Ron McIntosh and Steve Carnes are good friends with several common interests. They live and own businesses in Morro Bay and want other community businesses to thrive. They love classic cars and wanted to see more of them. They’ve been solving Morro Bay’s problems over coffee at Dorn’s Original Breakers for at least 16 years.
“Aha! Why not bring lots of visitors who own classic cars to Morro Bay and let them display them for several days?” they thought. Thus, the friends birthed the idea of the Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show in 1993, although it was 1997 before they put the first 125 cars on the streets.
McIntosh and Carnes are Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce members. Morro Bay architect Don Doubledee was a Rotary Club president in need of a fundraiser. He and Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce member Dave Tope liked the idea and convinced their organizations that a car show could work for the betterment of the community and the benefit of their organizations.
The fledgling committee dubbed Doubledee chairman forever and added Ken Vesterfelt, Dan Dorris and Chris Parker to persuade the city of Morro Bay, especially the police department, to close significant streets for a weekend to allow the classics to parade loudly and consume parking.
Expecting members to work the car show, the committee selected Morro Bay Rotary, the chamber and Police Explorers as the historical beneficiaries of the proceeds earned annually the first weekend in May.
The expected 500-plus Cruisin’ Morro Bay Car Show entrants return for the 14th annual event Thursday night. The event continues through Sunday mid-afternoon. Merchants, restaurants, hotels and locals can’t wait.
The event has grown to four days, starting with registration Thursday at McIntosh’s Main Street Ocean View Garage. Participants see old friends, eat and imbibe and show off what they might have done to their cars over the past year.
On Friday, they cruise somewhere along the Central Coast before they polish up for the big cruise night around and around and around Morro Bay’s downtown from 6 to 8 p.m. It’s a parade that delights onlookers who encourage waving, shouting, honking and revving of engines.
Saturday and Sunday are “show n’ shine” days, where cars park on several downtown streets awaiting visitors to come see the wide variety of spiffed up classic cars.
“Not much has changed over the years,” Doubledee said. “The goal has remained simple — bring the cars to town to enjoy our hospitality and spend their cash with our merchants, restaurants and hotels.”
Word has it that even in today’s economy, their java-induced plan still works.