|This Classic California happening began with the Donut Derelicts, a group of
four or five car enthusiasts who met at a donut shop each Saturday morning
over 20 years ago (in 1986). Co-founder Rick Finn died in 2006, but is
honored with a contest at the annual Huntington Beach Concours d'Elegance
Still, the coffee klatsch has grown over the years and now includes up to
200 friendly folks who dust off their rare, collector or hot rod cars,
driving them to a Huntington Beach parking lot for a three hour car fest.
There's never a fee to attend, no club organization, officers or membership
dues. Nobody's in charge at this "un"organized Saturday morning social, in
During the week it's just another strip mall behind a Chevron station a
few miles from Southern California beaches and freeways. Located at the
corner of Magnolia and Adams Avenues in Huntington Beach, the nondescript
lot quickly fills up with standing room crowds on Saturdays when the donut
shop opens. In the blink of an eye, the place is packed with cars of all
shapes, sizes and colors, accompanied by a list of attendees ranging from
your next door neighbor to World Series champ Reggie Jackson. You never know
who you'll see or what you will hear but one thing's for sure―the sound of
engines humming in parade-style fashion heralds the arrival of hotrods,
muscles, pickups, woodies, sports and race cars, all jockeying for prime
parking spaces to flip open their hoods and show off their engines.
In addition to the ball champ, Petersen Automotive Museum director Ken
Gross, Hyundai's chief U.S. designer Joel Piaskowski, Pikes Peak Climb
champion Jeff Zwart, drag racer Art Chrisman, hot-rod builders & designers
Chip Foose and Little John Butera are a few of the people who frequent this
event. With no flyers distributed, no fees charged and no one to blame
should something go wrong, the event maintains success through its simple
approach. Just being there gains you admission and exposure to some
celebrities, car industry figures and friendly car enthusiasts who come to
show off their babies or eye the new beauties. Much like runway fashion
shows, car collectors anticipate fresh, new designs, detailing and trims in
the weekly unveilings. This is the place to see and be seen, and if you have
an agenda, sometimes you'll get lucky and make a connection.
While most simply attend for enjoyment, Europeans, Danes, Canadians and
Japanese on business fly to Southern California and come to the show on a
mission. Visiting numerous car events, they often carry video equipment and
business cards, scouting for certain models to purchase and ship back to
potential buyers in some foreign land. If a car is properly restored, has
low mileage and a good engine, a classic gas guzzler can sell elsewhere for
nearly double its U.S. value.
What's great about beach style gatherings such as Donuts Derelicts car
show is the quality of cars and fantastic year round weather that affords a
lifestyle conducive to car collecting. When you're looking for something to
do on a Saturday morning, drive over to Huntington Beach to watch the
Stingrays come out....not at the beach, but just a few miles down the street
on Adams and Magnolia.
What's in' Trim, detailing and quality paint. If it shines, it better be
Seen passing through: '32 Ford; '60s Shelby Cobras; 1942 Plymouth Savoy;
40 Ford coupe; 1949 Packard convertible; hellacious '69 canary Camaro; '55
Chevy; '71 Plymouth Fury; '64 Pontiac Banshee; Firebirds, Panteras, cruisers
and bruisers--you name it!
Can women and girls come' You bet! Men do not discriminate against girls.
Just be prepared to stand around and talk about car engines, paint jobs,
etc. Swing by on your way to early bird shopping at nearby Target or
Mervyn's some Saturday morning.
Where & When: Location: Magnolia Ave & Adams Ave in Huntington Beach, CA
Saturdays 6 to 9 a.m. Cost: Free, it's informal. For donuts, try Adams
Avenue Donuts, (714) 962-8921, 9015 Adams Avenue , Huntington Beach , CA
Getting there: Adams Avenue Donuts and the Saturday morning car show are
a few miles from the San Diego - 405 Freeway. Exit Brookhurst Street and
head south for several miles. Take a right on Adams Avenue and go two
stoplights to Magnolia Ave. The parking lot is on the right hand side of the
road before the stoplight.