Cruisin’, Clubs & Drag Strips: Exhibition coming July 2018

Exhibition Opening

July 14th

Featuring car club memorabilia, vintage photos, drive-in theaters and restaurants, Lions Drag Strip and more!

Tickets still available at the door!

The Historical Society of Long Beach (HSLB) invites the public to the opening of its newest exhibit – Chrome! Cruisin’, Car Clubs and Drag Strips– celebrating Southern California’s mid-century car culture.

10 am – 2 pm: 10 am – 2 pm: Car Show at George’s 50’s Diner, 4390 Atlantic Avenue, Long Beach sponsored by and featuring customized cars from the Early Times,  Cavaliers,  Mercifuls, and Sultans Car Clubs. The show is organized by Richard Graves of Early Times. Tommy Ivo’s dragster will also be featured. The car show is free to the public

Noon – 3 pm: Reception/Exhibit Viewing at Historical Society of Long Beach Gallery, 4260 Atlantic Avenue. Advanced tickets are required. Purchase online at $45 for members/$50 for non-members.

Click here to purchase tickets now!

Exhibition Hours beginning July 17th: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 1-5 pm, Thursday 1-7 pm & Saturday 11-5 pm.

As part of the nine-month exhibit, additional related programing will be offered. The current schedule includes:

  • Saturday, December 8 –“The Autoette” by Larry Fischer, Executive Director of NHRA Motorsports Museum.
  • Saturday, January 12 –Long Beach-Land with Charles Phoenix, Ambassador of Americana
  • Saturday, February 2 –Legends of Lions, autograph signing opportunity
  • Saturday, February 23 – Science & Art of Speed by J. David Wilson, President Toyota Racing Division
  • Thursday, March 7 – Exhibit closing –Cruisin’ with Craig & Cathy,a theatrical show with Dr. Craig Hendricks and actress Lucy Daggett.

Thank you to our sponsors:

Port of Long Beach
The Hand On Real Estate Team
Bess Hodges Foundation
Performance Plus Tire

About Car Culture in Southern California

Teens cruising in their beloved cars emerged as a fixture of Southern California culture from the 1930s through the 1960s, when the phenomenon reached the height of its popularity. Celebrated in film and song, cruising in customize rides and hot rods served up a youthful counterpoint to the era of the family Sunday drive. Fueled by high school youth, a growing number of active local car clubs, drive-in restaurants, theaters, hang outs, and the lure of the iconic Lion’s Drag Strip, Long Beach became a focal point amidst this cultural movement. Long Beach clubs like the Vulcans, Sultans, Merroders, Long Beach Cavaliers and Long Beach Renegades, Cut Outs, Rollin’ Stones, Road Kings, Carbonides and Furys, the MG Club, Studebaker Club, Jesters, Torks, and many others fanned the cultural flames at high school parking lots, drive-ins and drag strips, and ruled the streets of their Long Beach neighborhoods and commercial corridors.

Sharing Day Event, 02/03/2018

On February 3rd, 2018 we hosted a “Sharing Day” at the HSLB Gallery in Bixby Knolls. We invited the public to share any car culture and drive-in memorabilia with us. The gallery was busy with donors the entire day, and we gathered some great items and stories for the exhibition. The HSLB is still looking for 1940s – 1970s items, from Long Beach and environs, for possible inclusion in the exhibition. There is still time to donate items, lend items, or let us digitize your collection while you wait!

Rick and Felipé of the Cavaliers Car Club share their club memorabilia and stories with two HSLB volunteers.
Andy and Ken from the Sultans Car Club share their treasures with an HSLB board member and a volunteer.
Tony of the Mercifuls shares his neon V8 sign with HSLB Executive Director Julie Bartolotto.
Hayden Long of the Cavaliers shares photos of club members.