HomeCar CultureNugget Mashup is annual impromptu Bonneville Speed Week car show

Nugget Mashup is annual impromptu Bonneville Speed Week car show


Mashup is a relatively recent term defined as a mixture or fusion of disparate elements. The recent Bonneville Speed Week 2019 fits that definition perfectly when it comes to the incredible array of machines brought to the salt flats each year to compete for speed in well over 100 vehicle and cycle classes.

But another impromptu event occurs each year when disparate vehicles show up in Wendover, Utah, at the Nugget Casino/Hotel parking lot during Speed Week, vying for nothing more than a recognition of creative, innovative and, in some cases, downright strange engineering and design of that all-American icon… the hot rod.

Despite issues related to salt conditions that delayed the racing this year, 2019 proved to be another great gathering of machinery each evening at the Nugget Mashup.

For more than a decade, the Nugget Casino in West Wendover (over in Nevada because they don’t allow casinos in Utah) has been the unintentional host of an eclectic collection of rodders who seem to magically appear from all corners of the country with the biggest group coming from upstate New York… yup, that New York.

The requisite salt encrusted vehicles were aplenty in the gathering, showing that a little corrosive salt isn’t feared at this gathering
Bonneville events have always been family friendly, whether you’re on the salt or in the display of vehicles in the mashup. Here a young future racer gets a taste of what its like to view the world from a belly tank three-wheeler

For more than 15 years, crew and fans of the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop have made the trip to Bonneville, spending upwards of 8-12 hours daily driving the 2,300 miles to Wendover from Greenfield Center, New York, to share their innovative creations in the parking lot of the Nugget.

Rolling Bones founders Ken Schmidt and Keith Cornell serve up anywhere from 8-12 hot rods each year and hold court with their lineup of old school creations. The Rolling Bones set the tone for the gathering with driven rods that not only drove across country but ventured out onto the salt to pick up the requisite coating of the white stuff.

The varied display brings out plenty of vehicles, but also some crazy creations like the ’68 Dodge Charger dubbed “Overcharged” and built by Steve Darnell and his crew at Welderup Garage and Fabrication in Las Vegas and featured in the cable show, Vegas Rat Rods, on the Discovery Channel. The Charger was resting on the flat bed of a radical ’96 Peterbilt, ratted out to the max, of course and one of the crowd favorites. Dodge Charger purists had to shield their eyes.

The Dodge Brothers back in 1932 probably never imagined one of their slick roadsters would survive 67 years and be the center of attention at a car show. The hemi powered rat rod is driven regularly and has the road rash to prove it
It’s expected you will witness some crazy innovation when you visit Bonneville Speed Week and this straight-eight Buick mill hit all the right buttons

The mashup occurs each evening and, in the past, took up space in the front parking and entry to the Nugget, which caused lots of consternation for the hotel residents and gamblers who had no understanding what all the excitement was about and only wanted to park so they could hit the slots and table games.

This year, the casino moved the Nugget Mashup  gathering to a more controlled side parking area, where more than 100 vehicles were displayed.

Steve Darnell of Welderup Garage in Las Vegas brought his dual supercharged Cummins-powered ’68 Charger on the back of a heavily ratted ’93 Peterbilt flat bed to wow the crowds and give the Charger a bit of time cruising the salt as well
From rat to rod, this ’34 Ford roadster swung the pendulum the opposite direction with its near perfect fit and finish giving the nightly crowd some spit and polish to fawn over
Jim Volgarino
Jim Volgarino
At age 12, Jim Volgarino peeked under the hood of his grandfather’s 1957 Oldsmobile and saw a Rocket 88 for the first time. He was hooked. Following stints in the Air Force, the newspaper business, the printing business, and the teaching business he’s finally settled into his first love… automotive writing. He’s covered everything from Bonneville Speed Week to the Lambrecht Chevrolet auction in Pierce, Nebraska, from his home in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He’s owned pretty much anything and everything with a motor and wheels. Currently, he’s restoring a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS 409.


  1. I love the Buick Straight 8 rod, but I bet that ton o’ motor, with blower push, really works those skinny fronts. Probably a ball to drive, tho’.

    • What you have labelled as a Buick straight 8 is actually a Packard motor (with vintage supercharger), and what you’ve called a 1932 Dodge is actually a DeSoto. The oversize rear wheels on the ’32 DeSoto roadster are said to have come from Mickey Thompson’s Challenger I streamliner.


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