Memories Made and Revisited at Annual Montrose Car Show

Whether a lover of the cackle car or the classics, the Montrose Car Show had something for everyone.

Photos by Robin GOLDSWORTHY
A longtime car guy, John Steur, brought his 1965 Bonneville down to the Montrose Car Show.


John Steur is a Crescenta Valley High School graduate, a married father of two – and a lover of cars.

Even in high school, Steur would gather his friends together to talk cars. The group loosely referred to themselves as the Hill Kats, often lamenting how they’d burn up brakes traveling the roads of the foothills. Now relocated to Valencia, Steur has tapped into the love of cars in that part of the southland and formed Coffee N’ Cars, a weekly meeting of auto aficionados.

“It’s like our old Hill Kats,” Steur said. “We bring our cars to the parking lot of a former department store, show them off and share stories of how we got them or refurbished them.”

Steur has two classics at home – a Mercury that needs some work and a ’65 Pontiac Bonneville, which he brought to Sunday’s Montrose’s 17th Annual Show on Honolulu Avenue.

Rory and Ramsay Campbell

The show was a chance for car lovers like Steur to show off their pride and joy – classic, vintage and antique cars and hot rods. Two hundred and seventy one cars representing several decades lined the 2200-2400 blocks of Honolulu Avenue. Among the looks of admiration found on many of the faces of the admirers were looks of nostalgia as people remembered their first cars.

Bob Beck, who emceed Sunday’s show, noted that, when they had the means, people returned to the cars they admired when they were growing up.

“People bought what they saw,” he said.

1933 Covered Wagon

Beck has been an car announcer for over 40 years and an enthusiast his whole life. His voice has been heard at various association events including SCCA, NHRA and drag racing and local circle track racing and he is on the staff at Irwindale Speedway. He also hosts a weekly podcast – GAAS, the Great American Auto Scene. On Sunday, he could be heard describing the cars that were on display, obviously delighting in the five “cackle cars.” Once fired up, the loud nitro-fed engines of these dragsters had people plugging their ears as the sounds echoed across the Crescenta Valley.

Beck said that he was pleased with the turnout for the Montrose car show that saw thousands in attendance throughout the day. Many thought that it was the largest number of attendees ever.

“It’s a great family-oriented event,” he said. “The level of support from the car clubs, individual owners and the merchants was terrific.”

Members of the Road Kings, the Trompers and Early Rodders of La Cañada, as well as individual auto owners, brought their cars to Montrose and, under the direction of Mike Fea, lined them up along the avenue. At the end of the day, 30 winners were awarded plaques.

Many of the merchants had sidewalk sales to entice visitors of the car show to their shops. The weekly Harvest Market was also in full swing.

Coupled with mild temperatures, the Sunday event was a chance for the younger generation to become acquainted with cars

they might not know and older folks to walk down memory lane. In addition to classic cars, a Helms Bakeries truck was on display. A 1933 Covered Wagon trailer, the first assembly line travel trailer made in America, reminded people how traveling the country used to be done. An E-16, owned by local resident Bob O’Neil, caught the eyes of boys Rory, 11, and Ramsay, 5, Campbell.

“This is the history we can’t abandon,” said Beck. “It bridges the generation gap.”