ENCINITAS — The thumping beat of the bass and riveting guitar sounds joined the revving of classic car engines to usher in the summer solstice in downtown Encinitas. Hundreds of people took advantage of the long sunlight hours to enjoy the Downtown Encinitas MainStreet Association’s 11th annual Classic Car Cruise Nights on June 18.
The first of four in the summer series was sponsored by Charlie’s Foreign Car Auto Service. The event’s host, the North Coast Vettes Car
Club, prominently displayed Corvettes from various eras and classics along South Coast Highway 101.
“This takes me way back,” said Escondido resident Sam Loughford. “They really don’t make them like these anymore,” he said as he surveyed a 1962 Corvette. The owner, J.D. Duncan of Carlsbad, proudly displayed the car’s statistics. As one of only 14,500 cars of its kind, the automobile boasts a 327 engine with 240 horsepower.
Corvettes weren’t the only cars on display, as more than 100 models lined the highway. “I love cars,” said Escondido resident Joe Hermosillo as he showed his daughter, Olivia, the engine of a classic Shelby GT 350.
“I come to see the classics and the band is always a good show,” Encinitas resident Celia Walker said. She attended the event with her teenage sons. “It’s a fun time that we can all enjoy as a family,” Walker said.
Along with classic cars, this year’s events will have an exclusive electric car display, featuring some of the 100 percent electric/zero emission MINI E cars.
North Star provided the night’s entertainment as passersby stopped to listen to the live music. “The music adds some spunk to the car show,” said Oceanside resident Glenn Stuart, who attends multiple car shows around the county each year. “I start reminiscing when I see the street full of cars I drove as a kid.”
Lisa Lerandreau of Oceanside displayed her 2007 Corvette for the second year in a row. “I like American muscle cars,” she said with her dog Tedi perched in the passenger’s seat.
Carol Elsasser, whose husband, Warren, is president of the car club said the couple has owned five Corvettes. “His favorite is the 2007 atomic orange,” she said pointing to a sleek ride parked in the lot.
Classic Car Cruise Nights is part of a national celebration of classic cars that is tailored to local tastes. Several downtown area merchants stay open late to take advantage of the increased foot traffic. “I like the location,” Shelly Benson said. “We can shop around and have dinner and even walk to the beach when we’re done looking at all the cars,” she said.
Classic Car Cruise Nights will take place on the third Thursday of each month through September with a different host car club and sponsoring local business.