You might think there’s no room for newcomers in the world of Southern California auto shows but luckily the organizers of the Classic Auto Show didn’t think so.
And we’re glad they took the plunge hosting their first event in Los Angeles three years ago. For their 3rd Annual Classic Auto Show, they moved the venue down to Orange County.
We dispatched iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, and his Associate Professor, pictured below to check out the show. They came back with this complete report. Click play to listen below or continue reading and check out the great Classic Auto Show pictures.
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Recorded in Los Angeles, CA
3rd Annual Classic Auto Show
Clinton “The Professor” Quan: It’s an outdoor and indoor venue, so they had cars that were inside and outside as well and there were over 2,000 vehicles that were on display.
There were car clubs that were represented at the event, there are muscle cars, there’s hotrods, antiques, classics, a wide range of vehicles. Adam Carolla was the grand marshal for the event.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast. All about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here with the good Professor, Mr. Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton!
Professor: Hey, Tom!
Tom: Hello, my friend. This podcast—it’s been a while. Good to see you.
“…there are muscle cars, there’s hotrods, antiques, classics, a wide range of vehicles. Adam Carolla was the grand marshal for the event.”
Professor: Good seeing you, too. Yeah, it’s been quite some time.
Tom: Podcast listeners totally know that it’s been a while.
Professor: They don’t.
Tom: But thank you for tuning in. Thank you for listening. This podcast is about the Classic Auto Show.
Cars Show that Makes The Cut
The good Professor hits all of the top auto shows, has very discriminating taste
when it comes to all things automotive.
He knows what shows—there are tons of shows to hit throughout the year and that’s going to be another whole podcast.
Tom: But there are tons, I mean, every weekend there’s shows to hit, right?
Professor: There are automotive events that literally take place every single weekend in Southern California.
Tom: Professor Quan here…
If you’re a new listener, I call Clinton the Professor because he just keeps his finger on the pulse of everything coming out of all the manufacturers.
“This year they decided to move it to Orange County in Cosa Mesa at the OC Fair and Event Center.”
Domestic, import, luxury, exotics, supercars, you name it. I mean, he goes to shows like regularly.
Pretty much every weekend, he’s seeing something automotive-related. If he’s not, that’s the anomaly in his life.
This is cool, because we then leverage that expertise into iDriveSoCal. Clinton, for the most part, curates iDriveSoCal’s events calendar. Thank you for doing that.
And any big events that are worthy…
Because again, all you have to do is Google and you can find something automotive-related.
Something going on every Saturday, every Sunday, of the year, somewhere in Southern California, hands down, no problem.
The thing is, which ones do I want to go to? That’s why I come to iDriveSoCal, to find the gems.
One of them that we covered recently, The Best of France and Italy? Or is it Italy and France?
The Best of France and Italy
Professor: The Best of France and Italy, yes, you are correct.
Tom: The Best of France and Italy. Awesome show, beautiful cars.
Their website needs some updating. It’s a little bit old website, you wouldn’t think by looking at the website that it’s such an awesome show.
Therein lies—you know, the Professor is like iDriveSoCal’s Yelp when it comes to auto shows. Does that make sense?
“…it was the 100th anniversary of Citroën, which is a French car company, so they had a number of their vehicles there.”
Professor: I like that analogy.
Tom: All right. The Classic Auto Show, tell me all about it. I can’t wait to hear.
Professor: Well, this is the third year for the Classic Auto Show.
Tom: Okay, a new one.
Classic Auto Show New SoCal Location
Professor: However, this is the first time they’re doing it in Orange County.
The first two years, it was held at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
This year they decided to move it to Orange County in Cosa Mesa at the OC Fair and Event Center.
Tom: Okay. Did that mean they’re growing, and they needed more space, or they just wanted to bring it down to OC to bring it to OC?
Professor: That’s a great question.
I don’t know why they move the location. Maybe they just decided to change it up a bit.
“It’s an outdoor and indoor venue, so they had cars that were inside and outside as well and there were over 2,000 vehicles that were on display.”
I don’t know if that’s going to continue for next year or if they’re going to move it back to LA.
The great thing about this was that there were cars that were held both outside—if anyone’s familiar with the OC Fair and Event Center…
It’s an outdoor and indoor venue, so they had cars that were inside and outside as well and there were over 2,000 vehicles that were on display.
Range Of Cars At The Classic Auto Show
Professor: Yeah. I think that includes some of the specialty cars on display.
