For the 18th consecutive year, the Orange Sunrise Rotary hosted the annual Orange Plaza Car Show, benefitting the YMCA of Orange. Mother Nature cooperated with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the mid-seventies.
The retro square of Old Town Orange, California--where Watson's Drug Store had a starring role in Tom Hank's 1996 cult classic That Thing You Do --is the perfect setting for a car show. This year's event showcased more than 400 pre-1975 street rods and custom and classic vehicles. The head count, according to event organizers, totaled more than 15,000 spectators, who came from all around Southern California to check out the cars and trucks on display.
As at many shows in the Southland, entrants were heavily weighted to Chevy cars and trucks. Tri-Fives and Chevelles seemed to be everywhere. Yet the Best of Show winner, shown on the first page of this feature, was Jon Kennedy's 1936 Ford Woody with a pair of vintage motorcycles in tow.
Among the cars that caught my eye was Jim Hetrick's Hemi-powered 1936 Willys sedan with switchable exhaust system. Of the dozen-plus station wagons, the most interesting were a pair of 1956 models, a custom two-toned blue/silver Chevy Nomad owned by Bob Ulloa and Ford's one-year-only two-door counterpart, a stock aqua Park Lane owned by Tony Temple.
When it came to picking out the car I wanted most to drive home, my choice was Ron Lindemann's 1965 GTO. What makes this GTO so special? From the A-pillar forward, the vehicle is all GTO--but aft of the A-pillar, it shows what a Pontiac version of Chevy's El Camino might have looked like. The car is actually for sale. Watch for it in an upcoming Not Found on eBay column here on AutomotiveTraveler.com.
As in years past, the 2012 Orange Plaza Car Show was a sellout. Watch the Orange Sunrise Rotary website for information on exhibiting at the 2013 show.
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