Tag

San Marino Motor Classic

Browsing
Photos by Mitch Lehman – Though sidelined last year by the pandemic, the event returned with a fury and displayed the most cars in its history.

After a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the San Marino Motor Classic came roaring back last weekend, luring what appeared to be thousands of visitors to the automobile exhibition at Lacy Park.
The 10th edition of the fast-growing event featuring collector cars in mint condition was buoyed by excellent weather and the fact that a year’s absence may have, indeed, made the heart grow fonder.

Photo courtesy San Marino Motor Classic A Mercedes-Benz spreads its wings — or, rather, its gull-wing doors — at Lacy Park.

The San Marino Motor Classic will be celebrating its 10th anniversary at Lacy Park on Aug. 21-22.
“As the premier concours-level exhibition in Southern California, this year’s event will present more cars than ever before,” an event spokesperson said. “Sponsors have been quite generous and tickets to the Symphony of Cars gala benefit event Saturday evening are sold out. Bring your family and join us for a spectacular Sunday outdoors at Lacy Park.”
The Motor Classic will have more than 400 mint-condition collector cars on display throughout the day. The awards ceremony will begin at 1:30 p.m.

Some of David Lee’s Ferraris.

It’s difficult to gauge the success of an event that is as ambitious in scope as the San Marino Motor Classic, but two words summed up the opinion of Aaron Weiss, who was in on the ground floor of the event that last Sunday celebrated its ninth iteration.

“I’m stoked,” said Weiss, a longtime San Marino resident who a decade ago decided to bring a “car show,” for lack of more sophisticated terminology, to Lacy Park after a similar enterprise held near the Rose Bowl ceased operations.

San Marino Motor Classic founder Aaron Weiss.

An audience estimated to approach 4th of July standards descended on Lacy Park this past Sunday to see the approximately 470 cars on display (over a hundred more than a year ago) while visiting 40 vendor booths. On Saturday night, 425 attended a gala in the park to kick off the 9th annual event, eclipsing another record. But Weiss is wary of getting bogged down in the numbers.

“The attendance, the number of cars on display…all that is good, but what is more important is that we will again generate a lot of money for our worthwhile charities,” Weiss said. “Also, people from across the country are bringing their cars to our show, and that says a lot about how relevant we are becoming. This year’s event exceeded all of our expectations.”

The San Marino Motor Classic has doled our over $1.9 million in its first eight years of existence with an even larger cut expected to benefit the three charities this year, with the Pasadena Humane Society, Cancer Support Community Pasadena and San Marino Rotary Charities scheduled to receive assistance.

“That is really what is important to us,” said Weiss, himself a car collector.

Joe Conzonire’s award-winning 1910 Thomas Flier.

This year’s event received a boon when the Ferrari Club of America Southwest Region asked to fold its free car show—entitled Concorso Ferrari—into the San Marino Motor Classic, bringing more than 100 more vehicles to Lacy Park.

“I think that made a huge impact on our show,” Weiss said.

Another San Marino resident also made a “huge impact” at the event, as the Best In Show: Pre-War to 1942 award went to Joe and Janice Conzonire for their Thomas Flyer Model M 6-40 Touring.

One of the unique attractiions at the 2019 San Marino Motor Classic was an exhibition of cars that once were used by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses. Photo courtesy of the San Marino Motor Classic

Another notable vehicle that made a splash was a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost – Riviera Town Car owned by Richard Atwell, that claimed first place in the European Open (Full Classics Only) division. The car was featured in the 1954 movie “Sabrina,” which starred Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden. The Silver Ghost also received the historical vehicle award and will be registered in the United States Library of Congress.

The show also featured five Ford Probe concept cars, a 1906 Model T and comedian Jay leno, who made what seems to be his annual trek to Lacy Park, where he graciously posed for pictures with attendees.

Weiss thanked his all-volunteer staff for their yeoman effort on what turned out to be an unseasonable hot day (at least for this recent season) before making sure everyone has next year’s event already on the calendar.

“June 14, 2020,” said Weiss, who will undoubtedly make the tenth edition the best.

