On July 25, a large crowd of car enthusiasts and community supporters gathered at Bunnin Chevrolet Cadillac for a cocktail party to kick off the Montecito Motor Classic, which will be held September 23 along Coast Village Road.
Guests checked out an impressive array of classic vehicles on display outside the showroom and mingled inside in the air-conditioned comfort of the spacious showroom.
In its seventh year, the Montecito Motor Classic features a large selection of rare and distinguished vehicles. While admission is free, sponsorships, vehicle entry fees and a launch party auction raise funds for the Santa Barbara Police Activities League (PAL) and the Santa Barbara Police Foundation (SBPF). Last year, there were 140 entries and the event raised about $70,000 for these two organizations.
This year the show celebrates the Ford Model A, which debuted 90 years ago, and Porsche, whose first vehicle, the No. 1 Roadster, came out 70 years ago. The show will feature several military vehicles, including a 1942 Dodge command car used by General Patton in Africa. It will also have a first responder section, with an assortment of vehicles and some of the heroes themselves on hand.
At the cocktail party, Emcee Monte Wilson introduced Dana Newquist, who is being honored at this year’s show. Newquist advised co-founders Dolores Johnson and Monika Draggo the first year and served as co-chair, with Johnson, for the next five years. Newquist is a lifelong car aficionado, having bought and sold hundreds of cars, and currently has a robust collection of 16. He is president of the Antique Automobile Club of America, Santa Barbara Region and is a trustee of the Murphy Auto Museum. He also has been actively involved with many non-car-related area nonprofits.
The event’s official poster was designed by Mark Stehrenberger, whose conceptual car illustrations have been widely featured in books and magazines, and he was on hand to do the official unveiling. An auction for the original artwork and copies yielded $8.500 for PAL and SBPF.
Wilson will also serve as emcee at the car show. He had a 20+ year racing career, then went on to raise funds for children and youth through various car events. Wilson founded Santa Barbara Cars & Coffee and was the host of the TV show, “Car Life on the 101.”
PAL provides after-school programs for middle and high school students free of charge, including tutoring, various classes, and recreational opportunities. With the Police Department, PAL runs the Explorer Post, which provides leadership training, law enforcement training, and mentorship to youth ages 14-21 with an interest in a law enforcement career. PAL also operates the Cop & Kids Camp, coordinates scholarships for many camp programs, and runs the Teen Leadership Academy. For more info, go to sbpal.org.
A special allotment this year will also be made to the DRAGG (Drag Racing Against Gangs and Graffiti) program, part of PAL. DRAGG is an after-school automotive program for high school students, for which students earn school credit. Students are taught by credentialed instructors and participate in a wide range of field trips. For more info go to draggteam.org.
The Santa Barbara Police Foundation purchases much-needed, non-budgeted equipment. It also provides financial support for injured and ill police officers, employees, and their families and funds the At Ease program, which provides counseling services to officers and employees, often for job-related post-traumatic stress injuries. This service was widely used after the twin disasters. For more info, go to santabarbarapolicefoundation.com.
In the past, some Coast Village Road merchants have not been supportive of the car show because the road closures have caused a decrease in business. Enter Coast Village Association Executive Director Sharon Byrne, who wants to make the event a positive for the merchants by encouraging visitors to shop in the boutiques and eat in the restaurants during their visit to the car show. To help make this happen, merchants will be offering specials that day.
The show takes place on Coast Village Road on September 23 from 9 to 3 pm. For more info, go to montecitomotorclassic.com.
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By Gail Arnold