Tom: People in the parking lot? [Laughs]
Professor: Well, also, there were car clubs that were represented at the event as well.
“They’ve got one on the Western side of the U.S. and they have one and you could say, I guess, Midwest.”
Tom: Okay. Obviously, we’re talking about older cars, but was there a particular genre, a particular niche of classic autos that were here or what was there?
Professor: There was a wide range of classic cars. There were, in fact, Japanese classic cars as well.
Tom: Okay. Another one that we covered, the Japanese Classic Car Show.
Professor: Yeah. Remember the Mazda RX3 that you saw?
Well, you saw a photo of it at the Local Car Fest in Corona and also at the Peterson Automotive Museum, which was there. Muscle cars.
OMG! Did You See Who’s Here?
Tom: See what I mean about the Professor? He’s like, “Oh, yeah, that particular car, I saw it at this show, I saw it at this show, I saw it at this show.”
It’s kind of like your friend—everybody has one of these friends—I actually have a bunch of them.
The friends that notice all of the—not superstars, obviously everybody recognizes the superstars running around LA and Southern California, but all of the smaller kind of bit part actors.
I had a buddy that moved to Texas and he would pick people out.
Like we’d be sitting at Baja Fresh and he’d be like, “Oh, you see that girl over there? Yeah, she did…” I’m like, “Dude, I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Sorry, I digress.
Back to the cars that were at the Classic Auto Show that this year took place at the OC Fairgrounds?
Classic Auto Show @ the OC Fair and Event Center
Professor: OC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa.
Tom: Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa, okay.
2,000 cars and obviously you were touching base on some of the classic Japanese cars.
Did we have muscle there? Did we have antiques, yeah?
Professor: Yeah. There are muscle cars, there’s hotrods, antiques, classics, a wide range of vehicles.
Tom: Okay. Who’s putting this show on?
Professor: I don’t know the name of the producer, but they also do an event in Chicago in September.
They’ve got one on the Western side of the U.S. and they have one and you could say, I guess, Midwest.
Tom: We had this show on iDriveSoCal’s events calendar.
Tom: I don’t recall if there was—
Professor: It’s a two-day event. Saturday and Sunday.
“…Something going on every Saturday, every Sunday, of the year, somewhere in Southern California, hands down, no problem.”
Tom: Is there a fee?
Professor: Yes, there is a fee. I believe it was around $20.
The Benefits of Reporting for iDriveSoCal
Tom: Okay. And did you pay that $20 or did you say, I’m iDriveSoCal, I’m going to be doing a story on this?
Professor: Well, I got the media credentials.
Tom: You got media credentials?
Tom: Thanks to iDriveSoCal.
Professor: Yes, thanks to iDriveSoCal.
Tom: All right, perfect.
Professor: Instead of waiting in that long line, I just went to the very front of the line and they let me in.
Tom: Like Mike Meyers in Wayne’s World going through with your backstage pass?
Tom: Excellent, excellent. We’ll have to make sure that we share this with the Classic Auto Show folks.
What were the highlights?
Classic Cars of Every Flavor At The Classic Auto Show
There was a little bit of everything there, it sounded like, and obviously a paid show, so there’s a little bit of commercial business aspect of it.
This isn’t a Cars and Coffee kind of thing where it’s all just enthusiasts getting together and admiring each other’s cars…
What were some common threads, highlights of the areas of the show?
Professor: Well, some of the highlights would definitely be—it was the 100th anniversary of Citroën, which is a French car company, so they had a number of their vehicles there.
Those were vehicles you also saw at the Best of France and Italy.
Tom: Let me get something right.
You went to this show and basically saw a bunch of cars that you’ve seen at other shows?
Professor: Well, normally that’s what happens when you go to a car show. [Laughs]
The SoCal Car Show Community
Tom: [Laughs] Do you know a lot of people at these shows when you walk in? Are they like, “Hey! Professor, what’s happening?”
Professor: Sometimes I do run into people that they’ve seen me at other cars—
Professor: Yeah. [Laughs]
Tom: All right, sorry, I cut you off. The highlights.
Professor: Yeah, so that was definitely one of my highlights.
Tom: 100 years? Hey, that’s big, right?
Professor: Yeah. That was a big one. There was quite a collection of classic Mini Coopers there are well.
Professor: Yes, that was really, really cool. I’m a big fan of Japanese classics. I think I mentioned that earlier.
“There was quite a collection of classic Mini Coopers there are well.”
