Zach Brombacher, of Ashland, has a 1950 Ford Coupe on display at the show. “I’ve liked cars since I was a little kid,” Brombacher said. “Especially the ‘50 ford.” - Jamie Lusch

Cold outside, hot inside

Surrounded by flame-painted hotrods, "The Brombacher Bomber," a yellow-shaded 1950 Ford coupe, sits subtly roped off near the center of the showroom floor at the 34th annual Southern Oregon Rod & Custom Show.

Its owner, Zach Brombacher, drove the jaw-dropper from his home in Ashland to the Jackson County Fairgrounds and Exposition Park in Central Point this weekend, where more than 7,000 people are expected to attend the event.

The show drew a large crowd despite dreary weather Saturday, and continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today. Admission is $7 for those 13 and older, $2 for children 7-12 and free for children 6 and younger.

Hosted by Medford-based Rogue Valley Street Rods, the show, started in 1978, has helped the club raise more than $443,000 in donations made to the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center of Oregon Health & Science University. The money is set aside for children who live in Southern Oregon, and are diagnosed with developmental diseases and disabilities being treated by the Center, said Al Erickson, 74, president of the 191-member car club.

"We do not keep any of the money from the show, it all strictly goes to the kids," Erickson said. "And the best thing about it is all the money stays right here and helps people in our area."

This year, Erickson said, the club hopes the car show will raise at least $32,000 for its annual contribution.

Brombacher's Ford is one of more than 105 cars, trucks and motorcycles on display at the show.

"I've liked cars since I was a little kid," Brombacher said. "Especially the '50 Ford."

He remembers "some rich kid," always driving around in a 1950 Ford convertible when he was growing up, and after he saw the opportunity to buy one a few years ago, he jumped on it.

Brombacher bought the then-rusty car from Doug Lackey, the uncle of his wife, Vikki, and with the help of Carr's Rods & Customs in Gold Hill, he was able to restore it beyond its original factory mint condition in 2010.

Lackey owned it for about 10 years, but never found the time to fully restore the car before he was diagnosed with cancer in 2008. He became too sick to work on it and soon-after died from his ailment, Brombacher said.

"We dedicated the car to him," Brombacher said. "It's designed how Doug envisioned it, but I got way more extravagant with it than he would have."

Although Brombacher's Ford is a 1950 model, its upholstery looks like it should be in a 2011 Audi. Beneath the hood, a 430 horsepower ZZ430 Chevrolet engine; of which only 430 were made, catapults the coupe down the road.

"Oh, it's a driver," said Brombacher with a smile. "It'll burn rubber with the automatic transmission and all."

Most recently, "The Brombacher Bomber," was appraised at about $215,000, said Brombacher.

"I'm not sure what Doug paid for it," he said. "... but it wasn't that."

Reach reporter Sam Wheeler at 541-776-4468 or e-mail

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