Exhibition Open

July 14th, 2018 – March 7th, 2019

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

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.

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:

  •  “The Autoette: As Modern as Today Long Beach and the Electric Car” by Larry Fisher,
    Executive Director of NHRA Motorsports Museum
    Saturday, December 8, 2018, 1pm – 3pm
    4260 Atlantic Ave, $22 for members/$25 for non-members
    Purchase tickets here
  •  “Long Beachland” with Charles Phoenix
    Saturday January 12, 2019 2pm-4pm
    LB Petroleum Club, 3636 Linden Ave
    $35 members/$45 non-members
    Purchase tickets here
  • “Legends of Lions”
    Saturday, February 2, 2019, 1pm – 3pm
    4260 Atlantic Ave. $22 members/$25 non-members
  • Exhibit Closing — “Cruisin’: History & Stories”
    With historian, Craig Hendricks & actress, Lucy Daggett
    Thursday, March 7, 2019, 6:30pm – 8pm
    4260 Atlantic Ave.
    $35 for members/$40 for non-members


Thank you to our sponsors:

Port of Long Beach
The Hands On Real Estate Team
Bess Hodges Foundation
Performance Plus Tire
Price Automobilia

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.