Professor: They had the first generation NSX there, so that was really cool.
Professor: They had a Mazda RX7 as well. Oh, the Alfa Romeo Club was there as well.
Tom: There’s a club? I didn’t know.
Professor: Yeah, there’s an Alfa Romeo Club, Southern California Club.
The Club, their vehicles were part—it was parked outside and there was quite a collection of classic Alfa Romeos as well.
Professor: That was another highlight for me.
“…there was quite a collection of classic Alfa Romeos as well.”
Tom: What else about the Classic Auto Show down there at the OC—what is it? Expo and Fairgrounds?
Professor: OC Fair and Event Center.
Green Cars in Honor of St. Patty’s Day
Tom: I’m getting it. I’m going to get it wrong three more times before we wrap this up.
Professor: What was cool was this was also the same weekend as St. Patrick’s Day, so they had a collection of—
Tom: Green beer?
Professor: No, green cars!
Tom: Oh, of course! [Laughs]
Professor: [Laughs] Green beer? We’re talking about cars, aren’t we?
Tom: [Laughs] I don’t know. You know what? My son got me up at about 4:30 this morning. We’re recording in the afternoon and got the afternoon coffee going. I don’t know, I just thought green beer for some reason. Green cars, of course.
“…it was great that they had that St. Patrick’s Day theme as well.”
Professor: Yeah, it was great that they had that St. Patrick’s Day theme as well.
Professor: And as soon as you walk in through the main entrance on the right-hand side, outside you see this whole collection of—
Tom: Corn beef and cabbage.
Professor: Green automobiles.
Tom: Green cars. Green cars, got it. Okay.
Professor: Green classic automobiles.
Tom: But no green beer and no corn beef and cabbage?
Professor: There could’ve been, I don’t know. I wasn’t looking for that.
Tom: Okay. All right. Anything else? Classic Auto Show 2019? Year three, huh?
Professor: This is the third year.
Tom: How did you hear about it for the first time?
Professor: The first time? I don’t remember. Probably from—
Tom: It was only two years ago.
Professor: From attending some other automotive events or probably on the website or Facebook or Instagram.
Classic Auto Show-cases Car Shows of SoCal
Tom: It’s just interesting because we’re in Southern California…
And, as we were just illustrating earlier in this podcast, that you can hit an auto show any weekend and yet here is what seems to be quite a successful auto show that pretty new by Southern California standards.
Professor: Oh, it’s a very new show, absolutely.
Tom: There’s room for big shows to come in and stick their proverbial flag in the—
Professor: There are always new shows coming up.
Tom: Maybe we should do an iDriveSoCal Show.
Adam Carolla Played Grand Marshal
Professor: Maybe. And Adam Carolla was the grand marshal for the event.
Tom: Of course!
Professor: He’s a big car guy.
Tom: Big car guy.
Professor: As any auto enthusiast would probably know.
Tom: Yep. Especially here in Southern California. All right, well, cool! Anything else before we wrap this one up on the Classic Auto Show there at the OC Expo and—
Professor: Well, I would anticipate the show for next year should take place around the same time in March.
I believe in previous years it was the first weekend in March. This year it was mid-March, so I anticipate around the same time for next year.
Tom: You think they’ll bring it back up to LA and kind of bounce back and forth between LA and OC or you think they’re happy in their home down there? Who knows?
“…in previous years it was the first weekend in March. This year it was mid-March, so I anticipate around the same time for next year.”
Professor: That’s a good question.
Tom: I think it’s a who knows.
Professor: I think it seemed pretty successful in its new location.
Tom: It’s a little bit easier to get to that kind of thing in OC, you know? Especially for 2,000 cars.
Professor: Well, it’s nice that they have cars displayed both inside and out.
Classic Auto Show And SoCal, The Automotive Capital of the World
Professor: Which I really liked.
Tom: Yeah, all right. Professor Quan, thank you, as always, for expert analysis on yet another fantastic automotive event here in Southern California.
We’ll just call that another reason why Southern California is the automotive capital of both the United States and the world.
Actually, I Googled it recently and if you Google “Car Capital of the World,” I think iDriveSoCal, one of our categories, comes up.
Professor: Oh, that’s great.
Tom: Kind of cool, yeah. Cool.
Professor: That is cool.
Tom: All right, Professor, thanks again. Thank you all for listening, as always. For iDriveSoCal, I am Tom Smith. We’ll talk to you soon.