 

ANOTHER SUCCESS: The 2018 San Marino Motor Classic outdid last year’s event in attendance and revenue. LEFT, co-founder Aaron Weiss is interviewed by a local television station. MIDDLE: A collection of cars once raced by Paul Newman was an extremely popular arrtaction and, RIGHT, Adam Carrola, who owns the Newman cars, showed up for Sunday’s event. Mitch Lehman Photos

“It surpassed our wildest expectations,” said Aaron Weiss, a San Marino resident and one of the founders of the show. “This put us on the map as being more than just a regional car event. We are now getting national exposure.”

It is also exceeding its primary stated goal, which is to raise money for charities. Former Mayor Dennis Kneier, who serves as treasurer of the Motor Classic, reported that sponsorships were up by approximately ten percent over last year’s event, which eventually gave more than $230,000 to charities—a number which will no doubt jump this year. Kneier said that sponsorships had also increased.

“I never thought we would get more sponsors, but obviously I was wrong,” Kneier said. “Sponsorships are merely people giving money to make sure this thing is a success.”

It would be difficult to the 2018 San Marino Motor Classic as anything other than a success. Though official figures are difficult to compile, Weiss estimated that approximately 10,000 visitors entered Lacy Park on Sunday to either view, work or in come other way participate in the event. Ticket sales showed a 20% increase over last year and more than 1,000 ducats were purchased at the door.

“It was a strong crowd,” Kneier added. “You didn’t get uncomfortable, but you certainly felt like there were a lot of people there all day long. You also got a feeling that this was certainly a place where you want to be.”

A Saturday evening gala, also held in the park, sold out, with 450 guests enjoying dinner and a performance by the USC Marching Band under the twilight.

The weather also cooperated for both events as Saturday evening wasn’t too cool and Sunday never got too hot.

Another draw was the initial display of ten cars that were raced by actor Paul Newman. Arranged in the center of Lacy Park, the Newman collection was probably the most popular attraction of the event.

Owned by television and podcast host Adam Carolla, the Newman race cars were entered in a special class entitled, “Adam Carolla’s Paul Newman Collection” and included a variety of Newman’s Datsun and Nissan race cars, including the famous Porsche 935 that Newman drove in the 1979 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Carolla made an appearance at the Motor Classic and was interviewed over the parks’ public address system, where he professed his admiration for Newman, but groaned that he woke up Sunday “in Portland, at five o’clock in the morning.” The good-natured comedian gleefully interacted with car enthusiasts during his visit.

The San Marino Motor Classic has become such a must-see social event that it’s easy to forget that there is an actual competition involved. Best In Show-Pre War went to John Groendyke for his 1930 Cadillac V16. George Alspaugh took home Best In Show-Post War with his 1947. A full accounting of honors and awards is available on sanmarinomotorclassic.com.

Weiss was ecstatic with the efficiency of this year’s event and also its national exposure.

“Of the 19 cars that were displayed at Saturday night’s gala, many were brought in from out of state,” Weiss told The Tribune. “The Best In Show was an out-of-state exhibitor and we also had cars from Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Washington, Texas, Oregon and Arizona.  That is a big measure of a show. These people are not going to ship their cars across the country for nothing. Just for them to be there is a big deal.”

An even bigger deal is the $1.6 million the show has produced for charities in its forst seven years. Last year, the San Marino Motor Classic doled out over $230,000, including $100,00 to the Pasadena Humane Society, $100,000 to San Marino Rotary Charities and $50,000 to the USC Trojan Marching Band. Disbursements from the 2018 event will be finalized at a later date.

Weiss thanked his all-volunteer staff for their effort and dedication before signing off with what has become his watchword.

“June 9, 2019,” he said with a chuckle, making sure everyone has next year’s event already on the calendar.

 

More than 10,000 car enthusiasts, exhibitors and looky loos descended on Lacy Park on Sunday, June 11 to take in the burgeoning San Marino Motor Classic, which right before the community’s eyes took a giant step in both participation and reputation at the 7th annual version.

“It was over the top,” said San Marino resident Aaron Weiss, who along with Paul Colony and Ben Reiling founded the charitable event. “It was a perfect storm. There were more cars, more people. Every category was better and everything seemed to run very smoothly.”

