By Marissa GOULD, intern
Though it was a blistering hot day on Sunday, high temperatures didn’t stop thousands of car lovers from heading to Honolulu Avenue for the 13th Annual Montrose Car Show. An estimated 5,000 to 7,000 folks strolled Honolulu Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to check out the classic cars lined up and down the avenue in the Montrose Shopping Park. There were between 199 and 204 cars on display – so many, in fact, that portions of Ocean View Boulevard were also shut down to accommodate them all. They were owned by local car enthusiasts, many of whom are involved with car clubs like the Early Rodders of La Cañada, the Road Kings of Burbank and the Trompers of Eagle Rock. These owners and organizations set up chairs and canopies along the avenue so they could share their experiences while enjoying the car show with fellow enthusiasts.
“We had excellent attendance and response this year,” said Linda McMenamin, events coordinator for the MSP. “It seems to have been the best one yet.” In addition to McMenamin who organized the overall event, Dave Maher took care of the hot rods, Don Tubbs organized the cacklefest, John Kennedy oversaw the exotics and Bill Cronkhite took over the classics for Tom Russell.
There was every type of classic car on-site. There were Chevy Impalas, 1960 Buicks, Metropolitans from the 1950s, race cars and dragsters. Pride of ownership was in abundance, found in each car that was buffed and shined to a brilliance that made each look as if it was glowing in the afternoon heat. Many of the cars had a rich history with some being in the same family for generations.
The car owners were only too happy to talk to the visitors who stopped by. Some asked about the history of a certain car or how long it took to refurbish. Twice during the day, a cacklefest took place when the dragsters and other high octane vehicles fired up their souped-up engines.
Cars weren’t the only things that captured the attention of show attendees. Celebrity Jay Leno, a car aficionado himself, strolled along Honolulu graciously allowing folks to take his photo.
Besides the booths spotlighting cars, others were set up. Among them were representatives from the Stanley Cup winning LA Kings. LA Galaxy was also on Honolulu Avenue. Prom Plus Club from CV High School also had a booth where members dressed in ’50s attire to match many of the cars on display.
Not Just for Guys
Sunday’s event was truly a feast for the eyes and ears of car lovers.
“Who doesn’t like nice cars and loud noises, you know?” Mark Davis asked.
Mark, a gearhead who spends many hours a week in his garage working on his cars, did not display a car in the Montrose Car Show. Instead, he helped out hanging banners and made sure areas were safe for people when the nitro cars were lit up. Mark and his wife Cheryl have been attending the show for several years.
“It was a really nice family car show,” Cheryl said. “There were a lot of families with small kids walking around.”
While the family atmosphere was nice, she said she didn’t exactly mind the nitro cars either.
“They were loud,” she said. “It was really cool.”
Cheryl is the former president of the Crescenta Valley Town Council, and was a main player in pushing for the Crescenta Valley Dog Park. For the car show, though, she was simply an attendee while Mark did most of the work.
“It was nice because it was an event where he’s working it, and I’m backing him up, and usually it’s the other way around,” she said.
The couple’s house has a long driveway and a big garage with about eight cars packed in. Cheryl joked that the rule for the house now is no more cars will come in until one leaves. Her husband is working on converting a 1972 Firebird into a Trans Am that he said he’ll possibly bring to next year’s show.
“It’s a little harder when you’re working [the show] to bring a car down, but when I get done with this one, I’ll bring it down,” Davis said.
When he’s finished, the car’s body will look like a Trans Am. It will have a racing suspension with a modified motor that will put out 400 to 425 horsepower, rather than the stock 200 horsepower.
“It’s his hobby and he loves it,” Cheryl said. “We have a neighbor who comes over regularly and they just work on the cars together.”
It can be expensive, though, right?
“It can, it just depends on what you’re doing,” Mark said, who also has a 1979 Trans Am that he could have brought to the show but didn’t have time to clean up. “Cars aren’t cheap. Parts aren’t cheap. You don’t really do it for the money.”
Both agreed their number of favorite cars at Sunday’s car show was too high to count. What’s important is that both of them enjoy going to the show, which Cheryl said is commonplace among couples she knows; it isn’t always a thing just for the guys.
“A lot of the cars are owned by women,” Cheryl said. “Sometimes when [couples] go to car shows, the women will go with the guys but there are some pairs where the husband and wife both have a car.”