Before the teenagers were making the loop on 10th and 11th streets in Modesto and decades before cruisers would pack McHenry Avenue, there were a handful of fellows from the Westside of the county that liked to see just how fast they could drive.
There were drag races out on the rural roads on Newman and Gustine and out of that need for speed, the Westside Auto Club was born.
Started in 1948 by six men, the Westside Auto Club is one of the older car clubs in the region. It now has a membership of 35 classic car enthusiasts who are more likely to host charitable car shows than country drag races.
Don Gomes has been the president of the club for 24 years. Most of the members come from Newman, Gustine, Patterson, Crows Landing and Turlock, but membership is open to anyone in the Central Valley.
When the opportunity arises, the club likes to gather for meet ups or mini cruises in Newman and Gustine.
The club’s most popular event is their Linguica Run, which is usually held the Sunday after the Fourth of July at Henry Miller Park in Gustine. The event features a large car show, prizes, games and activities and a linguica lunch. The event was put on hold, but will be returning in 2022.
The club also is committed to giving back to the community. It routinely provides scholarships to students pursuing jobs and careers in the automotive, machinery and agricultural industries. The club also supports local food banks and help with the Toys for Tots events.
Individuals interested in learning more about the Westside Auto Club or becoming a member can follow them at https://www.facebook.com/Westside-Auto-Club-136069073133258/