When you talk to people around Las Vegas who have been here awhile, Art Goldstrom’s name keeps coming up. Everyone in the hot-rod and construction industry knows Art. You would never know it from meeting this unassuming, modest, quiet guy. You would never guess how many races he has participated in and won or how many tons of concrete and rubble he has demolished.

art goldstrom

Reno born and a Las Vegas resident since 1939, Art got his start racing cars on the streets of Vegas in the ‘50s. Back then he owned a ‘39 and ‘41 Ford that was “slammed to the ground”, as he put it. He and his friends weren’t “hellions,” they just loved fast cars. By the time he started racing in Bakersfield, Long Beach and San Francisco; he had an old flathead roadster called “Crap Shooter 711” and a flat head rail.  He remembers when there were only two cops to worry about in Vegas. He and his buddies used to race down Highland, from Sahara (formerly San Francisco) to Spring Mountain (formerly D 4 C Ranch Road), in front of the Showboat Casino. From the Greensack to the dip on Boulder Highway, or on Paradise behind the Sahara Casino. That was in the ‘50s, when he was going to Las Vegas High School.

“If you’re not superstitious, you can’t go fast.”- Art Goldstrom

Art’s career began at Lincoln Welding where he began hauling gravel which lead to his trucking company, hauling equipment and paving the streets of Las Vegas. Then in ‘71, Art and his wife, Shirley, formed a construction company known as Art Goldstrom Enterprises. Art Goldstrom Enterprises was responsible for demolishing much of the Las Vegas history. Such as tearing down the old downtown jail (he still has the sign and a jail cell or two) to make way for the California Casino. Then came the Marina Hotel (where MGM stands), the Castaways (Mirage & Treasure Island), the Dunes (Bellagio), and the Hacienda Hotel (Mandalay Bay) helping make room for these new, sleek casinos on The Las Vegas Strip.

Now semi-retired, Art and his family: wife, Shirley; daughter, Sheri; granddaughters, Amanda and Courtney; and grandsons, Chris and Art manage their many businesses including a property management company, construction company, Nostalgia Street Rods (Art’s hot rod shop) and their Auto & Memorabilia Collection. About six years ago Sheri decided to start organizing and pulling together their extensive collection of old cars and memorabilia which became a private museum. Tours are given daily of Art and Shirley’s Private Collection.

Each year they host The Art, Shirley and Sheri’s Charity Car Show that raises thousands of dollars for the American Parkinson’s Disease Association of Southern Nevada. Art’s mother had Parkinson’s, so it is a tribute to her. This year’s show represents their 10th annual which is help the first week of November.

Besides Art’s passion for automobiles he has never given up his love for racing. In the last few years, Art and friend, Wayne Jesel, along with Art’s mechanic/driver, Ed Daniels, started racing for land speed records with their 32 Ford C Class Street Roadster. They set a few records over the past few years. In May 2009, they raised the record at 201.177 mph with Jimmy Shine of So-Cal Speed Shop driving the Jesel/Goldstrom ‘32 Ford C Class Street Roadster. At Bonneville Salt Flats for the World Finals this October they set a record at 223.6 mph with Jimmy Shine once again at the wheel.

So, Art Goldstrom is a name to know and remember when it comes to the history of Las Vegas. He is a legend, an icon, who quietly goes about his life being just an all around nice guy with a whole lot of great stories. He just happens to be one of the “giants” that has helped shape this town. But, he won’t admit to that.

By: Rodney Gisick Photos: Nikki Garcia

~Sunday Slacker