Sacramento Preps for 72nd Annual Autorama Hot Rod Show

Organizers of the annual Sacramento Autorama are preparing for the 72nd edition of the car and hot rod show at the Cal Expo Fairgrounds later this month, officials announced, and offered a preview of the event’s scheduled.

Scheduled for April 28-30, the event will be highlighted by the Autorama Drive-In, which will include pre-1998 cars and trucks. More than 400 cars are expected to participate in the Autorama Drive-In, organizers said.

The event will also include recognition of the 2023 Builder of the Year: South City Rod & Custom’s Bill Ganahl. Ganahl opened South City Rod & Custom in Hayward, California, in 2008 and is known for creating incredible customs from a broad range of years, makes and models, organizers said.

Additionally, the event will celebrate the Butch Gardner Club House’s 10th Anniversary. The Butch Gardner Club House, which was started in memory of Butch Gardner, a long-time member of the Thunderbolts and a staple in Sacramento car culture, will feature more than 25 local car clubs spanning hot rods, tri-fives, trucks and classics, event staff said.

Other highlights and awards include the new-for-2023 West Coast Challenge Car Show Series presented by ARP Fasteners, which will crown its Grand Champion during the show. Organizers will also award the “Custom d’Elegance” presented by ARP Fasteners, which will be given to the best chopped, channeled or sectioned vehicle from 1936-64 that embodies the true spirit of a classic custom. In addition, cars will compete for the “Big B Awards,” which include the “Dick Bertolucci Automotive Excellence Award,” “Candy Apple Joe Bailon Memorial Award,” “Sam Barris Memorial Award” and “World’s Most Beautiful Custom, H.A. Bagdasarian Memorial Award,” show officials said.

TV personality Courtney Hansen, known for her roles in “Overhaulin’” and “Ride of Your Life,” will also be on hand to sign autographs and meet fans all three days. The family-friendly event will also feature lots of live music, vendors, food and entertainment.

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A.J. Hecht

A.J. Hecht is the managing editor of THE SHOP and host of the In Gear with THE SHOP podcast. Have an idea, a tip, or a question you’d like to see answered? Contact A.J. at

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