And then, out of nowhere, “Next year’s show will be on June 10.”

One can’t blame Weiss for his optimism because anything that brings so many people together while raising such a substantial stake for charities should be duly noted.

WINNER, WINNER: This 1938 Delahaye Model 135 Roadster by Chapron received the ‘Best of Show Pre-War’ award from judges at the 2017 San Marino Motor Classic, which was held this past Sunday. Richard George Photo

Though the final numbers were not available at press time, Weiss expected the event to at least match last year’s $300,000 donation to charities which include the Pasadena Humane Society, San Marino Rotary Charities and the Trojan Marching Band. To date, the San Marino Motor Classic has raised $1.6 million for charities and will approach if not pass the $2 million mark when the final tally is recorded.

It was estimated that 7,000 attended last year’s show and anyone’s eye test would put this year’s crowd substantially above that number.

“I feel like we got better participation by the community,” Weiss told The Tribune. “We reached out further with our exhibitors and spectators and attracted a much larger group – which is good. Everybody seems to be happy and it went off without any problems.”

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE SYMPHONY OF CARS

Weiss said he is looking to build in quality, not necessarily quantity.

“That’s the objective,” he said. “We have grown from a sleepy little local show to a fairly significant regional show. I spoke with many national collectors who said they would be back. I feel we are building momentum. We can only do better.”

On the field of play, a 1938 Delahaye Model 135 Roadster by Chapron received the ‘Best of Show Pre-War’ and an ultra-rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Alloy Body won ‘Best of Show Post-War’ from the panel of judges.

More than 100 vehicles earned class honors and other special recognition awards at the event, which also included a new category for Japanese manufacturers.

A 1967 Mazda R360 microcar won that class, which also included classics from Toyota, Datsun, and Honda.

The event featured a wide range of collector cars from Brass and Nickel Era to American muscle, hot rods and everything in between. Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz were showcased alongside Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin and Rolls-Royce.

FOR MORE PHOTOS OF THE MOTOR CLASSIC

San Marino’s David SK Lee displayed eight cars, including a McLaren P1 GTR and 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Competizione, which was named the ‘Most Significant Ferrari’ at the show.

For a complete list of winners and for more information about the event, please visit www.SanMarinoMotorClassic.com.

More than 300 classic collector cars spanning more than a century will be on display Sunday, June 11 in Lacy Park as The San Marino Motor Classic presents its 7th exhibition ‘Design in Motion.’ Gates open at 9 a.m.

Since its inception in 2010, the concours-level car show has raised over $1.3 million for local charities. Proceeds from this year’s show will benefit the Pasadena Humane Society, the San Marino Rotary Foundation, and the University of Southern California Marching Band.

The 2017 event will feature a broad spectrum of collector cars from Brass and Nickel Era autos to American Muscle cars, Hot Rods, Italian exotics – and everything in-between.

A pre-event evening gala, “A Symphony of Cars: Vintage Automobiles and their Music,” will be held on Saturday, June 10. Cars will glide down an elevated runway accompanied by music of their era performed by the renowned USC Trojan Marching Band.

On Sunday, the Automobile Driving Museum will also be giving rides around the perimeter of Lacy Park in various classic cars.

San Marino Motor Classic co-founder Aaron Weiss at last year’s ‘Symphony of Cars’ in Lacy Park.

“This show brings together art, history, and families,” said San Marino resident Aaron Weiss, event chairman and co-founder. “It’s an opportunity to see and hear some of world’s most beautiful and rare cars while supporting worthy causes.”

Top honors at the 2016 event went to a 1930 Rolls-Royce Towncar from the Nethercutt Collection and a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Coupe owned by Vin and Erika DiBona.

Car enthusiast and ABC 7’s Automotive Specialist, Dave Kunz, and racing royalty Ed Justice, Jr. return as emcees this year.

