75 sets of vintage wheels draw crowd to OASIS Cars & Coffee show in Corona del Mar
Light rain didn’t deter some 300 attendees of the fifth annual OASIS Cars & Coffee car show held Saturday morning at OASIS Senior Center in Corona del Mar.
“Every year [the car show] has been growing and this year we had, approximately 75 entries,” said Friends of Oasis President Mike Zimmerman, who organized the event. “It’s always free as we do our best to serve the community, plus it’s fun to hang out with car people.”
In addition to being open to the general public, the Friends of OASIS car show does not charge entry fees to participants, many of whom are local to the area and show up with a variety of classic cars and motorcycles.
Among the 10 trophies given Saturday was Best Motorcycle, to a 1965 Panhead Harley Davidson chopper owned by Brian Wilson of Newport Beach. In Zimmerman’s description, he added the Peter Fonda-like vintage chopper didn’t have shock absorbers or suspension and was “not made to ride but made to look cool.”
Claiming Best of Show honors was a 1968 British Racing Green Jag E type, owned by Tim Roberts. “I was moving up in English E-types, my favorite car,” said Roberts. “I always wanted one so I swapped my 57 Healy, plus a little extra cash, a great thing.”
Denise Oglesby, who won the Best Of Show Imports with her 3.0 BMW, said that she was daily driver of the car and was out and about regularly. “I call her ‘Little Blue,” and its my girl,” said Oglesby.
Balboa Island resident Ted Leventhal, who won Best in Show two years ago, proudly described his 1951 fully customized Chevrolet convertible as he continually wiped the rain from the highly polished classic.
“It has custom-made wheels, the whole front end is custom, floating grill, recess headlights, power steering, air conditioning and air lifts that lower the car,” Leventhal said.
Newport Beach resident Robert Dryden said he drives his 1936 Rolls Royce, which is not just for show. “I brought it over from England in 1994,” Dryden said. “I’ve participated in all the shows, which are a lot of fun, but there are so few of these shows, but this is the biggest turnout with 75.”
Mark Arblaster received the Friends of OASIS award for his 1963 Austin Mini Cooper.
When Zimmerman asked Arblaster how he ended up with a Mini Cooper that was a notch above a go-kart, he said, “It’s a go-kart, kids love it, women love it, except my wife — she thinks it’s a death trap.”
Zimmerman closed the award presentation with a touching tribute to Kevin Spangler. who drove from Menifee in his 1957 Chevy Nomad. The one-owner car has been in the family since 1958, when his dad bought it from Selman Chevrolet in Orange for $2,495.
It wasn’t just the car that drew attention but the fact that he stopped along the way to pick up Marilyn Conrath, his fifth-grade teacher from his days at Harbor View Elementary School in Corona del Mar more than 50 years ago.
“He brought his fifth-grade teacher as a ‘booth bunny,’ Zimmerman told the crowd. “Marilyn Conrath was his favorite teacher and he has stayed in touch with her.
“Oh, it was so nice of you to bring her,” Zimmerman said to Spangler.
“She brought me. She likes cars and she likes the people,” Spangler replied.
“Next year, I’m wearing my polka-dot bikini,” Conrath quipped.
2:26 p.m. Sept. 24, 2023: The original version of this story had show participant Ted Leventhal’s last name misspelled.
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