SEMA News—March 2020


By Drew Hardin

Big Cam at the Big Show

Photography Courtesy Bud Lang, Petersen Publishing Company Archive


It’s February 1964 at the Grand National Roadster Show, and Petersen Publishing Company’s Bud Lang captures a rafters-eye view of crowds milling about some of the cars on display at the Oakland Exposition Building.

The ’64 Roadster Show was notable for a number of reasons. Customizer Dean Jeffries debuted his futuristic, bubble-topped Mantaray; and Don Tognotti (who would later run the show) won the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster trophy for his lavender ’14 Ford Model T dubbed the King T.

In the foreground of the photo is the Dorricott and Sheehan Fiat AA/Altered, its hood off to display the 421ci blown Pontiac mill that was stuffed into the tiny drag racer. The Altered would win the America’s Best Competition Car award at the show and later landed on the October 1964 cover of Rod & Custom.

And then there’s that camshaft. Though it looks like its size comes from a photographic composition trick of forced perspective, it is actually a giant camshaft—part of Ed Iskenderian’s Roadster Show display. The cam was more than 8 ft. long, its shaft made from a very thick cardboard tube with about an inch-thick wall. The “lobes” were made from Styrofoam covered in foil, and the ends were made from wood.

We should say “is” rather than “was,” because the mega cam still lives. It hung in Isky’s office for years and was just recently purchased by memorabilia collector/dealer Mike Goyda.

“It is substantial,” Goyda said of the cam, “and took two of us to carry it.”

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