My Car Quest

December 5, 2022

Events: Doin’ The Huff – October 22, 2022

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show (Huffarama) that is – San Manuel Stadium San Bernardino, California.

Text by Wallace Wyss and photos by Richard Bartholomew –

As an automotive reporter, I go to a lot of car shows. Some are sponsored by automakers, with their latest zoomie concept cars the superstars. Some are sport car shows, with ancient ’50s sports cars emerging from 10 year restorations. Then there’s muscle cars, and finally hot rods and customs. This show called the Bo Huff Rockabilly, is the latter.

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show

Side note: Rockabilly is a short lived genre of rock ‘n roll–I predate rock ‘n roll and remember that, with its sinuous dancing, shackled Levis and greased up pompadors–R & R was thought evil, so it was banned in some high schools but crept back in combined with hillbilly music in a genre called rockabilly. Soon, though, with purveyors like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis, rock ‘n roll emerged as its own thing and hillbilly music went back to its roots.

What is interesting about the Bo Huff event is that it has hot rods, from ’20s through the ’40s, but also has low riders–relatively stock looking 2 or 4 door Fifties cars that have air suspension systems added to raise and lower them at the touch of a button. There were no muscle cars at the show I attended; no Camaros, Mustangs, or Challengers. It’s as if the world of Huff fans is stuck in a time warp and the outer boundary stops in the Sixties.

I go to each Huff show in hope of seeing ‘Fifties cars with chopped tops and custom bodywork that hasn’t yet been painted (and may not ever be painted). Why? Because then you can see the bodywork–the brazing, the hammer dents, the filling in with lead. This is what bodywork was before Bondo and other plasticized fillers were invented. True, the new body shapes that resulted were often just grotesque continuations of what Detroit designers were doing but seeing that tortured metal in raw unfinished form gives me the feeling that American craftsmen could have created some new designs if they had more of background in car history. They could have been the Zagatos of America, the Bertones, the Pininfarinas. But alas, the unfinished rat rods prove that though they had the aptitude and skills, they had no real design objective other than making that they have longer, and lower. They didn’t know where they were going so they only got so far. And stopped.

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show

I asked one or two guy with cars in bare metal if they planned to go further with their car, i.e., to paint it, but most seemed happy with what they have wrought as a testament. It got them In The Club, so to speak. Family is big at the Huff (named after a recently deceased customizer who founded the event).

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show

There’s lot of kids, and even a pin-up show of ladies wearing ’50s-inspired dresses and ’40s hairstyles. The women were a tad older than at beauty contests I’ve been to in the past, but what the hey, they’ve got the fashion end nailed down so it’s more fun for them to attend the event. I admired their spirit. One guy sported a foot tall pomade hair style that sent me back to wondering when did I last see pomade? I remembered–it was back in the ’50s, a long forgotten product to make your hair stand up. As forgotten, say, as metal cleats on your engineer boots to make you sound menacing as you strode down the hall in junior high.

Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show

There was little zeal shown among the participants at the Huff to have the tall wheels and low section height tires that are popular in the 2020s, and other modern updates like LS7 modern Chevy engines. No, this crowd seems perfectly content to bask in what, for them, is worth keeping from the Fifties. Sure, they will never be invited to Pebble Beach to show their raw unfinished in-your-face rods alongside the Duesenbergs but to me they represent an overlooked niche of American car lore….I flat loved it.

More photos are in the slide show below.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR/ARTIST Wallace Wyss is a fine artist. His work can be found at Mecum auctions or one can write him at malibucarart@gmail.com for a list of inventory of 20″ x 30″ canvases.

 
 
 
 
 

Richard Bartholomew is an artist and photographer based in Southern California. Visit his YouTube channel here. He is open to interesting consignments and can be reached at zeroagenow@aol.com

Art by Wallace Wyss

This mom and her little girl epitomized the family aspect of the Huff – art by Wallace Wyss

Art by Wallace Wyss

A James Dean style chopped top Mercury – art by Wallace Wyss

Summary
Events: Doin' The Huff - October 22, 2022
Article Name
Events: Doin' The Huff - October 22, 2022
Description
The Bo Huff Rockabilly Car Show has hot rods, from '20s through the '40s, but also has low riders--relatively stock looking 2 or 4 door Fifties cars that have air suspension systems added to raise and lower them at the touch of a button.
Author

Comments

  1. Wow! Bo was a special guest at the Tres Dias Rockabilly Festival I was involved in, held in Tempe Arizona more than 15 years ago. He drove the young boys in the band Mad Max and the Wild Ones up on stage in one of his incredible Rust Rods. He was a hero to those boys as they all lived in Utah. Sadly, Bo passed AND their father, the band’s upright bassist, passed. I know he had a strong impact on the three boys and his influence can only be a positive one. WHAT an incredible human being Bo was. He was always raising money through the camaraderie of cars and music to help those who needed it. While my work is deep in the collector car realm, Rockabilly is a big part of my personal life, and Bo is synonymous with Rockabilly and Rods. Thank you for posting this article about Bo and keeping him with us. Those who are remembered are never truly gone. Here’s a shot of Bo waiting to take the kids up to the stage for their big entrance.

  2. Here’s two of the brothers climbing out of Bo’s Rod to climb on stage. It was SUCH an unexpected entrance for the guests.

  3. The kids with dad up on stage waiting for their little brother, the front man of the band.

  4. Robert Feldman says

    This is one of the coolest segments of the car culture I know! The level of creativity and enthusiasm is unsurpassed. Long live Rockabilly (and Bettys!)

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