Historical Custom Car Shows

March 17, 2017

1989 Oakland Roadster Show




Bob Dzemske and his son visited the 1989 Oakland Roadstershow and captured some of the many Custom Cars that were entered in the 40st Anniversary of the famous show.

Bob Dzemske and his son Bob Jr. have been into Custom Cars for many decades. Bob has owned a a great stable of Custom Cars over the year, and always took his trusty camera with him on his visits to the Custom Car shows from the 60′ and 70’s, as well as more recent years. Bob Sr and Jr. have shared some of the most interesting photos of their Collection with the Custom Car Chronicle. We will be sharing these in a series of articles, and hope you will enjoy these as much as we have. Special thanks goes out to Kustoms Illustrated Luke Karosi for scanning the photo.

The late 1980’s were great for use Custom Car Enthusiasts. The Custom Car Revival was perhaps at its high point, and very exciting stuff was happening in the Custom Car World. Old Custom Cars were sought after, found, and restored. New, very creative Custom Cars were created by young new Custom Car builders, as well as by the Famous builders from the 50’s, as Frank DeRosa, Joe Bailon and Gene Winfield. At the 1989 Oakland Roadster show Gene Winfield was honored as Builder of the Year and had no less than exciting Custom Car on the main floor. This was the show’s 40’s anniversary of the show, and back then it was still held in Oakland. In 1997 the show would move to San Fransisco, and later to Pomona, where it is still held every year as the Grand National Roadster Show.

Bob Dzemske and his son went on a trip to the 1989 Oakland Roadster from Arizona. Some of their friends had mentioned the show would have some fantastic Custom Cars on display that year. Their friend Ermie Immerso also talked to them to come over for this years show so they could see his Track T Roadster competing for the AMBR award, which he won.

4 Gene Winfield Custom gathered to celebrate Gene as Builder Of The Year. Traditional styled ’47 Ford Convertible created by Gene Winfield. To the right of the purple Ford we can see Gene Winfield’s Strip Star Show car and next to it Gene’s ’63 Buick Riviera.


Gene Winfield ’63 Buick Riviera original created for Jim Noteboom and Randy Dunnaround 1964. Many years later the car was restored and entered in the 1989 Oakland Roadster Show.


The Gene Winfield display with the pearl pink 1951 Mercury for Pegasus and the chopped ’47 Ford convertible. Notice there are all kinds of Winfield historic photos displayed on the floor next to the cars.


The focus on this cropped picture was actually the big trophy winner Irmie Immerso’s Indy four-cam Ford Powered Pearl Orange Track T. But the fact that John D’Agostino’s 1940 Mercury Stardust in the background had more people looking, put a smile on my face.


Since Irmie Immerso, the winner of the Americas Most Beautiful Roadster award for 1989, was a good friend of both Bob’s I thought showing a photo of the car, even not a Custom, would be appropriate.


Rod & Custom magazine displayed the restored R&C Dream Truck at their booth.


Ray Bozarth brought his beautiful ’51 Buick all the way from West Liberty, Iowa. The car was built by Merle Berg from the family four door sedan.


Beautiful early 60’s styled ’56 Ford.


The Ford had a full detailed pearl white tuck & roll interior, including a fully detailed trunk.


Detailed engine bay with some more modern attention to detail to the engine.


Channeled, sectioned and chopped ’39 Ford Coupe looked really nice with its bold ’49 Plymouth bumpers and wide white wall tires. The car was brought to the show by Marianne Robison.


One of my personal highlight at this ’89 Oakland Roadster show was the Bill Reasoner built “Thee Forty One” for owner John Conley.


Jerry Sahagon did the beautiful interior in dark and light green velvet combined with white Naugahyde. Even the trunk was fully detailed. The rumour is that Jerry deliberately “delayed” the work on the Padded top so that the car would debut at the Oakland show without the top. This way the full interior would be more visible. 


John’s ’41 Ford has an amazing amount of work done, inspired by the work of the greatest builders from the 1940’s and early 1950’s The Ayala and Barris brothers. 1947 Buick fade away fenders were incorporated in the sides, the windshield chopped, front wheel opening radiused, and the fender skirts at the back hand made and flush mounted.


At the front Bill Reasoner and his team reshaped the front of the Ford to accept an ’39 Buick grille and ’72 Jaguar headlights for the right effect.


Another reason for the Dzemske’s to visit the show is to meet with old friends and have some good diners with them, including those organised by the show promotors.




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About the Author

Rik Hoving
Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)



  1. Great pictures!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. i remember john conlys convertible at paso robles sheerwood park back in the 80, i allso took a photo of it i did not know it belong to him till now what a small world, nice kustom john, rik nice photos ,

  3. Wow, cool photos!!! Thanks for sharing

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