Hangin… Santa Clara monthly Import Meet


One of the great things I’ve come to love since moving to the Silicon Valley oh-so-many years ago,  is that there are no shortage of gearhead-orientated meets around the Southbay if you know where to look. They often pop up unexpectedly by word of mouth or via tradition in shopping centers across the bay,  and I hit as many as I can each month.
For the past several years one such group of diehards have been getting together for the monthly Old School Import meet in Santa Clara Ca.

Consisting largely of vintage Japanese tin such as Datsuns,  early Toyotas,  Hondas and Mistubishis,  the group is laid back,  low-key and open to pretty much any old import or cool vehicle. Rides randomly come and go throughout the evening providing a constantly changing group. Last night the mix consisted the core bunch of 510s from Ratsun,  several 521 &  620 pickups,  a sweet VW bug,  an exquisitely abused Ranchero,  an over the top 68 Mustang and a small fleet of large tow-trucks.

Yeah,  tow-trucks. 3 flatbeds and one wrecker to be precise. When asked who had the fastest rig the entire group immediately pointed to the yellow flatbed in the center.
I like these guys already.

The Mustang,  which was built as a GT350 “tribute”  was also rumored to be for sale for the right price (you probably can’t afford it) which gets you a stroked Cleveland with 392 cubes and a Tremec 6-speed.  “Johnny”  didn’t give his last name,  but I have the feeling this beautiful car wouldn’t be hard to track down if someone had 70 large burning a hole in their pocket.

The real star of the night however was Hector’s red ’68 PL510 Datsun. This right-hand-drive Bluebird was imported from Malaysia a few years back and is slowly being refurbished by Hector’s own hands back to it’s 100% stock former glory. Featuring a rarely seen on these shores 1300 L-series motor,  4-wheel drum brakes and a 3-on-the-tree tranny,  as an extreme nerd of early obscure Datsuns I nearly peed myself with excitement.


Of interest were the “Black-Plates” refitted under California’s recent Year Of Manufacturer (YOM) license law. While I have seen quite a few cars go through the process to get the old-style plates back,  this was the first time I’ve seen one out in the wild outside a car show. Once the DMV certifies you have viable plates including the proper year sticker (in this case 1968),  they issue a second set of removable “tags”  that are attached with the current year and month stickers for everyday use.
Interesting. Cumbersome but interesting.
The evening ended with jokes among the crowd on whether or not the ZomBee would start and the lights would work,  and the battle-cry among several of us Lemons racers that we should put out a call for other South-bay street-legal Lemon cars to come join us next month.
What sayeth the Hoon-herd?

Tell us about your favorite get togethers,  be it regular and informal,  an annual big event or just hangin with your buds in the garage. Where do you go for your dose of Hoosiers and booze,  or caffeine and machine?
(Gratuitous ZomBee image courtesy of the ever dangerous ZomBee-hunter Roger Iu)

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  1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    The thing I never could stomach about Santa Carla was all the damn vampires.
    Oh, "Clara."

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      I grew up with a '57 Ford Fairlane 500 convertible in the same color as Sam's grandpa's car.
      I'm still looking for it, vampires be damned.
      <img src="http://www.coolcarsinmovies.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/1957-ford-fairlane-skyliner-the-lost-boys.jpg"&gt;

      1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

        Well, you know the rule. Just fill the tank. I dig the Power Wagon almost as much as the Ford though.

  2. Shawn Avatar

    The Faster Farms car is street legal, and the Frankenstang is "street legal", but I don't know of any others in the area. Who else is?

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      TinyVette is, but they are out Davis way.
      I take it Oolong, the Bunny with a Pancake on it's head, no longer darts out in the streets?

    2. vwminispeedster Avatar

      I saw the Model T GT at the every-other-Thursday night event near the KMART in San Leandro a couple weeks ago. Dad and I plan to bring out the 1952 Ford F-3 Hanzel Auto Body Works tow truck to one of those nights.

  3. salguod Avatar

    In Ohio, vintage plates are legal for regular use. You need to register standard historical plates and then must keep those in the car. Another form to link your vintage plates with your historic ones and you're good. I scored these sweet, near mint 4 letter plates for my T'bird on eBay:
    <img src="http://www.salguod.net/gallery/1960_thunderbird_convertible/P1110659-photo.jpg"&gt;
    Evidently they came off someone's 60's summer car and therefore never saw any bad weather.
    Also on eBay, I scored 2 plates for Dad's '56 T'bird and '57 Eldorado with the same number. They needed sandblasting and a repaint, but how cool is it to have the same number?

    1. topdeadcentre Avatar

      I think they get Very Upset here in Massachusetts if you try to use the same number on more than one vehicle with the year-of-manufacture plates. This is probably because the vintage license plate number is actually used for the registration and you don't carry a current-style plate.
      I still think this is the coolest concept for that "last detail" for a vintage car… and thank whoever it was that first dreamed it up.

  4. dwegmull Avatar

    Were the tow trucks there in hope of business?

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Pretty sure they were taking bets on it!

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    The best regular get-together for me was after work at the bike dealership I worked at during my college years. On summer evenings, the boss would go get a 12-pack around closing time and we'd all sit on the trailers behind the building and talk bikes and cars for a couple hours before heading home. It's a lucky guy who gets to work with friends, not "associates."