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The Arts
09.02.09

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Wheels of Steel

Custom hot rods on display at the 'Wrong Side of the Tracks'

By Gabe Meline


If you're in a framing shop in the next few weeks and you see Travis Kennedy picking out a choice frame, feel free to walk up and shake his hand. The muscular, tattooed owner of Daredevils & Queens hair salon in Railroad Square and founding member of the Dirty Jerks Car Club was recently clocked driving 95mph in Wendover, Utah, and he was issued a speeding ticket he's more than proud to hang on his wall. Why? Because Kennedy was going 95mph . . . in a 1931 Model A.

This Saturday, the Dirty Jerks Car Club hosts "Wrong Side of the Tracks," a car show in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square designed to promote the idea that vintage cars are meant to be driven. "It's a car, not a trophy," Kennedy insists, who along with driving his '31 Model A to Bonneville and back also drives a 1952 Chevy to work every day. "Wrong Side of the Tracks" focuses on pre-1965 traditional hot rods, custom cars and low riders with an emphasis on owner maintenance, "instead of some rich guy who can afford to pay some shop to build his car for him, who puts it in his trailer to take it to Hot August Nights once a year, and then it just sits in his garage."

Don't expect a Harrah's showroom atmosphere at "Wrong Side of the Tracks." The flyer advises "No Billet•No Trailer Queens•No Bullshit." Chances are, there'll be guys covered in axle grease poking under each other's dented hoods talking about carburetors alongside older people reliving bygone memories (a 70-year-old woman once saw Kennedy's car and confided to him that she was once "compromised" in a '52 Chevy). Loud, fast and out-of-control bands in the form of Ashtray, Moonshine, Snipers and more will keep the festivities hopping, and the next day, participants are invited to join in the "Lucky Bastards Reliability Run"—the lucky bastards being the ones whose 60-year-old cars don't break down while driving around.

Reliable or not, old cars will always have a way with turning heads. "You can go spend $80,000 on some bad-ass new truck, lifted and everything," Kennedy says, "but I can drive by one of those trucks and I guarantee you, that girl that's sitting passenger in that big ol' expensive truck is gonna be looking down at my car going, 'That's a cool car.'"

"Wrong Side of the Tracks" features pre-1965 custom cars and the music of Ashtray, Moonshine, Snipers and more on Saturday, Sept. 5, at Depot Park. Railroad Square, Santa Rosa. 10am–7:30pm. Free for spectators; $10 entry for car owners, no pre-registration. 707.577.8674.


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