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On the Town: Car Classic drives thousands to downtown Burbank

It’s not every day you can get an up-close look at a 1931 Ford Model A, a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible, a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray coupe, a hot-off-the-assembly-line 2017 Tesla, and four vehicles from the 2017 movie “The Fate of the Furious” all in a matter of a three-block walk.

But, thanks to the Downtown Burbank Partnership and the city’s Community Development Department, that is just what thousands of residents and visitors got to do as they perused more than 150 classic vehicles at the sixth annual Downtown Burbank Car Classic this past Saturday.

Chaired by Don Baldaseroni of the Road Kings of Burbank, the event was also made possible by Robin Faulk, downtown marketing consultant, Mary Hamzoian, economic development manager, and economic development analysts Marissa Minor and Susie Avetisyan.

Along with autos owned by Road Kings members and local individuals, the cavalcade of cars on display included vehicles from the Petersen Automotive Museum, the Television Motion Picture Car Club, Vehicle Effects, Hollywood Hot Rods and Unique Twist.


Among those that were clear crowd-pleasers were a 1946 Ford convertible that had been customized by the late George Barris and used as a picture car in the 1978 film “Grease,” a 1999 Mach 5 prototype from the 2008 movie “Speed Racer,” and Dom’s blue Subaru BRZ, the Ice Charger, GTX, and the Letty 66 Corvette that appear in this year’s “The Fate of the Furious.”

Included in the day of autos was also a presentation of accolades.

Each year, this event names a Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, and the 2017 honors were split between two Burbankers who have achieved legendary status in the world of NHRA drag racing: Jim Miles and Bob Muravez.

Miles is best-known for piloting a 1948 blown Fiat Topolino at the Lion’s Drag Strip, a raceway adjacent to Long Beach that existed from 1955 to 1972, while Muravez, who began his career using the pseudonym “Floyd Lippencott Jr., was the driver of the top Gas dragster in the nation, a twin engine Chevrolet called the Freight Train.


The event also paid tribute to all members of the Road Kings, which is celebrating its 65th anniversary.

Along with being lovers of classic cars, as a group, the organization’s members have a long history of embracing the Burbank community and have raised and presented more than $500,000 to local charities.

Among the local notables who were spotted enjoying the day during a late afternoon stroll down San Fernando Boulevard were Burbank Mayor Will Rogers, Parks Commissioner Mickey DePalo, Road Kings President Ben Curtis, renowned photographer and writer Doug Dobransky, who authored the touching and poignant book “Autumn Sister” (Mill City Press, Inc., 2007) that chronicled his sister’s battle with cancer, and actress Shay Aljadeff, who is best known for her role as Dr. Leah Bardovi on NBC’s “Chicago Med.”

DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at or (818) 563-1007.