Advance tickets are available online for $25. Tickets the day of the event are $30. Children 12 and under are free. VIP Spectator tickets are also available for $125, which include a gourmet lunch, wine and beer. Tickets for Saturday’s gala are $250 per person and include general admission to the San Marino Motor Classic on Sunday. Vendors and gourmet food trucks will be onsite. Street parking will be available and a shuttle will be provided. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sanmarinomotorclassic.com.

The San Marino Motor Classic had its best year ever in 2016.

“This is the best year we’ve had in every category,” said Aaron Weiss, event co-founder, co-chair and San Marino resident. “We had more cars on the field, better cars and probably raised more money. Everything was more. We know that we have a big challenge to do better next year.”

An estimated 7,000 people attended the concours-level show on Sunday that had more than 300 classic and collector cars on display at Lacy Park.

“It was so crowded that you couldn’t drive a golf cart along the perimeter road,” Weiss said. “I don’t remember that many people here ever.”

Even retired “Tonight Show” host and car enthusiast Jay Leno showed up during the afternoon. He has been to the event several times in the past.

Weiss said he’s been getting many emails complimenting Sunday’s event.

“People feel it was the best show we’ve produced in six years, the best show in Southern California and maybe in the state with exception of Pebble Beach,” he said.

Weiss added that everything went very smoothly and was well-organized.

The 2016 title of “Best in Show – Pre-War” went to a 1930 Rolls-Royce Towncar owned by Jack and Helen Nethercutt, while “Best in Show – Post-War” was given to a 1956 Mercedes Benz 300Sc Coupe owned by Vin & Erika DiBona. See a full list of winners here.

Weiss said he was happy with the wide selection of cars.

“There was something for every automotive enthusiast there,” he said.

Dydia Delyser was invited by the San Marino Motor Classic organizers to display her 1991 Nissan Figaro. She and Paul Greenstein of Los Angeles own what Delyser calls a Czechoslovakian Batmobile—a 1941 Tatra T87—that they also brought.

“This is our first time at the show,” Delyser said.

Delyser and Greenstein were thrilled to have ridden in a Stanley Motor Carriage Co. steam-engine vehicle at the Motor Classic.

“That’s only happened to us twice in 30 years,” Delyser said. “That’s a very rare opportunity and really fun.”

“That alone was worth the price of admission,” Greenstein said.

Kyle Galloway of Pasadena attended the Motor Classic for the first time. His uncle Joey Galloway, also of Pasadena, was showing his 1965 Porsche Cabriolet.

“We thought it would be a good idea a week before Father’s Day—my son and I—to check out the other vehicles they have in the showcase,” Kyle Galloway said. “My son is so excited to see all of the different cars. He had a chance to sit in some of the vehicles that he likes. It’s a big event.”

Joey Galloway said it’s his second time showing a vehicle and fifth time attending the event, which he said gets bigger and bigger every year.

“I tell you what I really like is that it’s a lot of local representation as far as the cars,” he said. “I think that means a lot to the community, too.”

Phillip Phung and Thao Dinh were also first-time attendees of the San Marino Motor Classic and said they appreciated that fact they were able to bring their dog.

“I really like it a lot,” Phung said.

“There’s a lot of cool exotic cars,” Dinh said.

San Marino native Bob Green, now of Arcadia, has been to every San Marino Motor Classic.

“It’s a great collection of cars,” he said. “They’re very unique, special cars. Some of these you’d never see around. It’s not as large, as stuffy and as expensive as the big one in Pebble Beach, but they still have some high-level cars.”

Green added that he likes seeing many people he knows at the event.

Brookes Treidler of Pasadena and Larry Campbell of Los Alamitos were among the many car buffs at the event.

“We go to a lot of these concours events in the area,” Campbell said.

“This is one of the key events of the year,” Treidler said. “This is the perfect place to hold an event like this. It’s probably the best short of Pebble Beach.”

Miles Caldwell, 12, of San Marino has been to the Motor Classic three or four times before.

“I like to look at the cool cars and see all the engines run,” he said.

San Marino celebrity barber Jann of Sweden said he comes to the Motor Classic because he’s always been interested in cars. He used to own a 1939 Ford that he drove in the San Marino Fourth of July parade.

