photos by: the author
GM EFI Magazine Catches Up with West Coast TR Owners of Buicks at Bates
A good car show is supposed to be fun and enjoyable. It should be about camaraderie, making new friendships, continuing old ones, and sharing your pride and joy with like-minded individuals. If you’ve ever attended a car show where you’re not enjoying it, then maybe you should get back to the basics: cool cars, people, and friendship.
Buicks at Bates gets it. Organizers Mike “Spoolfool” Barnard and Eric Brown didn’t disappoint as Buick enthusiasts came from as far as Utah and New Mexico to gather in the San Diego, Ca area at the Bates Nut Farm for this 25th-Annual gathering. Filled with lots of shade trees and plenty of open fields for lots of cars, the setting was perfect along with the gorgeous weather.
Since they’ve been at it for 25 years, their experience is readily apparent, as this shindig went off without a hitch! Back when it all began in 1992, there were eight cars in attendance. This year, it’s as large as it’s ever been at 80 cars, with 72 being Turbo Regals, so they must be doing something right! Admission to the show is free, another added perk, and the attendance numbers makes Buicks at Bates the largest gathering of Turbo Buicks West of the Mississippi!
Bates has its own burger stand and convenience store, so show attendees had the choice of purchasing food there, or bringing their own. Raffle prizes from custom valve covers to electric exhaust cut outs were well worth the price of the tickets, and everyone simply enjoyed being in the company of other Buick enthusiasts. There was even a bouncer for the kids, and face painting provided by Julie’s Party People (she even painted the turbo “6” logo on you if you if you wanted!).
In the sea of black Grand Nationals and GNXs, were T-Types, a pair of Turbo Trans Am Pace Cars, two old-school Buick Grand Sports, one Chevelle Malibu, a GMC Typhoon, and one Challenger Hellcat. Yes—I said Challenger Hellcat, which was driven by “Turbo Lou” Czarnota! The two cool things about the Hellcat was that: 1 – he had the stones to bring it, and 2 – everyone loved it! Which is what these car shows are all about!
When Buick developed the Turbo Regal, they had no idea what a following this fabulous G-body would generate. I believe they underestimated the bond that can be formed between a car and its owner; and the Turbo Regal is the kind of car that can not only endear to your heart from the first drive, but can also pull together a gathering of long-time enthusiasts that will forge friendships for decades to come.
License Plates: You’ve got to describe your car, and do it using seven letters or less! GO!
Living in Richmond, Tx, PJ Rentie has been in the automotive industry for more than 30 years. This former Assistant Editor at Vette Magazine also spent time with companies like NOS, Edelbrock, Hillbank Motorsports, Classic Industries, and was an automotive instructor for Cypress College for ten years. In his spare time, PJ hopes to one day bring his Fox Body Mustang out of the back yard and back onto the street!