Once a year, the Orange Plaza Car show is held in the quaint Orange County city of Orange. The streets of the Orange Plaza are filled to its edges with pristine classic cars, hot-rods and rat-rods, lowriders and Impalas and American Muscle Cars are just some of the wide variety of 20th century classics on display at the show.
The show, held on Sunday, April 9, was hosted by the Orange Plaza Rotary Club and proceeds from the different class competitions at the show go to funding for community programs and literacy and education programs for youth and adults.
It was the twenty-third year that the Orange Plaza Rotary Club put on the event. Each year thousands of spectators and car enthusiasts come to check out the coolest rides in O.C.
“I like it because it’s quaint, it’s small. I like the old town atmosphere. My wife is from Orange. We’ve been coming for many years, ” said Ed Leon from Corona, who is the owner of a slick grey ’64 Chevy Impala.
When asked if he knew proceeds went back to the community his wife said, “I didn’t and I’ve been coming here for years, so I’m happy it goes back to the community. I went to Jr. High and High School here.”
“This is my favorite car show,” said Alice King from Anaheim, the owner of a light pink 1957 OldsMobile. “I like old town Orange. This area is very special.”
When asked what class she was, she said, “Unfortunately, I’m always with the tri-50’s, that’s the ’55,’56, and 57 Chevy’s. I cannot beat a 1957 Chevy.” Her and her son restored the car to the same specifications as when it came off the factory line in South Gate in 1957. “This was my moms car. It was passed down to me… It didn’t cost me anything.”
Sometimes the stories behind each car are as compelling as the cars themselves. Greg Vaughn from Tustin explained how his 1939 Plymouth Woody Wagon (pictured right) was originally owned by his french artist grandfather and was once kept in France before the start of WWII.
“Its a family heirloom. My grandfather was artist in the south of France and wanted a station wagon to transport his students. So he went to New York and bought this car brand new and had it shipped back to France where they had it for a little while before World War II broke out and they waited til the last minute to flee the country and threw what they could in the car,” Vaughn said.
“My grandfather actually forged diplomatic papers to have it shipped back.”
First moving to Woodstock, New York, and then eventually driving across the country to an artist community in Laguna Beach in 1941, his grandfathers’ car has been a part of the family ever since. The 1939 Woody Wagons’ chassis is made completely of wood. “It was 70 years old when we started and my father said ‘lets make it last another 70 years’… You got the metal frame and fenders and the hood but the whole chassis is all wood,” Vaughn said.
For some it was their first time attending the actual event. Doc Kirby from Mission Viejo, the owner of a pretty, red 1955 Ford Country Sedan, explained, “This is the first year I’ve attended. Its been very nice. lots of people, lots of pretty cars to look at. Its been very enjoyable for my first time.”
Once the show ended and the awards were announced, old engines fired and mufflers popped as the long line of cars began to make their exit from the traffic circle.
Every year the show brings out the best of the Orange Plaza, just like the Orange International street fair, coming up in September. For more information about upcoming events, visit their website.