Car Enthusiasts Rev Their Engines

El Hathaway shows off his 1948 Jaguar Mark IV’s suicide doors. Photo by Hayley Toler.

Rewinding to an era before automatic windows and GPS, the eighth annual classic Rotary Club car show will roll into the Festival of Arts’ grounds on Sunday, Oct. 16, bringing a glimpse of history only perceivable through this collection of local vintage cars and their enthusiastic owners.

A roundup of 250 classic automobiles, ranging from American woodies to exotic Ferraris, will be available for the viewing pleasure of the general public from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. both on the Festival grounds and in the neighboring parking lot across Laguna Canyon Road


Close-up of details from last year’s show. Photo by Rick Lang.

A seasoned car show and concourse veteran, club member El Hathaway directs placement of the cars around the grounds. “The difference between a concourse d’elegance and a car show is that a car show is a lot more informal and user-friendly. At the Rotary show, the location is what is ideal,” said Hathaway, who will be entering his 1948 Jaguar Mark IV into the show.  A saloon car built by Jaguar, the 1948 Mark IV was a re-launch of a pre-WWII model made by SS Cars Ltd.

The rare and prestigious European cars receive star treatment, showcased on the covered festival grounds, while the parking lot across the street exhibits American muscle cars and parking spaces outside the festival gate display woodies.

With vintage surfboard in hand, George Nelson poses with his 1946 woody. Photo by Hayley Toler.

George Nelson, owner of downtown gift shop Fawn Memories, has entered his 1946 woody into the show every year.

“I’ve always been interested in cars, you know, a typical guy. And I’ve always liked old cars; classic cars, they have more character,” said Nelson. “But for me and woody cars, it’s not necessarily about the awards, it’s more of a lifestyle. Laidback rather than exotic.”

Although Nelson has only owned his woody for 12 years, its previous owner was also a Laguna Beach resident, totaling the car’s residency at 40 years in town.

Close-up of details from last year’s show. Photo by Rick Lang.

“The Rotary car show is a fun, family outing. From Americana to European exotics, you see some very high quality cars. A lot of them are from Laguna in garages that you wouldn’t get a chance to see outside of that garage,” Nelson said.

In order to keep these vintage cars up to par, local experts such as Rusty Darrow of Laguna Beach Tow must perform extensive labor on these vintage beauties.

Of the four cars featured in this weekend’s show that he has built and painted, Darrow said, “Our moms and dads grew up in these cars. They are things that are gone and are never coming back. ”

1949 Rolls Royce: Rod and Josette Hatter sporting their 1949 Silver Dawn Rolls Royce.

Laguna residents Rod and Josette Hatter’s 1949 Silver Dawn Rolls Royce is a prime example of the history embodied by each vintage car. The model was developed in 1935 as an affordable luxury car, but its manufacture was interrupted by WWII. Hatter’s was the 12th Silver Dawn ever built.

“I just like to go to the car shows and meet the other exhibitors, people who own cars. I also love the attention I get. People love this car because it’s a Rolls but it’s not flashy like most Rolls are,” said Hatter, who has owned the car for four years and bought it from a Laguna resident who had owned the car for 14 years.

Muscle-car alley features vintage cruisers. Photo by Rick Lang.

Proceeds will benefit 20 local charities. Each car owner pays a $35 entry fee to participate.  For a $10 adult admission fee, which will include a Montage opportunity drawing, or a $3 admission fee for children 12 and under, the public is invited to soak in the history of automobiles and chat with local owners about their personal journey.





Rolls Royce Lingo

English                                   American

Bonnet                                    Hood

Boot Rear                                Trunk

Capping Rail                          Top of Dashboard

Companions                          Vanity Mirrors on Sides of Rear Seats

Demister                                Defroster

Dipped Headlamp               Dimmed Headlight

Dipswitch                              Floor Dimmer Switch

Division                                 Partition between Front and Rear Seats

Dynamo                                 Electric Generator (now “alternator”)

Fairways or Spats                Fender Skirts

Fog Lamps                            Fog Lights

Hides                                     Leather Upholstery

Horn Push                            Horn

Mascot                                  Hood Ornament – “The Spirit of Ecstasy” or  “Flying Lady” or “Nellie in her Nightie”

Motorcar                              Car or Automobile

Number Plate                      License Plate

Over-riders                          Vertical parts of bumpers

Picnic Tables                       Rear Seat  Pull-down Trays

Radio Aerial                        Radio Antenna

“Royce”                                What the builders at Crewe called a Rolls-Royce

Scuttle                                 Area behind the “Bonnet”

Spanner                              Wrench

Switchbox                          Ignition

Tool Tray                            Tool Box

Trafficator                         Semaphore Turn Signal at door level

Tyre                                     Tire

Windscreen                       Windshield

Wing                                   Fender

Share this:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here