Car clubs are the life blood of our hobby and our feature club for the 32nd West Coast Nationals, the Early Wheels are something special. The Early Wheels Car Club was formed in 1968 with a bunch of guys getting together at a bar, Molloy’s, which was just down the street from Andy Brizio’ s shop, Andy’s Instant T. This core group of original members included Andy Brizio, Paul Cocoles, Jim Demattei, Jerry Stitch, Bob Burton, Tony Nieto and Tom Thomas. The story goes that they decided to go to a car event down south but it was for “clubs” only. So, they decided on the club name and took off to attend the event as a club. The Early Wheels met monthly for years at Molloy’s. This year the club will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in October at that same bar which is now run by the grandson of the man who owned it back when the club was started. Over the years the club has had a multitude of members that reads like a Who’s Who list of bay area street rodding. Besides the original members the list includes such names as NHRA Hall of Famer Cub Barnett, upholstery guru Sid Chavers, car show promoter Harry Costa and Thom “Mr. 32” Holmquist, just to name a few.
In the 1980’s the club started doing a swap meet in San Francisco, at 7th and Townsend. After a few years it got too big so the club had to find a new location. They were able to secure the Pleasanton Fairgrounds lot and started holding the March swap meet around 1990. In 1993 Goodguys started doing the March Get Together at the fairgrounds as well. So Goodguys ran the car show and Early Wheels ran the swap meet. The club’s proceeds kept rising each year, and seeing as how it was a non-profit organization, it would select several charities each year and make donations to them. A few years after Goodguys started their March show it was becoming too hard to operate the swap meet separately so the club worked out an agreement to turn the swap meet rights over to Goodguys. An excellent deal for both parties.
Over the years the club has moved its meeting place all over the peninsula. This is mainly since its membership ranged from South San Francisco down to San Jose. Nowadays each member(s) has a month assigned. That member(s) picks the location and lead the meeting. Since it was formed over 100 street rodders have been members. Currently there are 23 active members and roughly 30 past members that join us from time to time.
Make sure that you stop by and chat with these guys at the 32nd West Coast Nationals…they are a combination of passion & history! For event details and information on the 32nd West Coast Nationals, click HERE.