By Robert Bernstein
I had heard of the Montecito Motor Classic Car Show for years, but figured it was out of my price range. It turns out it is totally free to spectators! The people showing their cars are the ones who pay! They pay $150 to show a car, but that may be just a small part of their expense. Some came from far away and had to bring their vehicles in on a trailer. These people have a passion for their cars and are happy to share them with the public.
Here are my photos of this recent event at the Santa Barbara Polo and Racquet Club.
So many cars and photos it is hard to choose a few to showcase. Be sure to check out all those photos that I can’t share here. My wife and I quickly went to this Munsters Koach used in the 1960s TV show “The Munsters”.I remember watching the show as a child when it first aired. We never owned a color TV growing up, so it was a treat to see it in living color now. As explained in the sign in the photo, the original was built in 1964 out of three 1927 Model T cars. It was meant to have the look and feel of a hearse. It was built by George Barris who made just one extra copy. This is it.
Most of the cars on display were production vehicles. Like this Rolls Royce woody.
Complete with tailgate feast.
This vehicle was definitely not a production model and was a highlight of the show. It is a race car built on an original fire engine chassis and patched together from many sources.
Its creator Gary L Wales was happy to talk about it at length. He calls it “La Bestioni”. It is a tribute to the Fiat model S76 “Beast of Turin” built in 1910. It was driven by American driver Arthur Duray in a December 1913 land speed record attempt at Ostende, Belgium. It was granted unofficial status as the world’s fastest car. The original had a massive 28 liter engine with just four cylindars! His tribute car is a mere 14 liters spread out over six cylinders.
This photo shows Gary Wales posing with his friend in the driver seat. You can see a bit of the engine and the wooden spoke wheels.
These photos show the process of creating this beast.This is a 1926 Bugatti Type 38. The owner (in the plaid shirt) explained that it was a luxury vehicle which makes it of more complex ancestry. He said such vehicles were sold as a chassis with engine and drive chain. It was then up to the buyer to contract with a “coach builder” to custom build the body for it. There would be many options available. I was impressed that it didn’t have wire spoke wheels at that time. He said it actually does have wire spoke wheels. But since that was what was normal, the original owner put those futuristic wheel covers on to hide the spokes!Next to that was this 1928 Chandler. Back then there were many car companies and most were either bought up by big companies or went out of business. Chandler went out of business in 1929.Cars of that era were pretty sparse on instrumentation and controls as you can see in this interior photo.This gentleman had driven all the way down from Morgan Hill in the Bay Area to show off his Ford Model A hot rod. He was very pleased that this show let him in. He said that most classic car shows don’t allow hot rods. I think this is my favorite photo of the show! I mentioned that when I lived in the Bay Area I had hiked at Henry Coe State Park with the Sierra Club. He was delighted to hear that; he said that is his view from his house.This gentleman Dana Newquist is one of the founders and leaders of the Montecito Motor Classic show. Here he is proudly showing his Buick. Another magnificent production car.And here is his Ford fire engine!In addition to the cars, there was also an exhibit of military vehicles and a UH-1C “Huey” helicopter from the US war in Vietnam. My wife wanted to pose in the helicopter.This gentleman had obviously worked hard to organize this section of the show to keep alive the memory of those Americans who served in Vietnam.I asked him what he thought of the war. I can’t exactly print what he said. But he went on to explain that he felt that the Americans fighting were not allowed to win. He said that the fighters on the other side could flee into neighboring countries and the Americans were not allowed to follow. He also said that the fighters on the other side would use a school or hospital as a shield and they were not allowed to shoot there.
I asked how it should have been different. He admitted that they should not have been allowed to shoot into schools or hospitals. I asked if he thought the American soldiers in Afghanistan were prevented from winning. He agreed that they were not restrained that way. And he agreed that the result was just the same as in Vietnam.
I suggested that maybe the lesson was that the soldiers did the best they could, but maybe the mission never made any sense? That maybe we shouldn’t have been there? I then thanked him for sharing his perspective.