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Oakdale Car Show Debuts Hot Wheels
This 1929 Model A Ford Speedster was among the 80 cars displayed at the Oakdale Car Show held Saturday, April 21 at Wood Park. The Model A show-stopper was built from scratch by George Fontaine of Jamestown. - photo by Kim Van Meter/The Leader

For gearheads and motor enthusiasts, the inaugural Oakdale Car Show, held Saturday, April 21 at Wood Park had plenty of shiny chrome to admire as more than 100 registered vehicles rumbled into Oakdale for the event.

The Oakdale Car Show started in the discussion phases in early November of 2011. With only about nine weeks to organize the entire event, the show was a rousing success.

Visitors came from nearly all areas in and around Oakdale to view the large assemblage of custom cars, restored antique cars and race cars. The show was free to the public and featured a variety of vendors offering everything from food and drink items to phones and custom signage.

Many of the car show participants traveled a bit to attend, including Discovery Bay resident and former San Jose firefighter Tom Richardson, who brought his 1960 fully restored white Chevy Corvette. Richardson said he didn’t mind the drive, though.

“I don’t want it to just sit in a garage. I want to drive it,” Richardson said.
He also enjoys showing off his handiwork.

“It was a total wreck when I got it,” Richardson admitted, saying he first saw the classic sports car behind a closed auto body shop in Rhode Island. He produced a photo of the original shape of the car, showing how run-down it was before he took the leap of faith and had it shipped back to California. “It took four years to restore and find the right parts but that was part of the fun.”

Now, it’s a show-stopper.

Many of the vehicles on display had similar stories.

Special guest at the show was Mimi Medlen, displaying several items from the late Eric Medlen’s racing career. Medlen grew up in Oakdale, graduating from Oakdale High School in 1991.

In addition to his racing exploits, Medlen was also an excellent calf roper, winning many calf roping competitions in his career. He later joined his father, John Medlen, with the famous John Force drag racing team. After several years, he became a skilled and popular driver of the Castrol Syntech Mustang funny car, winning six races in his career, including the NHRA event held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma in 2006 in front of his “hometown friends” and family.

In March of 2007, Medlen lost his life in a testing accident following an event in Gainesville, Florida. Proceeds from raffle tickets sales and donations were gathered for a monument in Eric Medlen’s name to be placed at a new park in Oakdale, to celebrate his life and his memory.

The new park will be located at Greger and Parkside Way with a July 30 installation target date.
The cars registered for the event competed in various categories.

The “Sweet ride” award went to Jess Bravo and his 1973 Plymouth Barracuda.

The “Dream ride” award was captured by Mark Cole and his Corvette. Robert Bettencourt won the “Treasures of the past” award with his classic 1932 roadster.

The judging was difficult, as there were so many fantastic cars to choose from, said coordinators. The trophies were made by Cody Salbeck of Oakdale, with the engraved plates donated by Oak Valley Jewelers.

In addition, there were several race cars on site for the public to view. One of the more popular cars with the public was Carl Ryalls’ Corvette Alcohol Powered funny car. With a large super charged Chevrolet engine and a “flip top body,” it drew plenty of attention. Ryalls has a race car fabrication shop in Oakdale, where he performs race car chassis modifications and upgrades for primarily drag racing from all around the Oakdale surrounding areas. He is currently helping with chassis and component fabrications for Richard Townsend’s nostalgia funny car and Josh Crawford’s NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car, creating these components at his Carl’s Tin and Chassis shop.

Mike Graham, of Oakdale and the 2011 Stockton 99 Speedway Super Stock Champion, brought out his super clean Chevrolet Monte Carlo stock car. Tyler Guzman also had his new Stockton 99 Speedway “Bomber” division Chevrolet Nova. Another great car race car on display was a red Masseratti MT4 from Sonora owned by Joe Grosseto. Local area stock car racer, Paul Dorrity, had his NASCAR Western Late Model Stock car (No.44) on display for the viewing public. Local car enthusiast and racer, Joe Biauchi, had his restored 1927 roadster on the grounds and George Fontaine brought out his 1929 Model A Race Car.

Ryan Stepps also put his Grand American Modified series race out for the crowds to see. There were several other drag racing cars, including a Chevy Nova Super Stock and a wild purple and green drag car, along with others.

Approximately 5,000 plus car enthusiasts visited the car show this year. Next year, the plans are to make it bigger and better, as there will be more time for all those people involved in organizing the show, to plan, coordinate and put things together.

Leader staff reporter Kim Van Meter contributed to this story.