Community: Road Kings celebrate 63rd anniversary



Bruce Borst poses with his 1971 El Camino SS during a special Road Kings car show held at Bob's Big Boy in Toluca Lake to celebrate the club's 63rd year in Burbank and to honor West Coast Customs.
(Photo by Joyce Rudolph / June 6, 2015)

By Joyce Rudolph

June 24, 2015 | 12:16 p.m.

Bruce Borst had heard about the Road Kings for years while he was growing up in Burbank.

As a child, the 1975 Burroughs High School graduate would hop on his bicycle and ride over to check out neighbor Tommy Ivo’s glass-sided trailer in which he showcased his dragsters.

When Borst was an adult, he’d stop by the annual Road Kings car shows at Buena Vista Park. He was employed by Anheuser-Busch and became the connection for donations to the car club’s raffles.

Then he acquired a 1971 El Camino SS and worked on getting it show ready before joining the Road Kings.

The best part about being a member, Borst said, is the camaraderie shared with fellow car enthusiasts.

“It’s like, if you ever go camping, to where you just pull up a chair and you don’t even know everyone in the club, but you just start talking and you talk about kids or cars or events you’re going to,” he said. “Everybody is just down to earth, plus they are from Burbank and even when you move out of Burbank, the Burbank doesn’t move out of you.”

And Burbank is really a classic-car town, he added, because of the memories of growing up here. Burroughs students would cruise through or stop for a burger and fries every Friday night at the Toluca Lake Bob’s Big Boy. Burbank High had its own Bob’s on San Fernando Boulevard.

A lot of car customizers started their business here, like Borst’s uncle, who owned a shop on Glenwood Street by Jordan Middle School. There was a guy on Glenwood and Oak Street who just built dune buggies and there were guys who just built custom engines, he said.

That tradition continues today with the addition of West Coast Customs, which moved to Burbank from Corona last year. It specializes in customizing new cars and restoring classic cars, especially for Hollywood’s elite.

The Road Kings celebrated its 63rd anniversary with a car show on a recent Saturday night at Bob’s Big Boy and “Fast Eddie” Salvatore, the group’s president, and Don Baldaseroni, the car show chairman, conducted a ceremony to welcome West Coast Customs.

“It’s really nice to have another automotive-related hot rod shop in Burbank,” Salvatore said. “We have a few, but this is really great for the company, the city and the Road Kings, and that’s why we are honoring them today.”

Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, who drove up in his sapphire 2014 re-introduced Corvette Stingray, came out to lend his support. Having West Coast Customs move to Burbank is good for the local economy, he said.

“There’s a market for it with the studios and everything,” he said, adding that bringing a business of this caliber here provides more jobs in Burbank. “We’re the media capital of the world, whether it’s Comcast
-NBC-Universal, Warner Bros., there’s a demand for these fast and furious-type vehicles.”

West Coast Customs was founded in 1993 by Ryan Friedlinghaus, chief executive officer. Its new location is at 2101 W. Empire Ave.

Plaques were presented to officials with West Coast Customs from the Road Kings by President Salvatore and Leo Matias, day manager at Bob’s Toluca Lake. Matias also presented the auto customizer with a trophy from both Bob’s Big Boy and the Road Kings.

“I want to dedicate this plaque to West Coast Customs and thank you guys for letting us have this event here at Bob’s Big Boy,” Matias said. “We support all the car clubs like the Road Kings. This is where we have the best car shows in the world.”

Bob’s Big Boy presents car shows from 3 to 11 p.m. each Friday, which was a tradition started by the Road Kings in the late 1980s, Baldaseroni said.

Cheryl Lynch, chief marketing officer with West Coast Customs, thanked everyone for the recognition.

“Super, super thank you so much to everybody on behalf of West Coast Customs,” she said. “The shop is really something to see. For any of you who are car aficionados or just want to come and look at some really different stuff, we have a 60,000-square-foot facility, tours every day. Come on by. We are going to display these [awards] right in our lobby. When you come in, you will be able to see them.”

The car show culminated with Matias presenting trophies to the owners of the best cars in six categories. Winners were Larry Tadlock, Manager’s Choice; Frank Pucio, Best Cruiser; Ismael Ruvalcaba, Best Classic; Sal Moncibais, Best Custom; Ed Tucker, Best Truck; and Donald Lo Bue, Best Hot Rod.