Exhibitors do not apply for entry to the annual Salem (Oregon) Roadster Show. They must be invited. There are no fees to enter, no judging classes or committees. All makes and models may be shown, and well-done modifications are perfectly acceptable. From rare original classics to recent models, from sports cars to rat rods, trucks large and small, and some oddball specials – the idea is to showcase interesting vehicles from up and down the West Coast from California to Alaska.
The brainchild of local businessman Bob Symons, the Salem Roadster Show takes place annually, every March. Symons and friends travel the car show circuit all year, and the cars that particularly strike their fancy are invited to participate. (My Black Pearl 1978 280Z was in the 2010 show. It was the first Datsun to be invited.)
Though there are some works in progress, for the most part the mechanical bits are fully sorted and presented in a fashion worthy of any major show. Bodywork and paint is usually of a very high standard, though sometimes it deliberately is not. The core idea is to have a show that features cars that local folks wouldn’t normally see in major shows and concours events elsewhere.
There are too many cars on the floors of two buildings at the Oregon State Fairgrounds to do justice to a full explanation–or even a caption–of every one. A few are discussed below, along with a gallery showing more, to give a good idea of the overall event.
Over the past couple of decades, the Salem Roadster Show has grown in both numbers and reputation to become one of the premier early season car shows in the Pacific Northwest. The photos show it better than words.
More highlights from the 2020 Salem Roadster Show. Click on the thumbnails for a larger gallery view.