CALABASAS, CALIF., July 22 — Attendees of the 21st annual L.A. Calendar Show found relief from the broiling sun under the trees that lined the beautifully landscaped grounds at The Calabasas Inn, located on Park Sorrento Road in the affluent hamlet of the western San Fernando Valley. The shaded grounds of the Calabasas Inn served as the staging area for vendors, the bike show and the concours d’elegance—along with the world premier of the 2013 FastDates.com Motorcycle Pin-Up Calendars.
The tree line was packed with attendees checking out the hot eye candy, as temperatures flirted with the triple-digit range on that Sunday afternoon. Mr. Gianatsis, a former motorcycle magazine editor and professional racer who photographs and produces the FastDates.com Calendars, told me that due to the recent economic downturn for custom manufacturers, parts manufacturers and buyers, he felt it would be best to downsize the L.A. Calendar Show, as well. The process included moving the event from the Queen Mary to the new location at the Calabasas Inn.
Throughout the duration of the show’s run at the Queen Mary, Long Beach Police had enforced a strict no-colors policy. This year, in an attempt to accommodate members of motorcycle clubs, Mr. Gianatsis introduced a policy that created some controversy. He allowed MC members to wear their cuts, but he chose to ban individuals who were wearing what he referred to as “outlaw colors.” Up to 50 members, both male and female from a number of different clubs, none of which fit into the “outlaw” designation, showed up with protest signs and picketed the event. I’m not sure if their efforts discouraged a significant number of potential attendees, but whether the action proved to be effective or not, it goes to show that sometimes the best intentions don’t always work out.
This year, as in years past, motorcycle attorney/philanthropist Russ Brown and his partners Koro and Romag, stepped up and supported the L.A. Calendar Show with their sponsorship. Russ manned his booth with the help of the lovely spokeswoman Athena Bohm. It’s always worth stopping by the Russ Brown pavilion to check out which of his vast collection of audaciously designed bikes he’s chosen to feature that day. The red, stretched-out, streamlined job he displayed on that torrid Sunday proved the rule.
A number of notable builders set up shop under the aforementioned ample shade trees that surrounded the grounds at the inn: Russell Mitchell of Exile Cycles, legendary builder and former L.A. Calendar Show Best-in-Show winner Shinya Kimura of Chabott Engineering who won the Classic American Pre-1980 class for his Panhead custom café racer, Richard Pollac of Mule Motorcycles, Jim Guiffra of AFT Customs, Barry LaCor of Top Shelf Customs, Steve Storz of Storz Performance, Caleb Owens of Cro Customs, and Chris Redpath of MotoGP Werks, just to name a few.
Hoshikawa Hideki of asteris9.com flew in from Miyagi, Japan, with an 883cc Sportster that he upgraded to 1200cc and then rebuilt as a radically designed sportbike. He took the Best-in-Show award that was judged by Jim Gianatsis, Jim Giuffra, Chris Redpath and Michael Schacht. Hoshikawa said he built the bike for a client who gave him a blank check and no instructions whatsoever.
Yaniv Evan, owner of Powerplant Choppers, part of the growing number of new generation builders whose handiwork includes using antique Harley-Davidson motors, frames and parts, brought a few of his creations to the show. To no one’s surprise, he walked off with a couple of first-place trophies, including Pro Builder for his Shovelhead custom, and Best Bar Hopper for his 1951 Panhead board tracker replica. Charlie Mitchell’s 2001 Heritage Low Rider old-school custom took top honors in the Street Custom class.
The unique die-cut and laser-painted trophies were produced by Sic Chops out of Las Vegas.
Paul Ponkow of Bones Legacy Motorcycles in Las Vegas graced the proceedings with his distinctive 1964 Triumph stretched chopper. If you’ve attended a bike show at a major event in the Southwest recently, you know the one I’m talking about. It’s got dual convoluted six-foot-long chrome pipes hanging off the back end, topped off with a six-and-a-half-foot-long chrome sissy bar. (THUNDER PRESS Editor-in-Chief Terry Roorda got a great shot of those pipes, as seen on page 43 in the Laughlin River Run article in the June 2012 edition.)
Rock star/bike builder Gilby Clarke of Guns & Roses fame rode one of his custom Knuckleheads to the event. Other vendors of note included Jim’s Machine and Edelbrock Engineering, just a few of the many industry purveyors at this year’s L.A. Calendar Show.
In keeping with tradition, this year’s show included plenty of eye-pleasing, feminine pulchritude. Between the foxy members of the band Nylon Pink, the suggestively clad Calendar Kittens and pin-up models, there were plenty of sassy curves and bulges to attract the masculine gaze.
If you happen to have an extra $150,000 lying around, you might want to be in touch with Michael Schacht, the owner of Crocker Motorcycle Company. You read that right; they are building exact, and I do mean exact, replicas of the 1936 Crocker—considered by many to be America’s first superbike. When I saw the model on display at their booth, it took Mike and his crew to convince me that it wasn’t an unrestored original.
Up for a bit of irony? I noticed a rather significant oil leak emanating from a yellow 1970 Sportster on display in the infield section of the property. When the owner, Dave Destler, former editor-in-chief of British Car and Bike Magazine, saw me photographing the oil stain he explained that he’d had a brain fart when he was topping up the oil level. Then he pointed to an area near the northwest corner of the lawn and told me that 33 years ago he and his bride were wed on that very spot. What are the odds? Unfortunately that union did not stand the test of time, but he was consoled by the idea that his Sporty, which took second-place honors in the Classic American Pre-1980 class, almost never lets him down.