7th Annual Wings, Wheels and Rotors Expo - Click above for our huge image gallery

This past Sunday was the 7th Annual Wings, Wheels and Rotors Expo at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California, and after our experience there last year, we just had to go back for more. As you might guess from the title, this is more than just another hot rod gathering. Attendees get a chance to see mega horsepower air transport as well as earthbound movers and shakers. Even better, folks can actually get up close and personal with military vehicles, airplanes, jets and helicopters too. It's like an open house for the military, with a few hundred muscle cars thrown in for good measure. Hot rodders (and bikers) tend to be a fairly patriotic bunch, so the combination is a perfect match. Make the jump for our report from the ground.

Photos copyright ©2009 Frank Filipponio/Weblogs Inc.

We spent time walking the rows, checking out the 500 or so bikes, motorcycles, hot rods and muscle cars on display, watching the aerial team make a series of pinpoint landings, shopping the hundreds of vendor tents, and just trying to stay hydrated enough to make it from one end of the massive runway to the other. While the cars were the usual eclectic mix of muscle, racers, classics, customs and hot rods, a few really stood out. Our favorites included the Plymouth Prowler with a custom trailer, hauling a matching golf-cart-sized mini Prowler... and matching trailer! The V8 Daimler, '53 Corvette Nomad concept, ProFab Welding '30 Ford altered dragster, slammed "Pink Panther" custom Cadillac, and "hairy" Schwinn were other standouts.

Quite honestly we spent more time checking out the first responder vehicles, Jeeps, Humvees, drones, canons, attack helicopters, cargo transports, bombers and fighters. While the C-17 was by far the biggest thing around, there were two other transports joining it this year, open to all. They are enormous, but it's hard to get a true sense of scale until you see some 50 people inside the bay on one of these things. Hard to believe they can get off the ground. The best part of the show is the number of the planes and choppers that take to the skies during the day. Visitors can even buy a ticket and tag along in one of several planes and 'copters for hire. It's quickly becoming one of our favorite shows, with a Fourth-of-July-like atmosphere, tens of thousands of patriotic fans, hundreds of cool cars, and of course, all of those great military and emergency response vehicles.

Check out our gallery by clicking below, and if you'd like to see an even larger selection of incredible shots click here. That link will take you to another gallery courtesy a friend who supplied us with awesome aerial shots of the show. Thanks, D.

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