La Carretera – There’s a new show in town.

Eat your favorite meal everyday for a week and I can assure you that it won’t remain your favorite anymore. Economists call it the law of diminishing returns, psychologists call it desensitization and we call it “too much of the same thing.”

That’s the way it had begun to feel. I alluded to it in my 250 SWB writeup; we’re spoiled, but it had reached the point where even the special cars had begun to lose their allure.

This may have something to do with the fact that the events are all structured the same, happen at the same venues and at the same time every month, where the same cars show up every time. There’s only so much coffee a man can drink while ogling cars before a warm bed on a Sunday morning begins to turn into a rather appealing proposition. Sure, we go to these events to meet friends too, but we can meet them otherwise.

Additionally, organizing a car event takes time, effort and money. Finding a venue, clearing it with law enforcement, curating the cars and promoting it within the right timeframe are all challenges to be dealt with and for those lacking any of the three aforementioned resources, said challenges can quickly become insurmountable.

So, when I heard about a new show called La Carretera, I reserved judgement till later. Over the weeks leading to the event, I watched as a steady stream of social media activity heralded it as a must-see. With a 1950s La Carrera Panamericana theme, a great venue and all proceeds going to charity, it certainly had the right recipe for success.

Sunday, March 25th, turned out to be a beautiful day. With the weather playing ball, I made the short trip to Pearl’s BBQ in the Arts District. As the music got louder, the crowd got thicker and the line of cars got longer. It looked promising.

I bought a ticket and entered a dirt lot, with a shed to one side, thatched roof and all. The whole place was packed with people and cars. I didn’t notice them at first because I was too busy gawking over the Tahiti Blue Miura that was standing right at the entrance!

356s, Alfa Romeos, a Yenko Corvair, aircooled buses, American hot rods, Broncos and Minis took up a large majority of the space. There was a separate section for motorcycles, next to the shed, which also happened to house an Airstream trailer which formed the catering section of the show.

All through the day, I ran into friends. Two-man conversations would quickly expand into groups as people caught up with each other.

I snapped a few photos but decided I’d be doing the organizers an injustice if I didn’t stop and take it all in. That, ladies and gentlemen, is where they had hit a home run.

The ambience was absolutely spot on! The dirt lot served to remind enthusiasts of the rally stages, while the cars present certainly jogged the imagination back to the ‘50s. The cerveszas flowed along with the coffee and further fueled by good grub, all the attendants were in good spirits. Indeed, I didn’t hear a single negative thing being uttered about the show.

As the day wore on and the small hand said three, the lot began to empty. Friends waved goodbye to each other and went their own way. For the few who stayed behind, dessert was served in the form of a large dusty donut performed by a certain hot-rodded 912 and its enthusiastic owner. As the car threaded its way through the gates at a somewhat peligroso speed, I couldn’t help but laugh.

It was the perfect ending to a perfect day. In hindsight, it’s more of what we need in SoCal. To the organizers, I will say a hearty Salut! on a job very well done.

A massive kudos to Dorian Valenzuela for organizing La Carretera. It’s not easy to organize these shows and the effort that went into it showed. On its first outing, it knocked it right out of the park and we can’t wait to attend the next one! 

Bonus images

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