Car show helps drive business in Montrose

The occasional sound of roaring engines stirred passersby as they browsed the more than 200 cars on display for the Independence Block Party Hot Rod and Classic Car Show held Sunday at the Montrose Shopping Park.

The eighth annual event was the largest in the Montrose Shopping Park Assn.’s history and combined with the Harvest Market to create a four-block stretch of festivities for visitors from around the area, said City Councilman John Drayman, former president of the association and one of the event’s founders.

The show drew car enthusiasts and casual visitors alike to admire the vehicles, some originals from as far back as the 1920s and others modified hot rods.

The association had previously held two car shows, one for hot rods in the summer and another in September for classic cars, but this year decided to combine the events to ease organization and create a bigger community attraction, organizer Don Tubbs said.

“We’ve been waiting all year to try this out,” Drayman said.

He expected the event to draw more than the estimated 16,000 visitors it brought to the area in 2008 and hoped the additional food traffic would give local businesses additional exposure during a recession that has plagued stores with slow sales.

“Every event we do is extremely important,” Drayman said. “Business is tough, but our locals are willing to turn out, and they are here today.”

The association spends $6,000 on promotions, organization and breakfast for participating car owners, but the return for businesses was clearly visible as hundreds had the opportunity to walk down the street and stop at stores, he said.

“Business in the stores has been strong today,” he said, adding that he had heard positive news from store owners he had surveyed.

From box-shaped 1920s Model Ts to the curvy classics of the 1950s and muscle cars of the 1960s, the extensive collection of cars on display was impressive, visitors said.

“I appreciate all the hard work these people put into these cars,” said San Francisco resident David Snell, who had come to the show while visiting friends for the holiday weekend.

La Crescenta resident Kim Matterstig, who had stopped to admire a 1941 Willys Coupe with a yellow and orange paint job, said the Montrose car show had a unique feel.

“It’s old-town Montrose,” she said.

Others agreed that the quaint stretch of shops lent itself well to a car exhibition.

“I like it because it’s a hometown car show,” said Al Magee, the owner of a 1931 Model A Ford that was getting extra attention from onlookers because of a kitchenette accessory that had been added on to the back of the car.

The add-on, which included compartments for ice, food, silverware and a fold-out table, was representative of a different time and culture related to automobiles — one that struck most who stopped to look at the car, Magee said.

“There was no McDonald’s in those days,” he said. “You had to take everything with you.”

Montrose resident Steve Kritzler was also taking note of unique car details and pointing them out to his father, whom he was pushing through the exhibit in a wheelchair.

“You’re eight years older than this car,” Kritzler told his father, Ed Kritzler, of a black 1926 Model T Coupe, which won the first-place trophy at the show.


 ZAIN SHAUK covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at zain.shauk@latimes.com.

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