“For three years in a row, I had my antique silver saddles here at the car show,” Jann said, explaining that his 1920 horse saddles still related to transportation. He said it’s become too difficult to bring them to the Motor Classic.

The event emcees this year were ABC 7 automotive specialist Dave Kunz and automotive racing icon Ed Justice Jr.

SMMC proceeds will benefit Rotary Club of San Marino and Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA.

There was a pre-event gala on Saturday called “A Symphony of Cars: The USC Trojan Marching Band in Concert” when 10 cars spanning more than a century drove down the runway to tunes of the era in which they were built with music by the USC Marching Band. Gala proceeds will go toward the USC Trojan Marching Band.

More Photos:
San Marino Motor Classic
“A Symphony of Cars”

The 1950 Ferrari 150 that won Post-War Best in Show last year.
The 1950 Ferrari 150 that won Post-War Best in Show last year.

The Pasadena Humane Society, Rotary Club of San Marino and University of Southern California Marching Band are the three beneficiaries of this weekend’s San Marino Motor Classic at Lacy Park.

Aaron Weiss, a co-founder of the event, described himself and his fellow co-founders, Ben Reiling and Paul Colony, as three guys who put together a car show and decided to give back to the community.

Since the inaugural San Marino Motor Classic five years ago, the event has raised over $1 million. This year Weiss and fellow organizers plan to donate $100,000 to the Pasadena Humane Society, $75,000 to the Rotary Club of San Marino and $50,000 to the USC Marching Band.

“This is about being a fundraiser in which we use a car show to be a catalyst,” said Weiss, who anticipates around 6,000 to 7,000 attendees.

“This event brings in both people and their money from the outside and benefits the citizens of San Marino,” he added, noting that about 90 percent of attendees are not San Marino residents.

After paying off overhead costs, a majority of the funds raised go to one of the three beneficiaries or into an endowment fund. Weiss hopes that the fund, which has approximately $140,000, will eventually make the event less dependent on ticket sales. The entire event is made possible through the efforts of very committed volunteers.

According to Weiss, the San Marino Motor Classic raises more money than any other regional car show. The event has been so successful that it is often called “Pebble Beach South,” an homage to the world famous Concours D’Elegance that takes place every August in Monterey Bay.

The event’s resounding financial success enables it to have a meaningful philanthropic impact both locally and globally.

“The event means we can provide 70 percent more in support for things like teacher mini-grants, therapeutic swim programs, aid for the homeless, as well as, school uniforms, backpacks, supplies, shoes and dental care for children,” said San Marino Rotary Club President Michael Driebe, who noted that funds from the Motor Classic make up a large part of the club’s charitable distributions.

Weiss listed the soccer field at Stoneman and the playground at Lacy Park as visible examples of projects that were built in part by funds from the Motor Classic.

The event includes a $250 per person gala on Saturday, June 11 at 6:30 p.m. The Spirit of Troy will play a different song from each era of automobile represented at the gala, which is officially called “A Symphony of Cars: Vintage Automobiles and their Music.”

The main event on Sunday, June 12 – which will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – will feature over 320 vintage cars and 40 vendors. General admission is $25 for adults, if bought before the event, $30 at the gate and is free for children 12 and under.

“For about $100 [a family of two adults and two kids] can have a really great afternoon,” said Weiss.

The San Marino Tribune invites subscribers to join us for coffee and donuts at the San Marino Motor Classic in Lacy Park on Sunday, June 12 from 9-11 a.m.

Sixth Edition of Prestigious Event Comes to Lacy Park June 11 & 12

JUST CRUISIN’ THROUGH: This 1913 Mercedes Benz from the Nethercutt Collection was named Best In Show for Pre-War entries in the 2015 San Marino Motor Classic.
JUST CRUISIN’ THROUGH: This 1913 Mercedes Benz from the Nethercutt Collection was named Best In Show for Pre-War entries in the 2015 San Marino Motor Classic.

The San Marino Motor Classic has raised more than $1 million for local charities in its first five years, but that is just the beginning. Welcome to Lacy Park ‘Design In Motion,’ version 6 of the meteoric event that comes to town annually in early June.

