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Autos are at the Heart of Vista’s Heritage

Vista Rod Run
T.J. Crossman

From classic cars to auto dealerships, skilled mechanics, and custom paint shops, Vista has everything you could ask for when it comes to automobiles.  

The community has long been a hub for auto-related businesses, says T.J. Crossman, the owner of TJ Crossman’s Auto Repair on North Melrose Drive. If you can’t find the services or products you need here, they probably don’t exist. Among the proprietors of businesses that sell and service vehicles, there’s a strong sense of community.

No city better reflects America’s longstanding love affair with the automobile, he added. “There are over 100,000 people in Vista, and you can figure on about 2.5 cars per family. That’s a lot of cars.”

Vista’s new car dealerships include North County Ford and Norm Reeves Honda Superstore, both on Vista Way, and BMW of Vista, on Hacienda Drive. If a pre-owned car is what you’re after there are several used-car businesses to meet your needs.

Despite a large number of businesses vying for the attention of motorists, there always seems to be enough customers to go around, Crossman observed. That’s because merchants offer quality products and services at a fair price.

The city’s deep involvement in the automobile culture is reflected by the annual Vista Rod Run, a popular Downtown showcase for more than 350 classic and custom hot rods, muscle cars, cruisers, trucks, and specialty cars. Each year, the village business district is transformed into a showcase for hundreds of dream machines along hip and historic Main Street, Crossman says. The deep roar of drivers revving their engines is music to the ears of car enthusiasts. The summer “Rumblefest” draws over 5,000 fans throughout Southern California. 

Participating car owners begin preparing for the Vista Rod Run well in advance of the car show, polishing and tuning their vehicles so they’ll look and run their best. The event, which is 30 years old, is hosted by the Vista Village Business Association. Car owners compete to win one of 30 trophies. Classic car owners also use the Rod Run to network with other collectors and to share stories about their vehicles. Music, food, and specialty auto vendors combine with the display of hotrods and cruisers to create a festive atmosphere. If you get hungry, there’s plenty of delicious treats to choose from.

Visiting the Vista Rod Run is like traveling back in time. Unlike the classic cars you’ll find in museums, the vintage hot rods, trucks, and muscle cars at the Vista Rod Run are functioning vehicles. They’re still making history as they cruise the nation’s highways. 

“They have everything you can possibly imagine,” Crossman said. “There are some real showpieces.”

Rod Run aficionados also take the opportunity to visit historic Downtown Vista’s popular breweries, shops, and restaurants. What are you waiting for? Cruise on over to Downtown Vista for all your leisure, shopping, dining and auto needs.