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At the Classic Car Cruz, gear heads come bumper to bumper in Alhambra


Main Street Diner

201 W. Main Street
Alhambra , CA 91801 United States

Roaring into the Main Street Diner parking lot is a souped-up 1968 Chevy pickup. It’s the type of vehicle that guzzles gas and lumbers around Alhambra, impractical, loud, a dinosaur next to any hybrid vehicle on the road. But it’s also the type of classic car that would make a certain type of grown man blush.

Skip Kagen with his Chevy panel truck

This is the Classic Car Cruz, an Alhambra summer tradition where car enthusiasts and self-proclaimed “gear heads” compare bumpers and swap stories. They come from around the region to share their passion for fixing up classic cars.

Skip Kagen from Glassel Park stands next to his 1966 Chevy panel truck, describing what it means to restore an older vehicle. “It’s sort of something that gives you a peace of mind, a practical thing to put together,” Kagen says while popping the hood. “A real challenge, but also a great thing to show off.”

And show off they did. The saying goes that pet owners tend to emulate their pets. It appears the same can be said for car hobbyists: the guy with the yellow hot rod is loud, proclaiming his love for his car: “If I were ever married," he says, "I’d be single by now.” On the other side of the spectrum, a modestly painted Nova is parked in the back of the lot and the owner simply nods at the others.

At the first Classic Car Cruz in 2006, eight cars and their owners attended, according to organizer Jay Davenport, member of the Under Takers Southern California Car Club. “But over time word of mouth began to go around. People began to talk about us and friends told other friends," says Davenport, who has his own Cadillac in the show. 

Organizer Jay Davenport with his Cadillac

“Our hope was to get the show to where it is today,” he says, motioning to the parking lot that is quickly filling with more cars, more friends, and familiar faces. “I don’t know everyone by name, but I always recognize their cars.”

Classic Car Cruz is every third Wednesday during the summer at Main Street Diner, 201 W. Main Street, from 5 p.m. until dark. The two remaining ones for this year will be September 17 and October 21.

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