Thousands of people enjoyed classic cars at the eighth annual San Miguel Cruise Night and Car Show over the weekend.
Initially organizers were a little worried about the turnout considering they moved the event from their usual Memorial Day weekend slot to Labor Day weekend for the first time. But after seeing downtown San Miguel packed with autos and people for Cruise Night on Aug. 31 and then the following afternoon Sept. 1 for the Car Show, their worries were quickly quieted.
“I was a little worried about the change, but it turned out really good,” said Cheryl Mumford, explaining that the date change was made after Paso Robles moved its car show to Memorial Day weekend. “Everybody still came and is having a good time so it worked out really well for us.”
Cheryl and her husband Carl Mumford, who are classic car owners, have been leading the San Miguel Car Show Committee for the past four years. Carl’s family has roots in San Miguel. They have seen the show grow over its eight-year existence.
“Last night we had about 3,000 people walking down here,” said Carl about the Cruise Night. “This whole place was just packed.”
Two hundred autos lined both sides of Mission Street between 14th and 11th streets in the heart of San Miguel. Cars were mostly from up and down the state with a couple driving in from Oregon and Idaho.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” Cheryl said. “Just to hang out, talk to people and see all of the cars.”
Several awards, covering 21 classes, are handed out during the show, including People’s Choice and Best of Show.
The committee along with the San Miguel Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual show that donates proceeds to Lillian Larsen Elementary School and the small town north of Paso Robles along Highway 101. Major sponsors included Kings Oil Tools, Hogue Inc. and Elk Horn Bar.
“We do this for the town and for the school, Lillian Larsen School,” Cheryl said. “We don’t get any money.”
“We get a T-shirt,” Carl said.
“It’s all for the town and the school,” Cheryl said.
In addition to the car show, vendor booths — food and drink and arts and crafts — were also set up on the sidewalk and side streets.
There was a wide range of autos on display, each with a story waiting to be told by their owners.
Greg LaCava’s 1966 white Lotus-Ford Consul Cortina with the signature bold green racing stripe down the side, looking as if it could have just rolled off the assembly line, caught the attention of passersby.
The car is a rare find in the U.S., with only the Mark 1 being exported from the United Kingdom in 1966. LaCava estimates only about “280-something of them” were sent over to the U.S. In Britain, the Ford Consul Cortina was introduced in 1962 as midsize family sedan, but with the help of Lotus was turned into a highly successful sedan racer.
“They are pretty scarce, most people don’t know what they are,” LaCava said. I’ve always wanted to have one, but you just don’t see them.”
LaCava, of San Miguel, found his Cortina in an airplane hangar in Willits about five years ago. He was looking at the plane, but the green stripe caught his eye.
“I was looking at a plane and saw this sitting in the back,” LaCava said. “It turned out the family that had the plane had this and the daughter used it as a daily driver for years and years and years and then they just parked it in the hangar and it sat there for about 14 years.”
Anchoring the south end of the car show was the bright white-roofed and yellow 1960 Volkswagen Split Screen Kombi or bus owned by Brad Garrison of Atascadero.
The “Splittie” has a special place in Garrison’s heart and caught the eyes of the judges as it was awarded the Chamber’s President Award.
“I had one in high school and I’m 60 now and in my mid-to-late-40s I went through a second childhood thing and decided I had to have a 1960 Volkswagen bus,” Garrison said. “I drove up to just at the base of Mount Rainier in Washington and bought this on ebay, towed it home and it was, of course quite a project.”
The restoration took between three and four years, but in the end was worth it. Instead of recreating the car of his youth that had mag wheels and wide tires, Garrison chose to keep this one more original.
“I’ve just enjoyed the heck out of it,” Garrison said. “Everybody has some kind of remembrance of fun times in a Volkswagen.”
2018 San Miguel Car Show Winners
Best of Show: Tom Fowler 1962 Bubble Top Chevy Belair
People’s Choice: Art Serna 1935 Ford Coupe
Chamber’s President Award: Brad Garrison 1960 VW Kombi
Kings Oil Tools Presenter Award: Russ Andrew 62 Ford Galaxie
Hogue Inc. Presenter Award: Jim and Amy Johnston 1970 Dodge Dart
Elk Horn Presenter Award: Bill Hass 39 Chevy Master Deluxe
Stock Cars up to 54: Kelly Rohrer 1930 Model A Phantom
Stock Cars 55-current: David Barnick 1962 Ford T-Bird
Modified/Custom Car up to 39: Jan and Larry Van Scoy 1934 Ford Cabriolet
Modified/Custom Cars 40-59: Butch Kinworthy 40 Sedan Deluxe
Modified/Custom Cars 60-current: Nate Wyatt 64 Falcon Sprint
Modified/Custom Truck up to 52: Rob Rohrer 1915 Model T
Stock Truck 53-Current: Greg Wyatt 71 Chevy
Stock Trucks up to 52: Rusty Fieldea 1949 Ford
Modified/Custom Trucks 53-current: James and Chris Mann 55 Ford F-100
Stock Chevy Cars 55-57: Allen Deshow 1957 150 Wagon
Modified Chevy Cars 55-57: Steve Hovey 1955 Belair Wagon
All Chevy Chevelles: John Arbrun 1967 Chevelle
Rat Rods: John Waterfield 1958 VW Bomb
Corvettes 53-82: Sherri and Carlos Hernandez 1963 Corvette
Corvettes 83-Current: Rajon and Sherry Begin 216 Corvette
All Mustangs/Cougars: Tom Diaz 2-18 Shelby R
All Mopars: Cynthia Kennedy 1970 Dodge Challenger
All Camaros/Firebirds: Steve Guicharo 1968 Camaro
All Rancheros/El Caminos: Ken & Linda Spencer
All Foreign: Jerry and Ann Oliver 1958 Jaguar XK150
Special Interest: 1923 Ford T-Bucket