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NorCal Reliability Run

NorCal Reliability Run

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Story by Kurt Mund; follow him at @tall_kurt

Photos by Maria Herrera; Follow her here for more killer photos: @airam_arerreh_3

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021 was the NorCal Reliability Run. The event is 150+ mile endurance run for 1940 and earlier automobiles. It’s a spirited drive through the scenic backroads of mostly Sonoma, Napa, and sometimes Lake counties, designed to test the reliability for your old car or Hot Rod. It tests both the mechanical worthiness of the car and endurance of the driver while seeing the beautiful scenic countryside of Northern California coastline and wine country.

Reliability runs are nothing new. In the early hot rod days, car clubs used them to check the ability of their home built hot rods to get from point A to B safely and well, reliably. Today, people like Dave McEntire, of the Lucky Bastard car club, are brining these events back as a nostalgic way to get like minded Hot Rodders together for comradery and fun with their cool old cars.

It’s a long day. You’re encouraged to bring a full tank of gas and cash with you to the early morning meeting spot. Coffee and donuts are provided, as well as a few pages of route directions. You are also encouraged to bring a passenger for a navigator to read the directions while you hang onto the steering wheel and hold down the gas pedal. It’s not a race, but a spirited drive. The directions ensure everyone will meet up at the scenic rest stops and stop for lunch together. The cash is for the lunch stop, so the cashier isn’t overwhelmed with credit cards, if they are even an option.

What a great way to get out and meet other cool Hot Rodders and see old friends, than to participate in this annual event! The last stop is usually a local watering hole, where the drivers can rest and recall with enthusiasm, the exhilarating parts of the day with a cold beverage and a bite to eat. Not everyone finishes together. Some drivers won’t have the better part of the day to spend in their old jalopy and some will have mechanical woes that keep them from completing the run.

If you would like to be part of this epic journey, you can contact Dave McEntire at to see if your 1940 or older, traditional Hot Rod will qualify. If so, you will be given the time and meeting location. The run is once a year so don’t miss out. There is also a Roadster Run with even stricter standards, such as 1953 or older engines, no disc brakes or radial tires (think RPM Nationals). If you can attend, you won’t be sorry!

I think this is a must attend event that is fun to participate in for both the cool cars and very cool people. We will definitely be there next year!

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Barry Thorsson - August 31, 2023

When is the 2023 Reliability Run happening?

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