Over 300 vehicles and new activities highlight 16th annual event

PASO ROBLES — Over 300 cars filled the Paso Robles City Park on Saturday, May 25, for the 16th annual Golden State Classics Car Show. The annual event not only brought downtown to life with the colorful classic engines but also is one of the nonprofit’s largest fundraisers for the community.

“It was a heck of a turnout,” Golden State Classics Car Club President Scott Smith told Paso Robles Press. “I don’t know what the crowd was, but it was, I can honestly say, the largest crowd I’ve seen since I took the show over four years, five years, however long it’s been. But as soon as the sun came out and the fog burned off, it packed up.”

To begin the weekend, the Golden State Classics Car Club (Golden State) brought back their Pre-Show Party on Friday night, where over 200 people were in attendance. New this year, an after-


party was held at Paso Robles Brewing Company following the car show on Saturday. The Golden State Car Club started in 1987. They are now 82 members strong and all working for a good cause.

Smith told Paso Robles Press that the show saw a large about of early registrations for cars to attend the fundraiser and then even more day of registrations. With over 20 more cars at the show this year, Smith expects to beat last year’s raised amount. 

In December, the nonprofit partnered with the Late Night Cruizers Car Club and Daniels Wood Land to put on a car show that ended up raising $12,000 for the Toy Bank of Greater Paso Robles. Additionally, in 2023, they made $1,000 donations each to Hilltop Christian Fellowship, Boys & Girls Clubs of Paso Robles, Rotary Interact High School Club, and the Cancer Support Community of the Central Coast. They also donated $750 to Coats for Kids Atascadero and the Woodland Auto Display, and then $500 to Loaves & Fishes, Paso Robles — that makes a total $18,000 donated to local nonprofits.

New this year at the show was the “Model Building Make & Take.” Free for kids ages 8 to 14, the models were on display to compete for prizes and awards. William Chun helped present the show’s first model activity for the kids which proved to be a favorite. Eight-year-old Helena McDonald from Fresno came with her grandfather and won first place in the Make & Take. Turns out, McDonald loves to paint cars has aspirations to be a future hot rod painter.

Also new this year was the PokerWalk. Visitors were able to enjoy downtown at its fullest to collect cards at participating merchants and collect cards for their winning hand. Cash prizes and gift certificates were available for those winners. At the end, there was a $350 payout for the PokerWalk. 

Golden State again expanded their judging categories, including one for women-owned vehicles that saw 17 entries. Other judging classes include early and modern muscle cars, customs, hot rods, special interests, and the traditional classic categories for cars and trucks. Custom trophies were designed and built by retired welder and club member Jim Jones — adding to the one-of-a-kind experience found at the car show.  

The show even received a special visit from legendary customizer and fabricator Gene Winfield. Typically at the Santa Maria show this time of year, Winfield (at the prime age of 96 years old) came out to Paso Robles for the Golden State Pre-Show Party and the car show on Saturday. Everyone was excited to get photos and signatures from Winfield, who was more than happy to do so. Winfield became known for his work during the 1960s and his designs especially caught the attention of the film industry where much of his design work can be seen.

Golden State also presented Skip Bellinghausen with an award for his service to the veterans and community of Paso Robles. Serving in Vietnam as a tank commander, he was a member of Paso Robles Chapter 50, American Legion Riders for a few decades and the Commander for many years. 

Smith especially wanted to thank the City of Paso Robles for their help in bringing the Golden State Classics Car Show to the community.

Golden State Classics Car Club is a nonprofit organization that promotes classic vehicles and supports local charities. Since 2015, their club has donated over $55,000 to local youth groups, service clubs, and other organizations from proceeds of their events — all while simultaneously providing a social outing for club members and families. To learn more, visit goldenstateclassics.org.

Featured Image: The 16th annual Golden State Classics Car Show took place on May 25. Photo by Rick Evans