This is what the car scene in Southern California used to look like.
For those of us who weren’t alive in 1958 or don’t remember it, one might question what it was like to attend a car meet back then. Fortunately, we have videos like the one included of a Model A Restorers Club of San Diego gathering in East Plaza Park in Coronado, California back in the day. While brief, likely because it’s not like anyone was walking around with camcorders and plenty of VHS tapes way back when, it offers an interesting glimpse into a past which sadly is too often forgotten.
Watch a guy crash his rental C8 Corvette here.
From the video it looks like the annual meeting for the club drew quite the crowd. Since we don’t get any shots wide enough to show the entire gathering, it’s hard to tell for sure. However, a description provided by local news station CBS 8 San Diego, which uploaded the vintage video to YouTube, there were only 35 Ford Model As in attendance.
Even though there aren’t hundreds of cars displayed at the meet, people seem to be having a good time. There’s plenty of sociality going on as old friends greet each other, kids eagerly climb out of rumble seats, and of course everyone checks out all the classic rides.
Of course, the dress is significantly different versus today. There are only a few wearing T-shirts in the footage, with everyone else in collared shirts. The women are wearing dresses. Some people are dressed to the nines. Other than a few concours held here and there, when was the last time you saw a car meet where even a handful of men and women were dressed up like this? Times sure have changed.
Here’s an interesting perspective to consider about this club gathering: Ford launched the Model A originally for the 1928 model year in December 1927. That means in 1958 these cars were only 30 years old. In other words, it would be like going to a car meet today and everyone was made in 1992 or later.
There are plenty in the car community who claim no vehicle is a classic unless it was made in 1974 or earlier. Some pick 1972, 1976, 1965, or whatever arbitrary year. And the funny thing is that’s never advanced even as time marches on.
Perhaps the shift in attitude today comes from the fact cars have been in wide adoption in the United States for about a century now. Back in 1958 the legacy of mainstream automotive culture was far shorter.
Check out the video for yourself.
Images via YouTube