Monday, July 22, 2013

Classic Car Spotting in Cali

Each time I've visited California, I've been fascinated by the number of classic cars that I see on the road. It is very rare to see a vehicle of any type on a South Florida roadway that is more than a decade or two old. Sure, there are classic car shows, but you aren't going to see their owners cruising A1A on a regular basis. The salty, moisture-laden air of the Sunshine State is not conducive to maintaining much that's made of metal.  

I'm not an automobile aficionado by any means, but I still find these classics mighty cool. I had to enlist the help of my dad to help me identify some of the cars I spotted on this trip. (Thanks, Dad!) Some of the cars may not be considered true classics, either; however, they remind me of the cars I saw growing up. Here are a few of the cars that I've spotted on my last two trips to the Golden State.


We found that the most frequently-spotted classic vehicle in Southern California is (naturally) the Volkswagen Bus (or Type 2). This quintessential surfer ride can be found in various colors (and conditions) on the freeways, and naturally along the coastal highways of SoCal. 

Here's Rob standing next to a well-maintained specimen in Santa Barbara (that happens to match his outfit. Totally awesome.

While I'm on VW Surfermobiles, when is the last time you've seen a Volkswagen Thing? This one spotted in Hermosa Beach can be yours for a cool $13K.  

A trip to Surf City USA (Huntington Beach) wouldn't be complete without a Woody sighting.  

Sure, you can sleep in your VW Bus, but if it's a little too cramped, there's always the Winnebago.

I did see a few other true classic cars (these are the one's my dad helped me ID). Sorry for the poor quality of some. It's not easy to shoot and drive at the same time.

1956 Chevrolet seen driving down I-5. It was a beautiful car. Too bad you can't see much of it in the photo.

Also saw this 1957 Thunderbird while driving along the freeway. You'd think with all the traffic I could have gotten a better shot!

Spotted this sweet Shelby Cobra from the 60s in Long Beach. My dad couldn't tell if it was original or a clone. It was a beauty, though!

This classic seen driving on Stearn's Wharf in Santa Barbara even stumped my dad. He thinks it's a 50's Chevrolet. Seeing it made you feel like you were in another era.

As a child of the 80s, spotting these cars brought back memories.

I saw this convertible VW Rabbit last summer, while attending ISTE in San Diego.

This is the first Pontiac Fiero I've seen in at least 20 years (maybe more). I think I wanted one when I turned 16. 

The same could be said for this sweet Datsun 280Z. Rob had one back in the day. I do believe I recall seeing it (with it's "No Fat Chicks" bumper sticker) parked outside the DeBeltrand's house as I rode by on my bicycle.

I saw this Monte Carlo last summer in San Diego. My grandma had a gold Monte Carlo that later became my mom's. I'll never forget the day my ex-sister-in-law drove me to PBHS in it one morning and the muffler fell off. I asked her to let me out down the block. Rob had a Monte Carlo when he went to PBHS too. In fact, he left his Geometry book in the backseat with the window down during a rainstorm just before turning it in to Miss Lambert. She was not amused.


It wouldn't be California without a few interesting characters, right? Seems that some people take to painting (or even decorating) their vehicles (which often double as their homes). Here are a few eccentric classics spotted in Cali:

This totally rad octopusmobile (Winnebago) was spotted parked along the PCH in Malibu.

Spotted this motorcycle-meets-Indy-500-racecar in Long Beach:

Naturally, Venice Beach wasn't without eccentric vehicles. The love bus behind it had a sign on it that basically said, "If the van's a rockin', don't come a knockin." 

But, the award for the most eccentric, most awesome hippiemobile of them all goes to...
Peace/Love Van Man using his light saber to point out the self-portraits on friends he's met along the way painted on the side of his van.
The globe in front of the van is where you put "Love Offerings" if you wish to take photos.
Close up! I spy the Teletubbies, a Rubik's Cube, the Scooby Doo gang, Felix the Cat, Mike Wazowski, Beauty and the Beast and Gumby. How about you?

I truly believe that this van, parked in the public lot at the beach in Santa Barbara, includes every Happy Meal toy ever produced. It is truly a psychedelic museum on wheels. Notice the sign reads "Kindness is my religion." This van's owner was nothing if not kind. He was a peaceful, gentle soul. And yes, I gave a "Love Offering," in exchange for the photos that I took. I'm 99.9% sure that I know what the money was used to purchase. To each his own. Peace, my brother.


Since buying their latest CD, California 37, I have fallen in love with Train. Although this car is (by no means) a classic, seeing it while driving on the freeway in California was classic. My immediate thought was:

She was caught in a mudslide
Eaten by a lion
Got run over by a...

(If that last one made absolutely no sense to you. Watch 50 Ways to Say Goodbye.)

So, if California's beautiful coastline, rugged mountains, deep blue skies and breathtaking sunsets aren't enough for you, there's always car spotting.

With Love and Aloha ~ Nancy

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