More than 250 classic and collector cars, spanning more than a century, will be available for public view on Sunday, June 12 at Lacy Park. Gates open at 9 a.m.

The 2015 San Marino Motor Classic at Lacy Park was the most successful “concours” car event in Southern California, generating $280,000 for area charities while hosting over 270 concours-level collector vehicles and attracting more than 7,000 spectators.

The 2016 show features a comprehensive range of collector automobiles from Brass and Nickel Era cars to American Muscle cars, Hot Rods and everything inbetween. Staples such as Ferrari, Porsche and Mercedes-Benz will be showcased alongside Jaguar, Alfa Romeo and Rolls-Royce.

A pre-event evening gala, ‘A Symphony of Cars: The USC Trojan Marching Band in Concert,” will be held on Saturday, June 11.

Eight cars, spanning over a century, will glide down an elevated runway, accompanied by music of its representative era as performed by the USC Trojan Marching Band.

Since its inception in 2010, the concours-level car show has raised over $1 million for local charities. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA and the Rotary Club of San Marino. Gala proceeds will go to the USC Trojan Marching Band.

“The San Marino Motor Classic is more than just a car show,” says San Marino resident Aaron Weiss, event co-founder and co-chair. “It’s an opportunity to learn about automotive history while supporting worthy causes.”

Last year, Weiss was recognized by the Rotary Club of San Marino as an honorary Paul Harris Fellow, the most prestigious acknowledgement dished out to non-members.

Top marks at the 2015 event went to a 1913 Mercedes Benz from the Nethercutt Collection and a 1950 Ferrari 150 owned by Don Williams.

Car enthusiast and ABC 7’s Automotive Specialist Dave Kunz and “racing royalty” Ed Justice, Jr. return as emcees this year.

Tribune subscribers will receive special treats on the day of the event.

The San Marino Motor Classic has grown to such an apex that it is frequently referred to as “Pebble Beach South,” an homage to the world-famous Concours D’Elegance that takes place every August in Monterey Bay.

Weiss co-founded the event with Paul Colony and Ben Reiling, none of whom make a cent off the event, which will be next held on June 12, 2016. One local philanthropist is so solidly behind the idea he has personally guaranteed it will not lose money.

Weiss – an automobile enthusiast for all of his adult life – acquired his first collector car, a 1979 Rolls-Royce Camargue, in 1999. He has exhibited his cars at over 100 Concours and Club events throughout the United States, including the aforementioned Pebble Beach event.

Aaron is a member of Checkered Flag, a support group for the Petersen Automotive Museum, and is director of the Southern California region of the Classic Car of America as well as a member of its national board of directors.

Aaron and his wife, Valerie, have four sons and a daughter, all of whom graduated from San Marino High School. Aaron was active in Boy Scouts and Valerie was The Tribune’s 2009 “Citizen of the Year.”

Advance tickets are available online for $25. Tickets the day of the event are $30. Children 12 and under are free. VIP spectator tickets are also available for $125, which include a gourmet lunch, wine and beer. Gala tickets are $250 per person and include general admission to the San Marino Motor Classic. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.sanmarinomotorclassic.com.

Aaron Weiss’s Hobby Gave Rise to the Ultra-Successful San Marino Motor Classic.

By Mitch Lehman

A saying attributed to a famous actor that is currently making its way through social media claims we are never really ready for anything – that if we wait for ideal conditions, we will never act.

Aaron Weiss lived out that axiom five years ago when launching the San Marino Motor Classic at Lacy Park, and – if the success of that event is any indicator – the words attributed to Hugh Laurie are indeed gold.

“A year ago you were ready to tar and feather me,” Weiss said this past spring while receiving the prestigious Paul Harris Fellow Award from the Rotary Club of San Marino, the chief benefactor of the annual event. “This didn’t start out so well,” he added after the long, boisterous standing ovation eventually transitioned to rapt silence.

Since its inception, the event has raised more than $1 million, giving over $900,000 to charities. More than $500,000 has been donated to the Pasadena Humane Society alone. Approximately $140,000 has been placed in an endowment.

For the full story, see the print edition of the San Marino Tribune, or download the e-edition.