31st, the gates will fly open and the show that is The Ventura Nationals will kick into full swing. The beverages will be iced, the food will be hot, and the fans will be ready to experience a sea of 700-plus pre-1968 American hotrods, kustoms, lowriders, vans, muscle cars, vintage motorcycles and vintage trailers along with vendors fitting the “Kustom Kulture” lifestyle. Funky Junk Farms from Fillmore, California—the famous long-time collectors and preservationists of vintage Americana—will have a display of vintage trailers and classic vehicles that have been used in numerous Hollywood movies which they invite guests to come check out. You can take photos of yourself with all the display vehicles—so dress accordingly!

The Ventura Nats
The Ventura Nats

Is there more? Oh yeah. Lots more. A variety of the hottest hot rod and custom car vendors and artists will line the pavilion for your shopping pleasure. Vintage clothing, art, jewelry, and lifestyle-related goods for attendees with way too much money in their pockets will all be on offer. The 1927 Barber Shop, one of many local small businesses attending, will be offering haircuts and hot towel shaves out of a vintage Airstream trailer, while other vendors such as Tres Noir Eyewear will be custom fitting sunglasses and taking RX orders from customers.

Inside the San Miguel Hall with the vendors, an art show will be curated featuring artists and photographers from around the world representing a look into the world of the Kustom Kulture lifestyle. A few of the artists that will be on display will be Mira 3LA Photo from Japan Matt Grosso, Heath Hanchett, Jesse Barba, Jesse Amaro and more. The entire day on Saturday show goers will be treated to the musical stylings of Jesse Dayton; Tom Kenny and the Hi-Seas; The Moontones; Eddie and Thee Scorpions; and Short Fuse and the Rockin’ Henry, so make sure to wear your boogie shoes.

A side note I don’t wanna forget is that, for the sixth year, Ventura Nationals is proud to support custom car builder and philanthropist, Aaron Valencia of Lost Angels Children’s Project (LACP) who is building a custom 1959 Chevy El Camino to be given away at the show on Saturday. Aaron took action to make a difference six years ago and started the Southern California based non-profit youth center Lost Angels Children’s Project which focuses on providing high-risk youth with safe educational programs, which include but are not limited to classic car restoration, merchandising and production, furniture construction, art making, and more.

The Ventura Nats
The Ventura Nats

Tickets for a chance to win the giveaway car can be purchased online before the event or at Ventura Nationals on the day. They’re $20 each with a goal of selling 5000. The winning ticket will be pulled Saturday August 31st at 4:30 p.m. All proceeds from the Custom Car Giveaway are directly invested back into the development of LACP’s programming. For more info or to purchase giveaway tickets please visit

If you’ve made it through the first two days of fun, why not stick around for one more day. On Sunday, September 1st, to wrap up the weekend’s festivities, the Ventura Nationals will be hosting their 8th Annual Reliability Run starting at Plaza Park in Downtown at 9 a.m. The caravan of classic cars will run down Main Street entering North on Highway 101, exiting at Bates Road to the 150, around Lake Casitas and down the 33 ending off of Ventura Avenue at Noble Fabrication for an open house and fundraiser for a local nonprofit, Soul Profit.

This event is open to the public and a small donation to the charity will get you lunch, live music, a raffle ticket, and a display of hot rods and customs for everyone to enjoy. The reliability run will also continue to a second destination hosted by FireBall Tim at The Murphy Auto Museum in Oxnard which will have its doors open at a discounted price for all show attendees with preferred parking for all classic cars. Map and reliability run flier is available online at

Southern Throwdown
Southern Throwdown

Busy on Labor Day weekend? Not on the West Coast? Maybe Dallas, Texas and the Southern Throwdown Vintage Motorcycle and Van Show the weekend of September 14th would be a more realistic destination. This year marks the Southern Throwdown’s seventh show and it just grows and grows every year. Starting at 7 p.m. on Saturday with one helluva raging pre party at Lucky 7 Cycles Garage, you’ll have a chance to get geared up for the show with BBQ, Bands, Beers and perhaps even a kickstart contest sponsored by Just Kickers. Just a good ol’ relaxing evening, meeting all the folks who got into town and getting a sneak peek at what bikes and vans rolled in with them.

Hopefully you get enough time to sleep all the party off cause Sunday Sept. 15th at high noon, the doors of the world famous Bomb Factory located at 2713 Canton Street, in Deep Ellum Dallas, TX come swinging open and the show kicks into high gear. The bands start at 2 p.m. with awards at 5 p.m. Then at 6 p.m., you’re gonna hope you bought a raffle ticket, because one lucky winner will be going home with one wicked 2001 Harley Davidson lowrider motorcycle thanks to Dream Machines of Texas. All raffle proceeds will go to The True South Relief Foundation helping motorcyclists or bicyclists who have been in accidents and need assistance while they’re out of work.

Following the raffle, “American Daredevil” Cole Freeman will put on a live stunt show on Canton Street that you will not want to miss. The whole show wraps up at 8 p.m. This is a free show—no admission cost. Southern Throwdown wants you to come and party with everyone, check out the vendors, bikes, vans, and celebrate the sponsors that help make this a fantastic free event.

For more information on either of these do-not-miss shows, check out, or go to their Instagram accounts @ventura_nationals, @southernthrowdowntexas. See yah out there.

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