2021Graffiti Legends of the Cruise Sam Gottshall

Sam Gottshall
By Gayle Gottshall

Sam Gottshall was born and raised in Modesto. Sam attended Downey High School and Modesto Junior College. He has been involved with old cars and hot rods since the age of 12. Sam’s cousin, whom was 6 years older, had a 1941 Willies Quarter mile car, and from that time forward Sam was hooked. He has built several cars over the years; his last one being a 1940 Ford Coupe that he built with the help of his son (Matt). Sam has been involved with several car clubs over the years: In the ‘60’s the Deacons from Downey High School, later Mid Valley Chevy Club and Modesto Area Street Rod Assoc. Sam has probably logged several thousand miles cruising 10th and 11th Streets over the years.

Many years ago Sam had the idea to promote “Show and Shine” shows during the week of graffiti with the help of Jack Flower and Mike Cassel. These became very popular and attracted cars from everywhere. Later the shows were taken over by Mid Valley Chevy Club and still run during Graffiti week today. Sam worked for Carlson Scale for fifty years, the last 25 years was co-owner with his late wife Gayle. Today, the business is operated by his son Matt. Sam is now retired and enjoying the good life and still cruising and is a key part of the Graffiti Legend and the current events and regularly volunteers at the Graffiti Museum.

Chris Murphy’s note: I was interested to learn that Sam was busted for drag racing in the Downey High Parking lot during his student years. In the spirit of the code of the day, he did not reveal with whom he was racing. I’m sure the statutes have all expired now.

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.