They are glimmering reminders of yesteryear, rolling cultural artifacts that have been given a sort of mechanical immortality by dedicated owners.
Restoring and maintaining classic automobiles is a popular hobby in Southern California, one that provides enjoyment for both the owners and those who view the cars at public exhibitions.
On virtually any weekend, one or more car clubs hold free events that are open to everyone. One such major event was the West Coast national show of the California Historical Vehicle Assn., held last Saturday in Anaheim's La Palma Park. About 150 cars ranging from the Model T to the Rolls-Royce were on view, said spokesman Jerry Bowland. Information about membership and activities is available at (714) 529-2242.
Here's a sampler of Southland car clubs and their free public events.
Alfa Romeo Owners of Southern California boasts about 500 members. There will be a showing of the Italian maker's automobiles Saturday at Cypress College, 9200 Valley View Ave., Cypress, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., said Joel Hoffman, club president. The club's regular meetings are on the fourth Friday of the month at 8 p.m., usually at Alondra Park, 3850 W. Manhattan Beach Blvd., Lawndale. Call (818) 994-4730.
CORSA West, a chapter of the Corvair Society of America, will hold its 14th annual Concours d'Elegance Oct. 4 at the Andres Pico Adobe, 10940 Sepulveda Blvd., Mission Hills, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Spokesman Jack Finster said 30 to 40 restored Corvairs will be on hand. The club meets the second Thursday of the month at North Hollywood Park, 5301 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, at 8 p.m. Call (818) 360-1184.
Early Birds of Southern California is co-sponsoring a "Pageant of the Thunderbirds" with the Vintage Thunderbird Club of America Sunday at La Palma Park, Harbor Boulevard at La Palma Avenue in Anaheim, said Bill Cornell, a club representative. Judging begins at 10:30 a.m. Sixty to 100 T-birds are expected. People interested in the 1955 to 1957 two-seat Thunderbirds should contact the Early Birds at (213) 645-7503, and those interested in Thunderbirds made from 1958 to the present should call the Vintage Thunderbird Club at (213) 643-5903.
Oldsmobile Club of America, Southern California chapter, will hold a show Sunday at El Dorado East Regional Park, 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There's a $3 parking fee. About 30 autos, ranging from a 1919 Oldsmobile truck to '60s and '70s "muscle cars," are expected. Meetings are the first Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Write to Box 3712, Arcadia, Calif. 91006.
Pacific Mustang Club is holding a "picnic car show" Sunday at El Dorado East Regional Park, 7550 E. Spring St., Long Beach, said club President David Finner. About 150 cars will be on display from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There's a $3 parking fee. The club specializes in Ford Mustangs built from 1964 1/2 to 1987 and meets at 8 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month at the Pizza Pub, 8215 De Soto Ave., Canoga Park. Call (818) 998-8671.
Porsche Club of America sponsors a variety of events, including tours, technical sessions and time trials. The L.A. region of the club has a telephone line with a recorded message of upcoming events: (213) 390-9271. For more information, call John Schiewe at (213) 385-9021.
South Bay Cruisers will hold its eighth annual James Dean Memorial Run from Woodley Park, 6331 Woodley Ave., Van Nuys, to Paso Robles on Sept. 26. According to Acting President Joe Widmark, a caravan of more than 80 classic cars and street rods is expected to assemble at 7 to 9 a.m. and follow the
route taken by the actor during the
final hours of his life Sept. 30, 1955. Participants will make stops where Dean stopped and at the intersection of California 46 and California 41, where he died. The club's meetings are on the second Saturday of each month from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Pizza Hut, 5400 El Segundo Blvd., Hawthorne; (213) 973-0600.
Team Pantera of Orange County has 150 members, all fans of the De Tomaso Pantera, an exotic mid-engine sports car that was available through Ford dealers from 1970 to 1974. Club President Dave Adler said the public is invited to see more than 100 Panteras on display Oct. 11. The show, which he said would be the largest assemblage of Panteras in the United States this year, will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Town Center Park Mall at the Westin South Coast Plaza Hotel, 666 Anton Blvd., Costa Mesa. People interested in joining Team Pantera are invited to its monthly meetings, at 7 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Chuck's Steak House of Hawaii, 14131 Red Hill Ave., Tustin. Call Adler at (714) 847-0338.
Vintage Chevrolet Car Club of America is for owners of Chevrolets 15 or more years old. According to a Jim Donoho, a regional director, about 50 vintage Chevrolets will be on display 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 10 at the Planes of Fame Museum, 7000 Merrill Ave., Chino. Regular meetings are the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at Far West Savings and Loan, 615 East 1st St., Tustin. Call (714) 830-4604.
Vintage Corvettes of Southern California Inc. has autos on display at First United Methodist Church, 4832 Tujunga Ave., North Hollywood, at 1 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month. Club President Bill Kluss said the public is invited to see the approximately 30 Corvettes, 1953 to 1967, plus some newer Corvettes that are usually at club meetings. Other club activities include weekend tours and technical seminars. Call (805) 497-2120.