A Day At Bates Nut Farm: Turbo Buick Style!

Yes, even a GNX showed for the event. We told you it’s the biggest and best turbo Buick show West of the Mississippi!

*Photography by Stephen Brooks

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Every year, in a time honored tradition, the best turbo Buicks West of the Mississippi descend on sunny Southern California for the largest show of its kind on the Left Coast.

“The show has more than 20 years of history and after the original organizer, Steve Hurst unfortunately passed, myself and Mike Barnard from SpoolFool Productions decided to revive it,” co-organizer, Eric Brown said.

That was several years ago and now thanks to the hard work and dedication from these diehard Buick fans, the show has grown to nearly 75 cars with supporting vendors and an awesome raffle.

“The show has always been known for its killer raffle and we’ve continued that tradition. We’ve also made it possible to keep the show non-profit, the admission free, and we even manage to give complimentary T-shirts to owners thanks to the raffle-ticket sales,” co-organizer Mike Barnard said.

That’s right, nearly 200 people and 75 turbo Buicks descended on the beautiful Bates Nut Farm to kick tires, share stories and help one another. Over a dozen Buick fans even came from out of state to checkout the Buick bonanza.

4“We do this because we’re passionate about the turbo Buicks; it’s not for trophies or bragging rights, it’s simply for the love of these unique cars,” Barnard said.

If you think a Grand National or a T-Type is rare, well, the Buicks at Bates attracts even rarer turbo Buicks like the ever-elusive ’89 Turbo Trans Am and the ultra rare GNX. Of course there are concourse quality stockers and heavily modified examples knocking on 1000hp as well. There’s also a handful of cool turbo Buick swapped cars and even some classic Buick muscle from the ’60s.

As Barnard mentioned earlier, this isn’t a competition, but rather a gathering to celebrate these unique Buicks that continues to grow. “The vendor row continues to grow and we receive more and more support each year,” Barnard tells us.

Supporting vendors include Alkycontrol, Alrado, Arizona GN, GBody Parts, GNS performance, Highway Stars, Kirban Performance Products, SpoolFool Productions, TA Performance, HR PartsNstuff, RJC Racing, Turbobuick Jesse, Turbo Lou’s Auto Service as well as promotional support from Precision Turbo and Engine, Meguiars Car Care Products, and Mother’s Car Care Products.

This year, Alkycontrol sent a special Alky Tester that allowed show-goers to test the functionality of their water/methanol systems and it proved a great tech tool, as more than 50% of the cars had problems that owners weren’t aware of. Continuing in this vein, show organizers hope to include more tech seminars in the coming years and are even considering a cruise. Of course the raffle will continue to grow, as will the show, and the organizers vow to keep it a family-friendly, non-profit show–bravo!

Seriously, if you’re a modern GM fan, this is a must-see event since witnessing this many turbo Buicks in one place is something you won’t soon forget. For more information, check out http://www.buicksatbates.com/

The Buicks at Bates is the largest turbo Buick show West of the Mississippi and it’s been going strong for over 20 years. From stone stock rarities to 800hp monsters, the show has a little of everything for the Modern Buick fan.

The Buicks at Bates is the largest turbo Buick show West of the Mississippi, and it’s been going strong for over 20 years. From stone stock rarities to 800hp monsters, the show has a little of everything for the modern Buick fan.

Dave Brecht’s 1989 Turbo Trans Am is as rare as they come, and one of only two at the show. He’s owned it for 11 years and thanks to a 70K-mile stock shortblock, ported iron heads, a 61-52 turbo, roller cam and other supporting mods, it makes 518hp and 572 lb-ft of torque at the wheels and has run a best of 11.10 @ 119 mph.

Dave Brecht’s 1989 Turbo Trans Am is as rare as they come, and one of only two at the show. He’s owned it for 11 years and thanks to a 70K-mile stock shortblock, ported iron heads, a 61-52 turbo, roller cam and other supporting mods, it makes 518hp and 572 lb-ft of torque at the wheels and has run a best of 11.10 @ 119 mph.

