The cars are the stars

If you name a classic muscle car, Tim Miller will tell you he probably owns it. And if you ask him if you could look at it, he'll most likely say yes.

The owner of Surf City Garage opened the shop's doors to the public Sunday for its fifth annual car show, hosted by the Orange County Mustang Club.

"We do three or four car shows a year," said club President Frank Morales. "We do one in Brea, where about 15,000 come out to that event. This is our third year [at Surf City Garage] and it's growing every year."

He said proceeds from the car show registrations will go toward spinal muscular atrophy charities and to the City of Hope National Medical Center.

"I believe in giving back to the community the best way that we can," Morales said. "It's wonderful that we have our cars that we have here and use that to generate funds to give back to the charities that we support."

More than 200 cars were showcased from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the garage at 5872 Engineer Drive in Huntington Beach. About 50 of those belonged to Miller.

Besides the car show, live music and raffle drawings, Miller gave tours of his automotive garage.

"For many years, it was just something for us," he said about his collection. "Then when we started Surf City Garage, we allowed editors and people to come in here and photograph and share it with other people around the world."

Miller, who owns Miller Construction in Huntington Beach, started Surf City Garage in 2007 — an automotive products company specializing in cleaners and wax — after being unsatisfied with the products available in the market.

Owning more than 100 classic muscle cars, rare automotive signs and memorabilia, Miller said it would be selfish for only him to enjoy his collection.

Setting foot into his lounge area is like going back to the 1960s. One side of the room has vintage fuel pumps and a display case of oil tins and other automotive trinkets from the era. But the attention-grabbers are four Ford Mustangs, including a pair of 1970 Boss 302s.

In the next room, rows of Pontiac GTOs and other vehicles on and below car lifts fill the space, and overhead hang hundreds of 1960s-era signs from Coca-Cola, Chevron and Gulf. Multiple rare neon signs of the now-defunct Pontiac glow brightly.

"If you think a Boss 302 with an original motor is rare, I've got seriously rare porcelain and neon signs," he said. "So sign people come here to look at that and couldn't care less about the Shelby [Mustang], but then you get car people that aren't too into signs. And then you have both. It brings a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people."

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