Back in the late 1940s, it was not uncommon for the country roads out in Newman and Gustine to be the scene of many a drag race, as Westsiders strove to see whose car was the fastest. 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 several 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 returns for it’s 41st year on July 10 at Henry Miller Park in Gustine. The event features a large car show, prizes, music, games and activities and a linguica lunch. There is expected to be more than 300 vehicles at the show.
Gomes said the popularity of the Linguica Run is due in large part to the family friendly, old-school atmosphere at the car show, along with the Portuguese lunch, which reflects the shared ancestry of many of the members.
The show is open to pre-1999 vehicles and special interest motorcycles. Gates open at 7:30 a.m. and registration starts at 8 a.m. at the park’s gazebo. The linguica lunch is served at noon and includes beans, salad and bread.
Entrants can pre-register before July 5 for $45. The registration includes a T-shirt (up to first 75 entrants) a dash plaque, a goodie bag and two meal tickets.
Registration after July 5 is $50 and includes the dash plaque, goodie bag and the two free meal tickets.
Entrants’ children under 8 years old eat free at the event.
Meal tickets are $12.
The proceeds from the Linguica Run are used for auto shop scholarships at Orestimbam Gustine, Patterson and Hilmar high schools. It routinely provides scholarships to students pursuing jobs and careers in the automotive, machinery and agricultural industries.
The proceeds also go toward the club’s charitable donations to Toys for Tots, Comforting Kids and local food banks.
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/. For more information on registration for the Linguica Run call Don Gomes at (209) 765-1273.