2009 Pacific Coast Dream Machines

On April 26th a few thousand of gear heads, prop heads, puff bang heads, and some who were just curious attended the 19TH Annual Pacific Coast Dream Machines @ the Half Moon Bay Airport. There is no other even quite like it.  It may be the only show where the guy next door can enter "his dream car" no matter how ratty it is.  That's right; next to a show quality car might be a show car waiting to happen.  Add in vintage planes, hit or miss engines, and a touch of a carnival and you have a hint of the show.  All proceeds benefit the Coastside Adult Day Health Center.

April can be a cruel month.  Two years ago the show was rained out (spectator parking is on grass and even though it didn't rain, it was so soggy cars would have disappeared in the muck). This year the weather was great - normal coastal fog and cold in the a.m., sunny skies, cool temperatures with a light breeze from about 11 a.m. on.

The cars as always were awesome.  People come from all over the Bay Area (predominately), with others from all areas of California, and a few from other states.  The cars range from hot rods, rat rods, customs, modified street cars, rarities, oddballs, and once in awhile cars that you wonder about.

I'm not really into planes but there are usually some interesting stuff flown in.  There's always a DC3, a handful of WWII fighters and trainers, some modern stuff, and now and then some fighter jets.

The hit or miss engines are a look back at where the internal combustion engine came from. They shake, pop, puff, and bang all day, just like they did so long ago.  It's amazing to think that these crude engines are responsible for the mechanization of the world.

I always have mixed feelings about some of the cars shown.  As some of you may know, I spent a large part of my career with the State of California investigating fraud in the Smog Check Program.  One method I used to identify shops that might issue a certificate illegally was to track illegally modified cars.  I no longer work for the BAR but I still have a penchant for clean air and adhering to the law.

It bothers me when I see people who openly flaunt the law when it harms others.  Air pollution harms us all.  So when I see cars that are illegally modified, it bothers me.

For some reason people seem to think that hot rods - in any shape or form - are not a problem. Of course they are.  They pollute - period.  I admit that many of the true rods are rarely driven, so they are not much of a problem.  Others, the modified "drivers" are a problem.  Worse, if they are in the smog program their owners often search out someone who will issue them a smog certificate.  This can be a felony.

This year, as always, there were some obvious offenders at the show.  There was a Camaro with non-approved equipment.  Then there was the Mazda RX-7 with the Chevy LS2 engine without a BAR Label.  Why not just bring the car into compliance and get it labeled?  There were others but you probably get my point.

What makes this hard for me is I'm a car guy.  I like fast cars; I love the technical aspect of modifying a car.  I also like to breathe.

Okay, end of rant.

The Dream Machines show happens just one day per year at the end of April.  Put it on your calendar now for next year.  Too see pictures of this year's event, click on "Bruce Hotchkiss' Photos" on the upper right side.


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