 Here’s a closer look under the hood of Dave Brecht’s 1989 Turbo Trans Am that makes over 500hp at the wheels and runs deep 11s.

Here’s a closer look under the hood of Dave Brecht’s 1989 Turbo Trans Am that makes over 500hp at the wheels and runs deep 11s.

Arturo Sandoval’s 1987 Limited is beyond rare with its factory bench seat and column shift options. This rare beauty has made a best pass of 7.21 @ 94 mph in the 1/8th mile thanks to a built motor, a Precision turbo with a billet wheel, plenty of supporting motor mods and other go-fast goodies like a 3800-stall, Hotchkis suspension and a built rearend.

Arturo Sandoval’s 1987 Limited is beyond rare with its factory bench seat and column shift options. This rare beauty has made a best pass of 7.21 @ 94 mph in the 1/8th-mile thanks to a built motor, a Precision turbo with a billet wheel, plenty of supporting motor mods, and other go-fast goodies like a 3800-stall, Hotchkis suspension, and a built rearend.

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Jerry and Roberto Diaz, two turbo Buick brothers, brought both of their flawless rides for all to see.

Jerry and Roberto Diaz, two turbo Buick brothers, brought both of their flawless rides for all to see.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday, a turbo-buck powered classic Skylark! How’s that for wicked? This pavement punisher owned by Greg Low came with a factory six cylinder, so it only made sense to swap it for a newer, more powerful Buick six.

Here’s something you don’t see everyday, a turbo-Buick powered classic Skylark! How’s that for wicked? This pavement punisher owned by Greg Low came with a factory six cylinder, so it only made sense to swap it for a newer, more powerful Buick six.

How’s that for sleeper? The big-turbo V6 even hides under the stock hood! Thanks to a host of internal mods and a bigger turbo, the Skylark has run 11.01 in 100-degree temps.

How’s that for sleeper? The big-turbo V6 even hides under the stock hood! Thanks to a host of internal mods and a bigger turbo, the Skylark has run 11.01 in 100-degree temps.

Yes, even a GNX showed for the event. We told you it’s the biggest and best turbo Buick show West of the Mississippi!

Yes, even a GNX showed for the event. We told you it’s the biggest and best turbo Buick show West of the Mississippi!

Where else are you going to see this many turbo Buicks in one spot? We’d bet, no where.

Where else are you going to see this many turbo Buicks in one spot? We’d bet, no where.

Let us remind you that the Buicks at Bates show is free, as the raffle-ticket sales cover the show expenses, meaning you can have a blast without breaking the bank. The raffle also has tons of big-buck items.

Let us remind you that the Buicks at Bates show is free, as the raffle-ticket sales cover the show expenses, meaning you can have a blast without breaking the bank. The raffle also has tons of big-buck items.

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Plenty of vendors made their way to the show, displaying their latest and greatest pieces for your turbo Buick.

Plenty of vendors made their way to the show, displaying their latest and greatest pieces for your turbo Buick.

The no-pressure event doesn’t give out awards and trophies, instead, it’s all about camaraderie and sharing a mutual love of turbo Buicks with fellow gearheads.

The no-pressure event doesn’t give out awards and trophies, instead, it’s all about camaraderie and sharing a mutual love of turbo Buicks with fellow gearheads.

Check out the free T-shirt for all those who bring their turbo Buicks to the show. Yes folks, free!

Check out the free T-shirt for all those who bring their turbo Buicks to the show. Yes folks, free!

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Raised in a house of hotrods, classics and motorcycles, it only made sense that he would blend his love for writing and photography with his love for all things automotive. Armed with a degree in journalism and graphic design, he embarked on a journey into motorsports journalism and has worked for many magazines and Websites chronicling his love for the industry.
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